Federal politicians put their differences aside last week to celebrate Australian music and one of Bundaberg's most famous songs.
As the parliamentary year wound to a close on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack reflected on GANGgajang's Bundy-inspired 1985 classic, Sounds of Then (This Is Australia).
After wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas, Mr McCormack commented: “As a final note, I know the Labor Party are going to party tonight. As I understand it — if I have read The Australian correctly and it's true; that great column by the wonderful Alice Workman — they've got somebody from GANGgajang singing.
“Of course, that band has a special place in the National Party too because the song ‘Sounds of Then (This is Australia)' was written on the back porch — the patio — of none other than the late, great Paul Neville in Bundaberg. So it's got a special place in the heart of the National Party. It's going to have a special place in the heart of the Labor Party tonight, and I know all the Libs love GANGgajang as well. It truly is a great song, and truly has some great messages: This is Australia.”
The iconic song has even been recorded for posterity by the National Film and Sound Archive.
“Released as a single from GANGgajang's self-titled debut album, this song became their most recognisable track,” the archive notes.
“Written by Mark Callaghan to capture the culture shock of moving from England to Bundaberg, it incorporates many of the iconic sights, sounds and smells of Australia. The single peaked at No. 35 on the Australian singles chart in February 1986. While the song has been a constant feature of GANGgajang’s live shows, it has also featured as Nine Network's station ID promotion in 1996, and in a Coca-Cola commercial.”
Former Member for Hinkler, the late Paul Neville, lived on the Kaklie property where Callaghan wrote the song.
Extract from the lyrics
Out on the patio we'd sit,
And the humidity we'd breathe,
We'd watch the lightning crack over canefields
Laugh and think, this is Australia.