Mass school choir performing for Queen
Royal Song of Gawler

By HEIDI McPHERSON (March 2002)

A song unique to Gawler will be performed for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, when she visits the town tomorrow

Song of Gawler
By Judy Gillett-Ferguson

There is a place where rivers meet
Once trod by only Kaurna feet.
Now Gawler stands round Murray Street, round Murray Street.
Built on its industrial base
Of trains and mills and iron lace
A vital, energetic place
The best of town - and country in - Australia!
A place renown for all the Arts.
Colonial Athens of our hearts.
Whose history The Bunyip charts, The Bunyip charts
And though small in this vast nation,
It limits not our celebration -
A hundred years of Federation!
The best of town - and country in - Australia!

This town that Colonel Light has planned
Has heritage on every hand
From cottage small to mansion grand, to mansion grand
And now together let us sing
For Gawler best in everthing -
The best of town - and country in - Australia!

Song of Gawler was written by Judy Gillett-Ferguson, of Gawler, and set to the music of the famous Song of Australia. It will be performed by a mass choir of local primary school students at the Gawler Sport and Community Centre.

The song is a tribute to Gawler, past and present.

"Each verse has a theme. The first is about our early industrial base – its mills, steam engines and iron lace. The second talks about Gawler's involvement in the arts and its cultural status as a Colonial Athens, while the final verse celebrates the heritage aspects of Gawler," said Judy.

Each verse ends with the line "Best of Town and Country", which has in recent years become Gawler's trademark.

Phoenix Foundry
Judy, a recognised poet who claimed the 2000 Gawler Poetry Competition, was inspired to write the lyrics to mark the Centenary of Federation last year. Song of Gawler was her first attempt at songwriting and has received critical acclaim.

Judy said the song was unique to Gawler and was set to a tune that has "very strong links" to Gawler. The original Song of Australia, launched in 1859, won first prize in a songwriting competition organised by the Gawler Institute committee. It became a quasi national anthem and until the 1960s was sung at public events and school assemblies as a demonstration of national pride.

Gawler Institute
Home of Song of Australia (1859)
English-born, there can be no doubt of Judy's patriotism – she will celebrate 50 years in Australia on Anzac Day. She describes herself as "a daughter of Gawler" and says her love of the town has been cultivated since she arrived here 25 years ago.

She's honoured and "very excited" that her lyrics, extolling the virtues of Gawler, will be performed publicly for the Queen.

© The Bunyip

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