G’day, mate! Today we honor Australian artists as we gear up for Australia Day on Sunday, January 26. We celebrate the musical diversity this country has brought us from artists such as INXS, Kylie Minogue, Sia, AC/DC, Men at Work, RÜFÜS DU SOL, and The Temper Trap.
We have three (yes, THREE!) profiles for you to entertain your riders! ICA members can access the three profiles below and a large bucket playlist of Australian artists to choose from, but first, let’s have some fun!
Here are fun facts you can use to quiz your class about Australian history, culture, and geography:
- The highest mountain of Australia is Mount Kosciuszko at 2,228 meters (7,310 feet).
- Ayers Rock, also called “Uluru,” is in the center of the country and is the largest lone-standing rock in the world.
- The longest river in Australia is the Murray River at 2,508 km/1,558 miles.
- The Great Barrier Reef in Eastern Australia is the biggest coral reef in the world. The reef consists of more than 3,000 reefs in which live more than 350 species of coral and over 1,500 species of fish.
- Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal.
- Australia is the only continent-nation in the world. This means it is a continent and an independent country as well. It is also the smallest, flattest, and driest inhabited continent in the world.
- Australia has the lowest population density in the world—two people per square kilometer.
- The population of kangaroos in the country outnumbers that of humans.
- The platypus and echidna are the only two mammals in the world that lay eggs. And they are only found in Australia.
- Australians invented a lot of things, including the ultrasound, the tank, football (soccer), the refrigerator, pre-paid postage, the black box on airplanes, lawnmowers with engines, smoke alarms, aspirin, the pacemaker, penicillin, and Vegemite.
- Australia has more snow than Switzerland.
- 91% of Australia is covered with vegetation.
- In Victoria, Australia, only a licensed electrician can change an electric bulb.
- The Sydney Opera House is an architectural wonder. Its roof weighs a whopping 161,000 tons. If you open the sails of the house and combine them, a perfect sphere would be formed. The inspiration for this kind of design came to its architect while he was eating an orange.
- The world’s first seat belt law was put in place in 1970 in the state of Victoria, Australia, making the wearing of a seat belt compulsory for drivers and front-seat passengers.
- Kangaroos can survive without water for months. They can also dig wells for water, which can be 3–4 feet deep.
- Indigenous Australians or Aboriginals are the oldest living culture in the world.
Australia Day: Indigenous Perspectives on a Challenging History
Australia Day marks the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, which established the first European settlement in Australia. While it is traditionally a time for celebration and national pride, it’s crucial to also recognize the nuanced history that accompanies this day, similar to how Columbus Day is perceived by some in the United States. Beyond the festivities, there lies a complex narrative for Indigenous Australians, the original inhabitants of the land, who often view this day with mixed sentiments. For them, it symbolizes the beginning of a challenging period marked by dispossession, loss of culture, and mistreatment. In the spirit of honoring this diverse history, consider incorporating music from Indigenous Australian artists or bands that feature Indigenous instruments into your playlists. Let’s use this opportunity not only for revelry but also for reflection and acknowledgment of the multifaceted stories that shape this nation.
Three Australia Day Profiles and a Diverse Bucket Playlist!
The first profile is called Down Under Ride: Aussie Beats and Indigenous Rhythms, by Jennifer Sage. It consists of four segments of work starting with a fast flat to a climb. The wide array of artists includes three of the indigenous tracks noted below.
The second profile is called Aussie Out-and-Back, Celebrating Australia Day, by Fern Stancer. It’s is an out-and-back ride uphill with a party in the middle!
Those two profiles and playlists can be found by scrolling to the end of this post.
The third profile is one I created in 2020 following the devastating fires in Australia that tore through millions of acres and killed millions of animals. You can find that profile here. There is a bit of crossover with a few of the songs in my more recent profile as well as different tracks. Between the three rides, you’ll have a plethora of ideas if you want to create your own journey Down Under.
Our bucket playlist contains so many songs to choose from (~200 and growing). Many of them you will likely have heard because these artists obtained international fame, but thanks to the submissions of ICA members from Down Under, there’s a chance that many will be new to you or you had no idea they were from Australia!
Here is Jennifer’s class promotion for this ride:
Here are a few songs you might want to consider for your ride:
Treaty – Radio Mix, Yothu Yindi, 4:03, 122 bpm
From Wikipedia: “Treaty” is a song by Australian indigenous music band Yothu Yindi, which is made up of Aboriginal and balanda (non-Aboriginal) members. The song contains lyrics in both English and in Yolngu matha.
“Treaty” was the first song by a predominately Aboriginal band to chart in Australia and was the first song in any Aboriginal Australian language (Yolngu-Matha) to gain extensive international recognition, peaking at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play singles charts. In May 2001, it was selected as one of the Top 30 Australian songs of all time.
Here is the interesting history of this song. The original version is the best and the video has amazing Aboriginal images if you can show YouTube videos in your studio.
Treaty (Filthy Lucre Remix), Yothu Yindi, Gavin Campbell, Filthy Lucre, Treaty (25th Anniversary Remixes), 6:52, 121 bpm
NOTE: As of January 2024, this version is no longer available on Spotify. I’m keeping this information here in the hopes that it returns!
Wikipedia: The initial release had little interest, but when Melbourne-based dance remixers Filthy Lucre’s Gavin Campbell and Robert Goodge adapted the song, their version peaked at No. 11 on the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) singles charts by September.
Dinawan Touch the Stars, The Mob, 3:54, 90 bpm
This catchy, fun hip-hop track has indigenous roots. Make sure to listen to the lyrics! It was co-written and co-directed by young students in NSW. From the website highlighting this song:
A powerful and sacred Indigenous songline, the Dhinawan story shifts and changes as it travels from nation to nation and is the foundation of this song. “Dhinawan Touch the Stars” is a result of a community project collaboration led by the non-profit group Desert Pea Media and a group of young Indigenous people enrolled at Walgett Community College in NSW. The song was written, recorded, and filmed over 5 days in June 2016 in the remote community of Walgett, Northwest NSW.
Guwak (Little Black Bird), Gawurra, Ratja Yaliyali, 4:04, 80 bpm
No questions asked, here is your cool-down song. You’re welcome.
From Wikipedia: Gawurra Gaykamangu (known as Gawurra) is an Australian singer-songwriter hailing from Milingimbi Island, North East Arnhem Land. A Yolngu man, he sings in Gupapuyngu language. In 2016, Gawurra won the NT Song of the Year in the Pop category, four NIMA Awards and received national recognition throughout the music industry and mainstream media.
You’ll have fun going through the rest of our Australian artists in the bucket playlist below to fill out your song choices from our playlist. I had to hold myself back or else it would be many hundreds of songs long. If you like an artist, make sure to check out the rest of their offerings, and let us know if we are missing your favorite artist from Down Under.