Ngayani Australiamara

In 1987 Bruce Woodley, who had been a member of the famous The Seekers singing group, together with Dobe Newton, lead singer of The Bushwackers band, wrote a song (with music by Bruce Woodley) to celebrate the history and diversity of Australia called “I am Australian” (for the lyrics and other details see here).

The chorus of this song has now been translated into a number of languages, including Yawuru from the Kimberley region of Australia — there is an enthusiastic rendition by Broome Primary School students available on the ABC Kimberley Facebook page (click the picture to watch the video).

Here is a translation of the chorus of the song into Diyari, together with the original English words:

ngayani kurnu, ngarla ngayani marpu
ya mitha partyarnandru ngayani nganayi
ngayani ngapitya pardayi ya wima wangkayi yarla
nganhi, yura, ngayani Australiamara

We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We share a dream and sing with one voice:
I am, you are, we are Australian

Here is what each word means in the Diyari version:

ngayani we all (including you)
kurnu one
ngarla but
ngayani we all (including you)
marpu many
ya and
mitha country, land
partyarnandru from all (made of partyarna ‘all’ and the ending -ndru ‘from’)
ngayani we all (including you)
nganayi are (made of ngana ‘to be’ and the ending -yi ‘present tense’)
ngayani we all (including you)
ngapitya dream
pardayi hold (made of parda ‘to hold’ and the ending -yi ‘present tense’)
ya and
wima song
wangkayi sing (made of wangka ‘to sing’ and the ending -yi ‘present tense’)
yarla together
nganhi I
yura you all
ngayani we all (including you)
Australiamara Australian (made of Australia and the ending mara ‘group of people who are related to one another’)

I hope readers like this Diyari version of the song.

3 thoughts on “Ngayani Australiamara

  1. Hi i was wanting to teach this song to children can you direct me to the group who can approve it please.

    • The copyright is shared between me and the Dieri Aboriginal Corporation. Please email me at pa2*SOAS.ac.uk (replace * with @) with details and we can discuss.

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