"Truganini" as written by Martin Rotsey, Robert Hirst, James Moginie, Peter Garrett and Wayne Stevens....
There's a road train going nowhere
Roads are cut, lines are down
We'll be staying at the Roma Bar
Till that monsoon passes on

The backbone of this country's broken
The land is cracked and the land is sore
Farmers are hanging on by their fingertips
We cursed and stumbled across that shore

I hear much support for the monarchy
I hear the Union Jack's to remain
I see Namatjira in custody
I see Truganini's in chains

And the world it won't stand still

Blue collar work it don't get you nowhere
You just go round and round in debt
Somebody's got you on that treadmill, mate
And I hope you're not beaten yet

I hear much support for the monarchy
I see the Union Jack in flames, let it burn
I see Namatjira with dignity
I see Truganini's in chains


Lyrics submitted by themancky

"Truganini" as written by Martin Rotsey James Moginie

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Truganini song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentSorry to disappoint, but this song is not about burning the Union Jack. Nor do I interpret these lyrics as exclusively advocating someone's rage that we aren't a republic yet. This song is essentially a song about the need for change. The first para begins by explaining that there is currently a lack of vision within Australia, and that we are essentially going nowhere...moreover, that we are quite happy about such a circumstance:

    "We'll be staying at the Roma Bar
    Till that monsoon passes on"

    To my understanding, the Roma Bar is a popular cafe in the NT for pollies and artists, and I believe the lyricist is implying that when the going gets tough and things begin to heat up or are becoming too pressing...when a monsoon hits...everyone that talks about change doesn't act upon their intentions, rather, they continue to simply talk about it over a cup of coffee.

    "The backbone of this country's broken
    The land is cracked and the land is sore
    Farmers are hanging on by their fingertips
    We cursed and stumbled across that shore"

    When a colony was first established in Australia, the nation was essentially an agrarian one, and even prior to this: the Indigneous peoples had a strong connection to the land, not to the idea of a nation: a flag. There was a great rush for land, for farming, for mining and such activities...therefore the lyricist connects Australia's current situation and future path to our past...the land is cracked and broken as we have neglected it, and those that are supposed to work it, and to practice their culture upon it and for it, are broken. It seems as if we have left some people behind as Australia's directionless freight train ran forward....and whats more is that we cursed and stumbled across that shore for our masters of that time who were meant to protect us. I believe that the 'shore' refers to Gallipoli and the casualties Australia suffered for the sake of our British officers.

    "Somebody's got you on that treadmill, mate
    And I hope you're not beaten yet"

    Even though things are so chaotic and directionless, and we work everyday without knowing what we are working for, the lyricist is hoping that the average Australian hasn't become completely apathetic and conceeded that the system has defeated them and that they cannot change anything about it themselves.

    This is the clinching point: whether or not we are apathetic or see the potential for change....and for this reason, its why the lyricist isn't advocating that we should burn the Union Jack. He hasn't said to burn it, rather: to let it burn. According to this, the lyricist believes that the signs and symptoms for change are already there...we just need to realise them and stop fighting against change, rather, to let it happen...to let the Union Jack burn rather than running around with a bucket of water trying to save a decrepit system from the flames of change. Because if we remain conservative and try to keep things as they were and are, then we are justifying the injustices in our nation's past: the extermination of the Indigenous people's of Tasmania (represented by Truganini), failing to constitutionally recognise the Indigenous peoples as citizens of their own country until the 70's (represented by Namatjira). The individuals apathy or their conservatism is therefore merely justifying the injustices in our past. If we truly saw them as injustices, then we would let the symbol under which such injustices were carried out, the Union Jack, to continue burning and pass from our lands...

    Hope it helps
    Scyldon September 26, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhat kind of people are we? Well I don't know about me but you sound pretty dam racist, Pauline.
    You make no sense. We have had nearly 0 military casualties on our soil, but they're not in short supply when we fight overseas. I assume you were at the race riots in Sydney? Those didn't turn out so well, Europeans have never had much luck taking on Middle Eastern men on beaches, "we cursed and stumbled across that shore, what for?".
    Also, we are hailed by the international community for our tolerance and multiculturalism, immigration not only started this country, it makes it what it is today.
    Now, I'll leave you to go dress up in your robes and burn a cross or something.....
    rowan10on June 25, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I see the Union Jack in flames, let it burn"

    A very risky and ambitious statement to make. Hope this doesn't come back to bite Peter Garret in the ass, now that he's embarked on a political career.
    Should be noted that I think it's a great lyric - and I'm glad someone was brave enough to say it. But I guess thats why Midnight Oil are so important. They say what everyone else is thinking.
    Arianrhodon January 09, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTruganini - the last Tasmanian aboriginal.
    chrisb1on February 01, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWillia, if you knew what they did to Truganini and her people you'd want to burn it too.
    But look, I don't think they are actually advocating burning the Union Jack, as back in Britain it does mean a lot.
    However, that's in Britain. They put it there for a symbolic meaning, to show their rage that a British Monarch is the Head of State of Australia.
    rowan10on July 01, 2007   Link
  • -1
    General Comment"I see the Union Jack in flames, let it burn"

    I don't think this is a great lyric at all. There are better ways to get your point across then advocating burning a flag which means so much to millions of people. Can you imagine the outrage if someone sang about burning the aboriginal flag?Strange to see a band that are usually so articulate and well-spoken to stoop to the levels of the rent-a-crowd, feral buffoons we see burning the flag every second week while protesting against something they know nothing about.

    And by the way, this song was written by Rob Hirst, not Garrett.
    willia05on December 24, 2006   Link
  • -2
    General Commenti agree 100 % with the line, "The backbone of this country's broken", being an aussie and hearing this to seeing what the country now is the statement makes sense. there are so many immigrants (mainly asians) who have come in and totally destroyed our country but that's not the main point. the main point is that this line also represents those who have died on our soil those who wanted to see australia triumph in wars and we take it for granted. what sort of people are we?
    sydneyownon July 05, 2006   Link

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