"Great Southern Land" as written by and Ivor Arthur Davies....
Standing at the limit of an endless ocean
Stranded like a runaway, lost at sea
City on a rainy day down in the harbour
Watching as the grey clouds shadow the bay
Looking everywhere 'cause I had to find you
This is not the way that I remember it here
Anyone will tell you its a prisoner island
Hidden in the summer for a million years

Great Southern Land, burned you black

So you look into the land and it will tell you a story
Story 'bout a journey ended long ago
Listen to the motion of the wind in the mountains
Maybe you can hear them talking like I do
". . they're gonna betray you, they're gonna forget you
Are you gonna let them take you over that way . ."

Great Southern Land, Great Southern Land
You walk alone, like a primitive man
And they make it work, with sticks and bones
See their hungry eyes, its a hungry home

I hear the sound of the stranger's voices
I see their hungry eyes, their hungry eyes
Great Southern Land, Great Southern Land
They burned you black, black against the ground

Standing at the limit of an endless ocean
Stranded like a runaway, lost at sea
City on a rainy day down in the harbour
Watching as the grey clouds shadow the bay
Looking everywhere 'cause I had to find you
This is not the way that I remember it here
Anyone will tell you its a prisoner island
Hidden in the summer for a million years

Great Southern Land, in the sleeping sun
You walk alone with the ghost of time
They burned you black, black against the ground
And they make it work with rocks and sand

I hear the sound of the stanger's voices
I see their hungry eyes, their hungry eyes
Great Southern Land, Great Southern Land
You walk alone, like a primitive man
You walk alone with the ghost of time
And they burned you black
Yeah, they burned you black
Great Southern Land


Lyrics submitted by Vanth

"Great Southern Land" as written by Ivor Davies

Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

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Great Southern Land song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentOne of the most enduring songs about my country,about the hidden spirituality of this land and doesn't revert to using stale cliches.

    Spine tingling song and beautiful.
    TinyTimon December 26, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThat song SHOULD be Australia's national anthem - to hear that played at the Olympics would be great.

    Iva Davies wished Australia a happy 200th birthday with this song. Perfect
    Massapequaon November 19, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI adore this song. The beginning to end. It still takes a restless teenage girl away to foreign shores faster than any travel guide. :)
    Thia007on November 21, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentSpeking as a 'pom' I'm glad they went MOR otherwise in all probability I would never have heard them....Great Southern Land tremendously evocotive number....pity they didn't make a vid of just the dramatic scenery of GSL & not of whoever walking wistfully into the sunset.
    JackSpenceon July 21, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti love icehouse so much
    song makes you proud to be an aussie
    great sound
    cookie2on April 30, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA unique fresh sound!!!!
    Australia not only gave us INXS!!!

    I love New Wave and Synth Pop.
    If you haven't listened to it. What are you waiting for???
    Vanthon April 28, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentToo bad no one mentioned their 1981 debut album in the States on Chrysalis Records. They were successful with their techno, atmospheric art rock sound in their native Australia as the band, Flowers. Chysalis, their US label didn't care for that name so the band went with the name Icehouse, the title of one of the tracks on that 1st. album. Good move, guys! Even though a lot of college radio listeners loved them just the way they were, Icehouse toned down that "art school rock" sound into something a little more Adult Alternative, and "Hey Little Girl" became their 1st. American hit song. A great song, to be sure, but like most band who went MOR to attract a bigger audience, the quality of their material slipped downwards and then they seemed to fade away. I hate that when success overrides quality and decication to the music, especially a fine Aussie indie band.
    pharmageekon September 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really wish this song were our national anthem
    Addıcton October 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentmy father's australian but I'm a New Zealander. When I hear this song tho it makes me wanna be a true blue aussie, I'm kind of glad that Icehouse remained 'boutique' because then they could have been scarred with the american diseases and perhaps let fame go to their head (perhaps!) love Icehouse and for goddsake I'm 19 my friends think I'm CRAZY!
    jump up!on February 19, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhile I also then decide to ask what is the real meaning of this song *‘Great Southern Land’ which seems to be talking about the abuse & neglect of the aboriginal people, in very real terms.. ie. with the slightly cynical or ironically named title to this song.. Yes, with the same thing happening to 'native' poeple all over the world.. perhaps 'Great Stolen Land'.. And so after I had calmed down a bit.. I got *16degSag..

    SEA GULLS FLY AROUND A SHIP LOOKING FOR FOOD.. This pictures a situation of dependence & sometimes co-dependence. Don't look to others or have others look to you for opportunities & nourishment, for you may miss your chance of being creative & independent. Who's looking for scraps? Are they worth it? Diminishing your essential worth while trying to please a specific need.

    Losing sight of alternative possibilities. Waiting for things to be given for free. Being opportunistic.

    The Caution: Waiting for scraps that may not even be worth it or may not ever come.

    SEA GULLS FLY AROUND A SHIP IN EXPECTATION OF FOOD.. The easily acquired dependence of psychic desires upon the stimulation of Social circumstances.. It shows us how nature can become readily subservient to Man’s restless ambition to dominate the entire biosphere through an all-human planetary Socio-economic organisation.. DEPENDENCE…
    Solastroon January 03, 2012   Link

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