'Aborigines are true soldiers of the King': Recalling the regimental march, Gumleaf style
Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne
Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)
As Mark Cann, CEO of the British Forces Foundation, remarked in 2014 on music’s role in war: ‘it’s a shared experience that helps cohesion and team bonding. It uplifts people and takes them away from the moment they are in’. Nostalgic songs, now and in the past, have been a means of mental escape between battles, of soothing isolation and of staving off boredom, concerns which are, of course, applicable to Aboriginal Australian servicemen. The adoption of European wartime songs by Aboriginal Australians deserves scholarly consideration, particularly in light of Roland Bannister’s argument that contemporary accounts of military music offer histories inclusive of all society in the cause of promoting notions of citizenship and nation building.