Kookaburra (song)

Kookaburra (Song)

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Kookaburra (song)

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"Kookaburra" (also known by its first line: "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree") is a popular Australian nursery rhyme and round about the Kookaburra (an Australian Kingfisher), written by Marion Sinclair (c1895–1988).


Marion Sinclair was a music teacher at Toorak College, a girls' school in Melbourne which she had attended as a boarder. In 1920, she began working with the school's Girl Guides company.

One Sunday morning in church, in 1932, Marion Sinclair had a sudden inspiration, and dashed home to write the words down. "Kookaburra" was entered in 1934 into a competition run by the Girl Guides Association of Victoria, with the rights of the winning song to be sold to raise money for the purchase of a camping ground, eventually chosen as Britannia Park. The song was performed for the first time in 1934, at the annual Jamboree in Frankston, Victoria at which the Baden-Powells, founders of the Scouting and Guiding movements were present.

Despite its particular "Aussie-ness", the song is well-known and performed around the world, particularly in the United States and United Kingdom, where the Girl Guide movements in those countries have adopted it as a traditional song.

The first verse of the Kookaburra song is:

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your......

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