(also known by its first line: "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
") is a popular Australian nursery rhyme
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
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......