The lyrics of the Australian national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair,” previously referred to the nation as “young and free,” though now that has been changed to “one and free.” The change is being celebrated by the country’s Indigenous people, who have lived on the island for over 60,000 years.
“In terms of culture, society, and population, we go back 60,000 years. We’re very definitely not young,” First Nations Foundation chair Ian Hamm told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “’One and free’ looks for what brings us together. It’s actually a focal point for that discussion about who we are as a country.”
The “young” line implied that the country’s history began with colonialism. When Europeans arrived in the 18th century, around 750,000 Indigenous people belonging to over 400 nations already lived in Australia.
The change went into effect on January 1, and was supported by leaders across the political spectrum.