19 September 2023

Auntie Dora and the Red Dirt band launch Constitution song for upcoming referendum

| Chisa Hasegawa
Start the conversation
Group photo in front of the Cairns Festival stage featuring Auntie Dora, the Red Dirt Band and students from the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy.

Auntie Dora, the Red Dirt Band and students of CYAAA performed The Constitution for the first time at the recent Cairns Festival.

Hope Vale’s Auntie Dora and the Red Dirt Band were recently joined by students of the Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy (CYAAA) for a debut performance of The Constitution in Cairns.

The song, inspired by Ted Hawkins’ namesake, had hoped its unifying melody would become an anthem for the upcoming Recognition Referendum.

The launch of the song at the Cairns Festival on September 3 garnered positive feedback from audience members who said it helped to clarify their thoughts about the referendum.

“People came up to us afterwards and said the song spoke to them and they understood a little bit more,” Auntie Dora said.

She said that the song even helped some who had doubts decide which way to vote, and it had a similar effect on her.

“It was the unknown that was making me doubt, but listening to the lyrics over and over and how inclusive it was of everyone, it cleared some things up for me,” she said.

Side view photo of the front of the stage showing Auntie Dora sitting with 4 students either side of her, two on each microphone.

Local Elder Auntie Dora teaches students of CYAAA about Aboriginal culture and language through music.

Curriculum developers at Good to Great Schools Australia, of which the Cape York Academy is part of, played around with the lyrics of Hawkins’ song to reflect the Australian Constitution.

It was then recorded by Auntie Dora and other Hope Vale musicians, who taught the song to the children on their annual band camp.

“It was a team effort and testimony to how much the parents and community of Hope Vale are engaged in the education of their children,” GGSA Director of Innovation Bernardine Denigan said.

The Constitution song can be listened to here:

Start the conversation

Cape York Weekly

Subscribe to get the latest edition of Cape York Weekly in your inbox each Monday.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Cape York Weekly's terms and conditions and privacy policy.