On Saturday evening, about 30 former pupils (plus spouses) from the Norfolk School had a great get-together at Cat's Cafe. Now these "kids" had all gone to school in the 1930's-1950's. The wonderful shared memories and the camaraderie made for a memorable evening. They recited the pledge and saluted the flag, and everyone received Merit Certificates from former teacher Ian McCowan, assisted by the Queen and Prince Charles!! Edie and Susan were armed with whistles and canes to keep order, but were not too successful in that area!
Everyone sang the Norfolk Ode, which has been sung by generations of schoolchildren here. The words were composed by Gustav Quintal, who was headmaster at the turn of the century. The tune is the same as the one for Advance Australia Fair. We would all like to think the Aussies pinched the tune, but seeing that "Advance Australia" was composed in 1878, and Gustav Quintal was only born in 1859, I don't suppose that is the case. In any case, the copyright on Advance Australia ran out in 1966, so we can sing the Norfolk Ode with clear conscience.
I personally feel that the words to the Norfolk Ode have stood the test of time better than those of Advance Australia. (Look up all the words on the Internet.)
Here are the words of The Norfolk Ode:
Now I cannot resist a little anecdote about something that happened way back in October 1974. This was the Bicentenary of Norfolk's discovery by Captain Cook, and the then Prime Minister of Australia Gough Whitlam was visiting the island. Some may recall that Whitlam had recently instituted Advance Australia as the National anthem for Australia. (This was later reversed, and was re-instated in 1984.) God Save the Queen was, and still is, the National anthem for Norfolk Island. We tend to be conservative and loyal to the Monarchy here.
At the start of a concert at which the PM Whitlam and his entourage were present, they struck up the National Anthem. I have never heard God Save the Queen sung so lustily! At the end, someone called "Second verse!!"
Now, no offence to the Aussies, but I hope we on this island never have to sing different words to the tune that we know as The Norfolk Ode!