The myth of the "missing verse"

Occasionally one finds the following words (and variants thereof), claimed to be a missing, lost, early or original verse for Advance Australia Fair:

With Christ our head and cornerstone,
We'll build our Nation's might.
Whose way and truth and light alone
Can guide our path aright.
Our lives, a sacrifice of love, reflect our Master's care.
With faces turned to heaven above, Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance Australia fair.

Christians (and anyone else, for that matter) are, of course, perfectly entitled to sing whatever words they like.

But the words above are not authentic. Peter Dodds McCormick did not write them. Somebody, somewhere, sometime, just sat down and deliberately created a lie.

Please note that the following text in italics are excerpts from other web sites, as checked on January 18, 2001. I encourage you to visit the sites mentioned, and would appreciate any corrections.


Firstly, on the positive side, full marks to Linda Harding at the Christian site
http://www.gospelcom.net/realgold/news/realhope/anthem.shtml (October 2005: - page no longer exists: see saved page at www.archive.org) for writing (remember, this is an excerpt - check the link for the full article):

Here at Realgold we were under the impression that Peter Dodds McCormack, the writer of the song, and choirmaster at Scot’s Church in Sydney at the turn of the century, had also written a verse which placed Christ at the centre of our country’s future. It went thus:

With Christ our head and cornerstone, we’ll build our nations might
Whose way and truth and light alone, can guide our path aright
Our lives, a sacrifice of love, reflect our Master’s care
With faces turned to heaven above, Advance Australia Fair
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance Australia Fair

One of the benefits of the interactive nature of our site is that when we are wrong you can pull us into line. Someone did and we’re grateful. This verse was written as a ‘wish’ from a Christian heart for a country that reflected Christ but it is not ‘missing’. It was never part of the original. We would never knowingly mislead you and we’re sorry we did.

Australians like to think of themselves as an honest people – being ‘fair dinkum’ as we say – so if we’re wrong, and you know, we would love to hear from you here at Realgold. If anyone knows the true identity of the writer of the verse above we would appreciate the information.

It’s not hard for these ‘myths’ to get started in the Christian community, which longs for its country to reflect the love of Christ. Advance Australia Fair is an expression of patriotism but our lives are called to be an expression of God’s truth.


Sadly, some other Christian web sites don't follow her example. For example, at http://www.acmusic.nu/faq.php (October 2005: - page no longer exists, and is not available on www.archive.org we read:

What is the 'missing verse' from the Australian national anthem?

It's not widely known that there is even more than one verse to the national anthem: the must full version I could find is here, but even this one leaves off the verse which was sung at the 1998 March For Jesus rally in Canberra:

With Christ our head and cornerstone, we'll build our Nation's might. [...]


And at http://www.churchnet.org.uk/news/files2/news405.htm (October 2005: - page no longer exists: see original page at www.archive.org :

Christ Returns to Australian National Anthem

Source: Religious Media Agency

An original verse to Advance Australia Fair referring to "...Christ our head and cornerstone" will be sung at the National Prayer Gathering in Canberra on May 30th, for the first time in public since it became the National Anthem.

The complete version of Advance, Australia Fair includes the verse;

With Christ our head and cornerstone, we'll build our Nation's might, [...]


At http://www.awakening.org.au/media/2k0606lost.htm :

Lost verse puts Christ into the National Anthem

An early version of "Advance Australia Fair" referring to "...Christ our head and cornerstone" will be sung at the Celebrating 2000 event at Stadium Australia, following its use in 1998 at the last Global March for Jesus gathering in Canberra. [...]

The extra “lost” verse the Christians will use was sung as part of the anthem in Smithton, Tasmania as early as the 1930s.

"With Christ our head and cornerstone, we'll build our Nation's might,
Whose way and truth and light alone, can guide our path aright.
Our lives, a sacrifice of love, reflect our Master's care
With faces turned to heaven above, Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing, Advance Australia fair".

Certain Australian governments seemed to disapprove of the sentiment of some of these verses, and were inclined to discourage their rememberance [...]

Several versions with different combinations of the verses are found in different references. Some refer to Captain Cook and his courage and seem to be saluting England rather than Australia. Some of the verses are very difficult to locate in old references and it could be that the original has been lost.

“The verse we are using was passed onto us by a woman in Queensland who believed it to have been in the original version,” says Promotions Officer, Dave Mitchell. “While we have been unable to verify that with any historic documents, we have been unable to say she is wrong either. With the verse expressing what is in the hearts of most Australians, we have decided to sing it together. It’s significant to remember that 72% of Australians still tell the census-taker they are Christians.”


At http://www.wollongong.nsw.gov.au/community/seniors/senior39/39-ADVANCE.html (which has some interesting notes about Jack Lang, A.A. Caldwell and John Curtin in relation to the song) we read:

The third verse from the original anthem, Advance Australia Fair is as follows:

With Christ, our head and cornerstone,
We'll build our Nation's might;


A web page marked as from "The Australian Christian Lobby"
at http://www.pastornet.net.au/acc/advance.htm says:

It is important that we know Australia’s national anthem and for this reason it is reproduced below. Also included is a (possible) third verse.