Songs in Kookaburra Country

I’m in love with the kookaburra. I spotted one last week – a fine fellow who posed obligingly for my camera. Alright, I have no idea whether it was a male, but he just looked more laddie than lady-like, so male he will be. I’ve known of kookaburras since kindergarten, but haven’t seen one before coming to the bush country. I remember learning to sing Kookaburra Sits on an Old Gum Tree. Only, my kookaburra was sitting on a fence, under a pine tree. Well, you can’t have everything.

Merry, merry king of the bushes he

Not everyone has fond memories of the kookaburra song though. Recently, Men at Work were sued for using part of the tune from the Kookaburra song in their 1980s hit “Down Under”. They lost the case, and I suppose they aren’t quite so merry now. However, thanks to the lawsuit I now know one more song about Australia. It’s going on the list right beside Tie Me Kangaroo Down and Waltzing Matilda. I also know more about Australia thanks to Men at Work’s amusing lyrics.  I’m still adding to my Australia playlist. I wonder if there’s an emu song as well? I’m listening…

This year, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing another type of kookaburra as well – the human, hockey-playing kind. The Australian national hockey team aka the Kookaburras are based in Perth. The team beat India to the Commonwealth Games. One of the Kookaburras, a confident young man made good on his promise to show me his gold medal – the closest I’ll ever come to holding an international sports award. I’m not sure why the sports teams here are named for animals. The rugby team is called the Wallabies. Strangely though, I don’t think the cricket team has a name. Anyway, I’ve decided I’m a Kookaburra fan – go hockey! Or should that be the other way round?

This evening I heard an odd sort of cackling in the park outside. It sounds almost like monkeys. However, this isn’t India and the only monkeys I’ve seen so far have been the human kind. I know my fine-feathered friend is back. When a kookaburra laughs it’s weirdly…well, kooky! He’s rather loud, but I don’t mind. I’m reminded that I live in a land Down Under.


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