The 10 best songs written about Darwin

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The 10 best songs written about Darwin

Words by Mixdown Staff

Explore the tunes from up Far North

Continuing on our sonic voyage around Australia, today we’re bringing you some of the best songs from the capital of the Northern Territory: Darwin.

As you’d expect, there’s a heap of country hits, mainly about the land and beauty of the city, as well as some pretty poignant tracks about the treatment of Indigenous peoples and the wild weather up in far North. Let’s dive in.

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We’re taking a little break here at Mixdown and so should you. We’re reposting some old favourites of yours and ours!

‘The Drover’s Ballad’ – Elton John

Written for the 2008 film Australia, ‘The Drover’s Ballad’ is all about loving the land of Darwin and the greater Northern Territory, which is where the film was set. Sir Elton mentions the vast expanse of desert in the area, and the tropical heat the city receives on regular basis.

It also talks about the yarns drovers spin, when they’re out moving livestock on their Darwin farms. It’s a beautiful, very Billy Joel inspired piece. Check it out below.

‘Amazing Day’ – John Williamson

This 1989 track was on the country star’s eighth album, Warragul. It’s about a variety of different cities, and how travelling to them makes for an amazing day.

But the main city talked about is Darwin, and how the protagonist in this story hasn’t travelled there since the devastating Cyclone Tracy hit in 1974. Listen to ‘Amazing Day’ below.

‘Darwin (Big Heart Of The North)’ – Slim Dusty

It’s not surprising to find this Aussie country icon on a list about the capital of outback Australia. It’s about the northern capital’s love for mateship, and getting along with the people of the land.

He also talks about how the city is like a front gate for Australia, it’s how all the travellers enter from the lands above. It was featured on his 1994 hit album Old Time Drover’s Lament.

‘Truganini’ – Midnight Oil

As we’ve found over the last few weeks, Peter Garrett and his Oils love to write about the events that have occurred in Australia. This track was a cry for help about the Aussie drought, and expressing anger about the Europeans taking this native land from the Indigenous Australians.

‘Truganini’ also talks about two important Aboriginals’, Truganini and Albert Namatjira, the latter of which was a very prominent figure from a city just outside Darwin. It also namechecks the popular Darwin venue The Roma Bar.

‘Darwin Love’ – Sara Storer

You’ll get big Kasey Chambers vibes from this artist, who is big in the country music circles of Australia. As the title suggests, ‘Darwin Love’ is a love letter to the city, Sara tells us what she loves about the capital of the Australian outback.

It was featured as a  bonus track on her 2010 greatest hits album, Calling Me Home. Check out ‘Darwin Love’ below.

‘Tojo (Never Made It To Darwin)’ – Hoodoo Gurus

Penned by frontman Dave Faulkner, this 1984 track is crazy. The name ‘Tojo’ refers to World War II Japanese General Hideki Tojo, with the song being penned in response to the Bill and Boyd hit from a few years prior, ‘Santa Never Made It To Darwin.’

In classic Gurus fashion, it’s a satirical track: a witty conversation between the frontman and his significant other about how this Japanese general never made it down to Darwin. Madness. It was featured on their debut album, Stoneage Romeos.

‘Home To Me’ – Jessica Mauboy

The 2006 Australian Idol contestant is one of few musicians to call the Northern Territory capital home. ‘Home to Me’ is all about Darwin, and what she loves about to the city.

The 2016 track was written by Mauboy along with a few others, and It was made famous in her short lived TV show, The Secret Daughter. Listen to it below.

‘She’s On Again In Darwin’ – Ted Egan

This Aussie artist has led a very rich and interesting life – we fully recommend checking out the career interview he did with the ABC here. Many of his tracks were about his hometown of Darwin, with this standout ‘She’s On Again In Darwin’ talks about the life and upbringing of someone in Darwin, as well as what is involved in the “Darwin Style.”

It also namechecks an absolute heap of Darwin spots, way too many to list here – but if you’re a Darwinian, we reckon you’ll probably cotton on sooner or later.

‘Fannie Bay’ – The Bushwackers

This track has gained popularity as a traditional bush ballad. Made famous by ’70s folk group The Bushwackers, ‘Fannie Bay’ is about the Darwin suburb of the same name.

The track talks about the history of the suburb, and discusses some pretty grim topics, most notably, how the character in this song goes to Fannie Bay to die. It’s a weird song, but proves to be pretty catchy.

‘Santa Never Made It To Darwin’ – Bill and Boyd

On Christmas Eve in 1974, Darwin faced one of their biggest natural disasters, Cyclone Tracy damaged a large area of the city. Fundraising allowed them to rebuild and get back to normal. ‘Santa Never Made It To Darwin’ was released as a charity single, to raise money for this disaster.

It’s a funny look at how Santa couldn’t have made it to Darwin that year because of the cyclone, and helped draw awareness to the devastation of the natural disaster. Check it out below.

More on music in Darwin here.