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Australia Day Music Lesson

Australia Day Music Lesson:

This lesson comes from the World Music for Elementary online course.

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links in this post.

What is Australia Day?

What is Australia Day? Australia Day is the official national day of Australia. Observed annually on January 26 each year, it marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson in New South Wales, and the raising of the British flag at Sydney Cove by Arthur Phillip.

Australia Day Music Lesson

Today we’ll learn about 5 Australian instruments and a popular Australian song “Kookaburra!”

Down below you’ll see instrument coloring/notebooking pages (great for all ages!) that you can download for free and use with this Australia Day music lesson.

Here are the 5 Australian Instruments we’ll learn about:

  • Bullroarer
  • Clapsticks
  • Didgeridoo
  • Gumleaf
  • Wobble Board


The bullroarer is an ancient instrument that was originally used to communicate over large distances.

Clapsticks and Didgeridoo:

Clapsticks are are a traditional Australian Aboriginal instrument made of wood used to maintain rhythm in voice chants.

The didgeridoo is a wind instrument that is cone-shaped or cylindrical. The longer the didgeridoo, the lower the sounds it can make.


The gumleaf instrument is literally a leaf! The player chooses one from various species of Eucalypt trees growing throughout Australia and holds against the lips using the fingers of both hands.

Wobble Board with the song “Tie Me Kangeroo Down Sport”:

The wobble board as an instrument was invented by Rolf Harris. It’s a rectangular board (often made of a wood composite) that when shook produces sound from the vibration of its own body.

Song “Kookaburra”

Background Info:

“Kookaburra,” also known as “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree” is a famous Australian song about the Kookaburra, an Australian Kingfisher bird. It’s often sung as a round (like “Frere Jacques” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”). “Kookaburra” was written by Marion Sinclair in 1932. You’ll often hear or see in print a variety of verses.


See Lyrics here.

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,

Merry merry king of the bush is he.

Sing, Kookaburra, Sing, Kookaburra,

Sing your song for me!


Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree

Eating all the gumdrops he can see

No! Kookaburra, No! Kookaburra

Share some there with me.


Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,

Watching all the monkeys he can see

Wait! Kookaburra, Wait! Kookaburra,

They look funny to me.


See sheet music here.


Optional Activity: Make your own bullroarer!

Download the Australia Day Music Lesson Notebooking Pages

Get 5 Australian Instrument Coloring/Notebooking Pages

More Australia Learning Fun!

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