Home » Song Meanings » The Meaning Behind The Song: Gadigal Land by Midnight Oil

The Meaning Behind The Song: Gadigal Land by Midnight Oil

The Meaning Behind The Song: Gadigal Land by Midnight Oil

I am listening to the powerful song “Gadigal Land” by Midnight Oil as I write this article. It’s a song that resonates deeply with me, as it sheds light on the history and struggles faced by the Gadigal people, the traditional owners of the land that is now known as Sydney.

Welcome to Gadigal land
Welcome to Gadigal country
Welcome to Gadigal land
Welcome to Gadigal land
Do you know our story?
Welcome to Gadigal land

Don’t you bring your poison
Don’t you bring your grog
Don’t you bring your smallpox
Sure to kill our mob
Don’t you bring your justice
Don’t you bring your gaols
Don’t you bring your armies
Troopers on our trails

So welcome to Gadigal land
Welcome to Gadigal country
Welcome to Gadigal land
Welcome to Gadigal land
Have you heard our history?
Welcome to Gadigal land

We don’t need your convicts
We don’t need your thieves
We don’t need your squatters
Or your emancipees
Don’t you dam our rivers
Don’t you fell our trees
Don’t you carve our wilderness
Don’t you net our seas

The song opens with a warm welcome to Gadigal land, inviting listeners to acknowledge and respect the significance of this ancestral land. The lyrics highlight the pain and suffering endured by indigenous communities as a result of European colonization. The lines “Don’t you bring your poison, don’t you bring your grog” allude to the devastating impact of alcohol and diseases brought by the colonizers, such as smallpox, which had a catastrophic effect on the Gadigal people and many other Aboriginal tribes across Australia.

The song goes on to address not only the physical threats, but also the systemic injustices faced by indigenous communities throughout history. The lines “Don’t you bring your justice, don’t you bring your gaols, don’t you bring your armies, troopers on our trails” highlight the oppressive nature of colonization and its legal and military apparatus. It serves as a call to recognize and rectify the injustices inflicted upon the Gadigal people.

In the land where time stands still
In the land that’s in a spell
Every day since the day you came is a day of rage
It’s a day of rage

Welcome to Gadigal land
Wenyo wenyo wenyo!
Welcome to Gadigal land
Wenyo wenyo wenyo!

Mudjaru ngaya wunyang
(take pity on my bad pronunciation)
Ngandu bayabawai….ngara
(they told us they were sorry…listen)
Ngarawa darayawai, darimi
(but I think they’ve made a mistake, because for a long time)
Garamawaimi baya mudjin, wa?
(they stole my speech and family, see?)
Birrongaingun ngarawan
(our stars are now further away)
Always will be Gadigal land

It’s unfolding you’re unloading
Your high and mighty prison ships

We can live without your muskets
We can live without your guns
We can live without your strychnine
We can live without your rum
We can live without your gallows
We can do without your chains
We can do without the massacres
The sorrow and the pain

The chorus of the song is an anthem of resistance and pride, reinforcing the enduring spirit of the Gadigal people and their connection to the land. The lines “In the land where time stands still, in the land that’s in a spell, every day since the day you came is a day of rage” expresses the ongoing fight for justice and recognition.

As the song progresses, it also acknowledges the stolen voice and heritage of the indigenous people. The lyrics “Mudjaru ngaya wunyang, ngandu bayabawai….ngara, ngarawa darayawai, darimi, garamawaimi baya mudjin, wa? Birrongaingun ngarawan” convey the pain of cultural suppression and the loss of identity. Despite these hardships, the song reaffirms the eternal connection between the Gadigal people and their land.

The closing verses of the song emphasize the resilience and independence of indigenous communities. It sends a powerful message that they can thrive without the destructive elements of colonization. The lines “We can live without your muskets, we can live without your guns, we can live without your strychnine, we can live without your rum, we can live without your gallows, we can do without your chains, we can do without the massacres, the sorrow and the pain” assert the survival and determination of the Gadigal people.

The song “Gadigal Land” by Midnight Oil is not only a tribute to the Gadigal people but also a call for reconciliation, acknowledging the past and calling for a more inclusive future. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggles faced by indigenous communities and the importance of respecting their land, culture, and history.

Album Information:

Album title: The Makarrata Project (2020)

Credits:

Written By: Bunna Lawrie, Joel Davison & Rob Hirst

Recorded At: Rancom Street and Oceanic Studio, Sydney

Release Date: August 7, 2020

As I conclude this article, I hope that “Gadigal Land” inspires listeners to delve deeper into the stories and experiences of indigenous communities. It is through understanding and empathy that we can foster a more inclusive and respectful society for all.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top