An Australian Voice

This section examines Paul Kelly’s expression of Australian experience through his songs. Students compare his interpretation of Australian life with those in other texts so that they may appreciate a range of stylistic choices and their effects on the responder.

Students address the Australian Curriculum content by


Often when we write about authors we frame our own expectations about the relationship between authors, texts and place. We might think that because an author writes about a social concern, a particular place or event, they create a sense of national identity. Another way to think about this is that the reader, viewer or listener layers his/her own experience on the text, sometimes a shared experience, sometimes a contrasting experience. Paul Kelly’s songs create story spaces for audiences to bring their own experiences and make their own connections, exploring their own definitions of universal ideas about love, family, social justice and identity. 

The selection of songs provides a snapshot of Kelly’s interests and experiences with a view to considering the extent to which he may be said to reflect Australian life.