KOOKABURRA

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

KOOKABURRA

“Kookaburra” (also known by its first line: “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree“) is a
popular Australian nursery rhyme and round about the kookaburra (an Australian bird),
written by Marion Sinclair. Sinclair was a music teacher at Toorak College, a girls’ school
in Melbourne which she had attended as a boarder. In 1920, she began working with the
school’s Girl Guides company.
“Kookaburra” was written in 1934 as an entry in a competition run by the Girl Guides
Association of Victoria, with the rights of the winning song to be sold to raise money for
the purchase of a camping ground. The song was performed for the first time in 1934, at
the annual Jamboree in Frankston, Victoria at which the Baden-Powells, founders of the
Scouting and Guiding movements were present. Despite its particular “Australian-ness”,
the song is well-known and performed around the world, particularly in the United States
and United Kingdom, where the Girl Guide movements in those countries have adopted it
as a traditional song.
Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Merry, merry king of the bush is he
Laugh kookaburra, laugh
Kookaburra, gay your life must be
Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Eating all the gumdrops that he can see
Stop, kookaburra, stop
Kookaburra, leave some there for me
Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree
Chasing all the monkeys he can see
Stop, kookaburra, stop
Kookaburra, that’s not a monkey, that’s me!