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Peter Dodds McCormick

McCormick - Advance Australia Fair (Small)

Peter Dodds McCormick (1834-1916) who wrote ‘Advance Australia Fair’ had links with Five Dock.

Born in Scotland, Peter McCormick arrived in Sydney in 1855. A staunch Presbyterian, McCormick had a strong interest in music, particularly children’s choirs. He was employed for many years by the Education Department. In September 1865 he became the second Headmaster of the Five Dock School which at that time operated under the direction of the Trustees of St Alban’s Church, Five Dock.

In 1878 McCormick wrote ‘Advance Australia Fair’ under the pen name ‘Amicus’ (friend in Latin) after attending a concert which featured national anthems where he had been dismayed that ‘there was not one note for Australia’. In 1901 at the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia, it was sung by a choir of 10,000. In 1974, almost 100 years after its composition, ‘Advance Australia Fair’ became Australia’s national anthem.

A plaque commemorating Peter Dodds McCormick was unveiled in the grounds of St Alban’s by City of Canada Bay Mayor, Angelo Tsirekas on Sunday, 11 August 2013.