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The making of 'Great Southern Land'

2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the release of 'Great Southern Land' by ICEHOUSE. Released in August 1982, the song became a national and international hit. It remains one of the most popular and evocative depictions of this vast, ancient continent.

Iva Davies wrote the iconic song in the front room of a house in Sydney, inspired by the seemingly endless Australian desert he passed over on a flight to London, and the memory of his father covered in ash and soot from bushfires near their Wagga Wagga home.

Iva Davies, 2021:

It was born out of the homesickness and isolation of that first international tour, out of that flight across the Australian desert, out of my boyhood in the countryside of regional New South Wales.

The making of 'Great Southern Land' 6:27

Iva Davies on the making of ICEHOUSE's 'Great Southern Land'

A Prophet 5 synthesiser, of the type used to compose and record 'Great Southern Land' was on show in the Gandel Atrium at the National Museum of Australia, to coincide with the official opening of the Great Southern Land gallery.

The Prophet 5 synthesiser heavily influenced the song’s composition and recording. It was the first synthesiser that could play multiple notes at the same time, from a suite of pre-programmed sounds, and it transformed music-making.

Prophet 5 synthesiser 2:19

Iva Davies on the Sequential Circuits Prophet-5 synthesiser used in the making of 'Great Southern Land'

Banner image: Peter Ogden

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