The Australian character has been wrought by sedition. Britain sent to Australia’s shores boatloads of transportees, in chains: the rebels, the democrats, Chartists, thinkers and political activists who were soon at large, free to pursue their destiny under the azure skies of the Southern Cross.
The Rebel Chorus celebrates all those who fought for Australian democracy against the denial of the jealous Britain. The ‘rebel chorus’ is that blood-red thread that binds all Australians together: the Scottish exiles, the Tolpuddle Martyrs, Smith O’Brien and the transported Young Irelanders; Charles Gavan Duffy, Peter Lalor and the Eureka uprising; the colonial poets Harpur, Deniehy, ‘Billy’ Lane, Lawson, Gilmore and ‘The Breaker’ Morant; the patriots John ‘Simpson’ Kirkpatrick, Will Dyson and Norman Lindsay; the socialist Frank Hardy, the clergyman Daniel Mannix and the capitalist John Wren; the songwriters Johnny O’Keefe and Slim Dusty; and the rock bands Cold Chisel, Yothu Yindi and Midnight Oil. All have questioned authority and more often than not found it wanting.
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