Shane Howard, front man of legendary Australia group, Goanna, who penned the iconic 1982 hit song, ‘Solid Rock, Sacred Ground,’ that decried the dispossession of First Peoples, has returned his Order of Australia medal, in response to the Voice Referendum result.
In his letter to the Governor-General, Howard spoke of his ‘deep sadness’ and while he ‘respects the democratic result,’ he felt that, “Australians had missed an important historical moment of destiny.”
“At this point in history, I can’t be proud of my nation and feel honour bound to return my Order of Australia medal.”
“When I wrote the song, ‘Solid Rock, Sacred Ground’, 40 years ago, I wanted us to address the fundamental lie at the heart of our national story. I dreamt of a country respectful of our ancient history and honest about our modern history. I wanted to be proud of my country.”
He went on to state that the Referendum campaign had, “Seen the rise of intentional and well-resourced disinformation networks.”
“I’m also deeply troubled by the way our First Peoples, our brothers and sisters, our friends, have been so belittled, with such pernicious vilification, in the interests of political power. It’s neither generous nor decent.”
Howard’s great-grandfather was arrested at the Eureka Stockade. “I hold sacred the democratic principles and freedoms that those Diggers defended and died for,” he said. “Those democratic principles are now under threat.”
“I love my birth country deeply but until we loose(sic) our colonial shackles, engage in Treaty-making with our First Peoples, commit to truth-telling about our history and embrace a post-colonial Republic, I cannot be proud of my nation.”
Shane Howard will be heading to Ireland this week to play shows with Mary Black and will be touring with her here next year. A Goanna live album will be released early in 2024. Howard will also be performing at SONG CIRCLE with Troy Cassar-Daley, Dan Sultan, Neil Murray and Sara Storer on Sat, Nov 11 at the Concert Hall, QPAC , Cultural Precinct Cnr Grey Melbourne Street,, Brisbane, QLD 4101.