Music

Watch This Beautiful Didgeridoo Cover Of ‘Down Under’ From Bob Hawke’s Memorial

William Barton and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform Down Under at Bob Hawke's memorial

Last month, news broke that former Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke had died, aged 89. Politicians from across the political spectrum gathered at the Sydney Opera House to pay tribute to Australia’s 23rd prime minister in a memorial service this Friday, which included a beautiful rendition of Men At Work’s ‘Down Under’.

During the memorial, several of Hawke’s political allies, opponents and admirers delivered speeches and testimonies praising his leadership and character.

A few of Hawke’s family members also spoke about who he had been to them, as well as of his legacy and the example he has set.

“Many tributes have been shared today, but truly honouring my grandfather means reflecting on his achievements and applying his values to the future choices we make,” said Hawke’s granddaughter Sophie Taylor-Price.

The memorial also featured a couple of musical interludes, such as a performance of the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Philharmonic Choir. To the delight of the audience, archival video footage of Hawke conducting a choir singing the same song at his 80th birthday was projected large above the stage for part of the performance.

However, it was an unexpected rendition of Men At Work’s ‘Down Under’ that ended the service on the perfect note. Together with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, didgeridoo player William Barton closed out Hawke’s memorial with a performance of the famous 1980 song, in a new arrangement by composer Joe Twist.

‘Down Under’ isn’t a tune one would typically expect to hear at a memorial service, not in the least due to its bright, cheery tone that had attendees clapping along. Nevertheless, the uplifting melody seemed a fitting farewell to the larrikin Hawke was remembered as.

Said Hawke’s widow Blanche d’Alpuget during the memorial, “Today, this memorial service marks the transition from the grief of loss to the celebration of a life triumphantly well lived.”