Australian folk songs: there is certainly a wealth of them! Many had their origins in this land, whilst others were brought here by newcomers from other lands and have now became an integral part of The Australian culture. Whilst they were once well-known and widely sung across the country, this is, sadly, less so the case today. I strongly believe that they deserve to be better known and more widely performed than they are. So – how to achieve this? Words and music for many of our folk songs are not hard to find on the Web, at least for solo singers. But there are not a lot of arrangements available for small groups or choirs to perform.

With this in mind, back in June 2019, I started out on a project to write choral arrangements for a selection of my favourite Aussie folk songs. During that year I completed four – Brisbane Ladies, The Old Palmer Song, Moreton Bay and The Diamantina Drover. Then, in early 2020, things began to go pear-shaped and the project was parked to the side.

Two tough years followed but, collectively, most of us made it through the pandemic and, by 2022, our choirs were up and running close to normal once more. It was time to return to my folk song project.

And then, something quite remarkable happened! I received a commission from the Queensland Kodály Choir (QKC) to write choral arrangements of twenty Australian folk song titles. After almost 30 years together, QKC was disbanded in 2020, but wanted to leave behind a legacy of Australian choir music and so the QKC Legacy Project was created. Following its official launch in January 2024, all the resources created for the project have been made available for online perusal and download, free of charge.

“On a Distant Shore”

On a Distant Shore is the title of the 2-part anthology containing what turned out to be 45 arrangements (in various voicings) across the 20 titles I was commissioned to arrange. Along with the anthologies, which include performance notes and a glossary of terms, the project also includes rehearsal tracks for each arrangement and individual booklets for each of the arrangements.

Peruse and download all resources for free

The two anthologies and the rehearsal tracks may be perused and downloaded, free of charge, at the Cuskelly College of Music website.
The individual titles may be download, also free of charge, at my Sandra Milliken website.

Titles in the collection

Andy’s Gone with CattleBanks of the CondamineThe Black Velvet BandCabbage Tree Hat
The “Catalpa”Cross of the SouthThe Dying StockmanThe Eumerella Shore
Jamie Raeburn’s FarewellJim Jones at Botany BayLazy Harry’sLittle Rosewood Casket
Moreton BayMy Name is Ben HallMy Son TedThe Queensland Drover
The Reedy LagoonShores of Botany BayThe Springtime It Brings on the ShearingWith My Swag All on My Shoulder

Like to have a favourite Australian folk song arranged for choir?

If you have a favourite Australian folk song that you would  like to have arranged for your choir, please contact me ( with your request and I’ll do my best to have your idea realised.

Featured Image: Watercolour “Diggers on way to Bendigo” by S.T. Gill (1818-1880). Courtesy, State Library Victoria.