Kookaburra sits on the old gumtree / by Jessica Lee


Though I've been in Australia for four months now, it was only until recently that I saw a Kookaburra bird close-up.

I was on a weekend trip at an area where the Kookaburras were used to people feeding them. As a result, the Kookaburra in the photo above didn't fly away when I moved in close to snap a photo. In fact, it took food off of our plates until one of the girls chased it away.

Growing up in Canada, as a preschooler, I was taught the Kookaburra song.

It's actually a really popular song as the American I was with also knew the song.

I was curious about the origins of the song, how it got to North America, so I did some googling. Turns out it was written in 1932 by Marion Sinclair for a contest held by Victorian Guides. The theme of the contest was "Australia" of course and the song was debuted at the World Jamboree in Victoria in 1934. I am guessing that is how it got brought back as a nursery rhyme.

It was pretty cool finally seeing the Kookaburra as it cleared up all the questions I had of what I was singing about all those years ago. I mean, I'm sure it was explained to me at one point that a Kookaburra is a bird, but in the beginning, I might have thought a Kookaburra was a person.

Here are the lyrics if you were curious (I can sing it to you if you see me in person, just ask):

Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be!
Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Eating all the gum drops he can see.
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
Save some there for me!
Kookaburra sits on the old gum tree,
Counting all the monkeys he can see.
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
That's not a monkey, that's me!