The Kookaburra Song

Nursery rhymes are the most favorite songs for the kids and especially they are a very great and fun way to encourage children towards learning alphabets, shapes, colors, stories, and a lot many.

Kookaburra is one such popular nursery rhyme in Australia. It is catchy, interactive and hence it is a good choice for preschoolers and of course kids of all ages can enjoy this tradition nursery rhyme from Australia.

‘Kookaburra’ is a shortened name given to the popular nursery rhyme written by a famous music teacher, Marion Sinclair (October 9 1896- February 15 1932). Actually, this rhyme is written by the author for a contest, ‘Girl Guides Association of Victoria’ in 1932. It was a huge hit and won the contest and since then this has become very popular worldwide. This famous song with beautiful lyrics was first time performed in 1934 at the annual Jamboree in the city of Frankston, Victoria.

The rhyme is very popular all over the world and especially in the countries of New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, and Canada. In these countries, the Girl Guide Movements had been adopted this rhyme as their traditional song and also included in the Girl Guide Song Book along with other popular folk songs.

Copy Right Status of Kookaburra

According to Australian Copyright Law, Kookaburra is still holding certain copyright very strictly though the author of the song died in 1988. Currently, Larrikin Music is holding the publishing rights of kookaburra after facing a lot many disputes around this traditional song. The copyrights of kookaburra song are administered by the Music Sales Corporation located in New York City.

About the Song

This catchy song is sung to many kids worldwide because of its well-known and catchy tune, attractive verses, and rhyming words. Hence, kids are very attracted and interested to sing the song and have fun with the words and tunes. Here is the original version of the song for you all.

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Merry merry king of the bush is he.
Laugh, Kookaburra, laugh, Kookaburra,
Gay your life must be!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Eating all the gum drops he can see.
Stop Kookaburra, stop Kookaburra
Save some there for me!

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Counting all the monkeys he can see.
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
That’s not a monkey, that’s me!

Now-a-days, people are being creative in everything and rhymes are not lesser to make new versions of it.

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree,
Eating all the gum drops he can see.
Laugh Kookaburra, laugh Kookaburra
Gay your life must be!

Kookaburra sits on a rusty nail,
He gets a sore in his tail.
Cry, Kookaburra, cry, Kookaburra,
How cruel life can be!

Kookaburra sits on electric wire,
Jumping up and down with his pants on fire.
Ouch, Kookaburra, ouch! Kookaburra,
Hot your tail must be!

In this way, people have created alternate versions using the same catchy tune and I personally enjoyed in a few school concerts. Both the original and alternative versions have become popular and the children are easily attracted to the song because they find it the funniest rhyme of all times.

What do the words mean in this long, traditional Australian Nursery Rhyme?

Though we and our kids are very familiar to the rhyme, most of us are unaware of the actual meanings of few words in the rhyme. We are presenting you a list of words with actual meaning and also a brief explanation is given. Have a look!

Firstly, let us learn about our hero of the rhyme i.e. ‘Kookaburra’

Kookaburra: Kookaburra, otherwise popularly known as ‘Laughing Kookaburra’ is a largest Australian terrestrial bird belongs to Kingfisher sub family Halcyoninae. It is called as ‘laughing kookaburra’ because it makes sounds just like a human being’s laugh. Kookaburras are largest in Kingfishers family. They live in small groups or pairs to mate for life. The loosely-knit family group is formed with a male and female monogamous kookaburra pair with 6 helper birds. Baby kookaburras (chicks) are born blind but slowly develops their features may be takes a month. The average life span of a kookaburra is about 15 years. There is also a belief that if kookaburras laugh during the day, then it is sure that it is going to be rain. Actually speaking, the laugh does not mean that they are really laughing, but it is a familiar warning call to other birds which conveys a message ‘stay away’.

Kookaburras are found largely in eastern Australia and have been introduced to Western Australia and New Zealand. How can we differentiate male and female kookaburra? Well, it is not that hard to differentiate male and female birds. Male birds are called male with its distinct features of having blue hues on the wing feathers and darker blue on the tail feathers. Whereas the female birds are distinguished by checking for no blues on the tail feathers and presence of aqua blues on her wing feathers.

Kookaburras are actually happy to live in forests, natural vegetation, open woodlands, and are also friendly to live around people in suburban areas but lack of green space is the biggest threat to kookaburras in suburban areas. They feed on small insects, lizards, and kill snakes in bushes.

Gum Tree: Gum Tree, commonly referred as ‘Eucalyptus Tree’ and is commonly found in Australia and New Guinea. Kookaburras are particularly in love with gum trees since they offer nesting hollows.

Gay: Since 1955, the word ‘Gay’ means happy and carefree but after that the word ‘gay’ has took another meaning i.e. homosexual. Hence, these days it is not any more of meaning ‘happy’. Some youngsters use this word to mean ‘lazy’ or ‘tame’.

Gum Drops: Gum drops are referred to the hard, sticky, and rubbery substance that is oozed out from the injured barks of the gum tree. The oozing substance is red in color and is compared to the human blood. So, it is not for chewing. If you chew, it may make you fall sick. Some types of candies are called as gum drops and in this rhyme, gum drops means ‘candy’. Gum drops coated with sugary substance come two different flavors such as fruity and spicy. Spicy flavored gum drops are referred as ‘Spice drops’.

Gumdrop Nutrition Facts per 100gr (Calories 395)
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0 g 0%
Saturated fat 0 g 0%
Monounsaturated fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 44 mg 1%
Potassium 5 mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 99 g 33%
Dietary fiber 0.1 g 0%
Sugar 59 g
Protein 0 g 0%
Vitamin A 0%
Calcium 0%
Vitamin D 0%
Cobalamin 0%
Vitamin C 0%
Iron 2%
Vitamin B-6 0%
Magnesium 0%

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