Since European settlement of Australia, patriotic and nationalistic songs have provided entertainment and given an emotional outlet to the people of Australia. Due to their largely printed form, a significant proportion of these songs is still extant. The songs form a distinct subset of the larger popular song tradition.
This thesis documents and analyses all known patriotic and nationalistic songs written and published in sheet music form to the close of World War One. This end date has been determined because it represents a peak in this genre and also signals a radical shift in direction for popular songs with the advent of widespread music recording and broadcasting.
Distinct historical events (e.g. the Sudan conflict, Boer War, and First World War) or themes (e.g. military threats, the rising nationalism leading to Federation of Australian colonies) which influenced or inspired songs in this genre will be discussed. Songs are grouped in distinct chronological or thematic samples. The songs are analysed in this thematic context and then treated using more conventional musicological techniques. The often conflicting ideals of patriotism and nationalism are discussed using the songs as a reflection of contemporary opinion.