About the author...
Peter Barnes was born in Ballarat, Victoria, in 1953. His education included the Queen Street Public Primary School, followed by five years at Ballarat Central Technical School, and he then completed one year at the School of Mines Ballarat. He moved to Melbourne to work in 1972. To cut a long story short, Peter’s career eventually saw him attain the roles of general manager and creative director with leading advertising agencies. Peter has lived and worked in the Northern Territory and now resides in South Australia.
The heroes song was created from Peter’s experience in visiting the Adelaide River War Cemetery (114 kms south of Darwin) in the Northern Territory and seeing the graves of Australians who gave their lives in the service and defence of their country. Peter felt he should do something within his capabilities to honour the memory of such incredible sacrifice.
A total of 434 war graves marked by bronze plaques are contained in the Adelaide River War Cemetery. The burials are made up of 14 airmen of the RAF, 12 unidentified men of the British Merchant Navy; one soldier of the Canadian Army; 18 sailors, 181 soldiers and 201 airmen of the Australian Forces and seven men of the Australian Merchant Navy. The Northern Territory Memorial to the Missing honours a further 292 Servicemen and women lost to the north of Australia. The adjacent civil section contains the graves of the nine Post Office staff killed on 19 February 1942 during the bombing of Darwin, one of 63 separate occasions from that date. The civilian casualties of WW2 include those of 31 Indigenous Australians.
“To stand on my homeland, surrounded by our war dead, who fought heroically to defend Australia and their loved ones down the track, was a profound experience and initiated the creation of the song.” – Peter Barnes
Click here for the Youtube Channel with videos relating to the song. This channel has over 3 million video views.
The song has been used for commemorative purposes across Australia by schools, churches, choirs, bands, councils, retirement homes, military services, RSL branches and ANZAC tributes at NRL & AFL matches. Radio stations throughout Australia have broadcast the song leading up to ANZAC Day and Remembrance Day. The song is also requested to be played at funerals (for veterans).
Can You Hear Australia’s Heroes Marching?
Concept, title, lyrics and copyright owner (author) of the song: Peter Barnes
Singer & music composition: Darren Mullan
Spoken words voice: David Hill
The song was produced and recorded at Quentin Eyers Music in 2001
Click here for more Australian songs initiated by Peter Barnes.