Fox, a Wiradjuri woman, was supported by the 23 Wallabies players, who were wearing their First Nations jerseys with an Indigenous design for only the second time this year, and could be seen belting out the words behind her.
“We were practicing it during the week and we were very proud to have that opportunity to do it, and I think it sounded pretty good too,” said Australia captain Michael Hooper, according to Reuters.
It was the first time Australia’s national anthem — Advance Australia Fair — had been sung in an Indigenous language at a major sporting event and prompted an outpouring of pride and praise.
Australian rugby journalist Christy Doran called the anthem “spine-tingling.”
Other nations have Indigenous languages as part of their national anthems — New Zealand’s anthem, for example, is sung in both Maori and English.
Australia’s controversial national anthem
“When will people understand that changing it to (an Indigenous) language doesn’t change the meaning!” he reportedly wrote on Instagram.
Many Indigenous people in Australia consider the anthem to be racist and there has been pushback against the phrase “for we are young and free,” given that Australia is home to one of the world’s oldest known civilizations.
“We aren’t young and free. We’re the longest-living culture in the world,” Mitchell, who has been a long-time critic of the Australian anthem, previously said, according to Seven News.
There is entrenched discrimination against Australia’s Indigenous population.
The Black Lives Matter protests in the US, and around the world, this year once again brought these issues to the fore in Australia, with protests demanding an end to Indigenous deaths in custody.