When Australian Geographic Took The Stage

  • November 04, 2015

AG photographer and musician Barry Skipsey composed and performed a song to help celebrate the magazine's 30 birthday in 2016.

BARRY SKIPSEY HAS BEEN been shooting for Australian Geographic since our early days. He composed this song which we played at the AG Society Awards this week.

As a photographer he has an eye for the life and landscapes of remote country. A resident of Central Australia for three decades, he knows better than most the land's colours and contours, and the resilient, humorous character of its people.

Before he took up the camera professionally, Barry worked as a roustabout to sheep shearers, a deckhand on prawn trawlers and a truck driver on mine sites, all jobs that have given him an insight into the outback spirit.

Barry was born on King Island, Tasmania, and grew up in Melbourne. In 1977, he went on a six-week holiday to Darwin that turned into 10 years in the Northern Territory, working as the Chief Minister's official photographer and for the NT Tourist Commission.

In 1994, he was named Australian Geographic Photographer of the Year for his feature on the Tjoritja/West MacDonnell National Park (AG 35). This success led to a commission to shoot a best-selling AG book about the Red Centre in 1995.

Barry still shoots images of outback Australia for AG, but these days also works for publications including The AustralianThe Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Barry says that he strives to make each and every picture "a full-throated song".

Lyrics to When Australian Geographic Took The Stage, composed and performed by Barry Skipsey

Dick Smith had a vision to celebrate
All things 'Aussie' in this Great Southern Land
In the 80s when the cry was "greed is good"
Mother Nature needed a helping hand
So he gathered a team wearing headbands and mullets
Forever known as the Terrey Hillbillies

Australians we will rise
And greet another day
Conservation gained another voice
When Australian Geographic took the stage

They commissioned writers with a passion
Photographers with a creative eye
Illustrators painted with imagination
Cartographers mapped the terrain from high
And together they published the positive yarns
Rich in detail and authority

Australians we will rise
And greet another day
Conservation gained another voice
When Australian Geographic took the stage

They were the Larrikins,
With volunteers and generosity, ruins were restored
And the parrots of the night, were attracted by the light
And a reward

They fuelled the spirit of adventure
Scale a mountain or a desert to explore
They walked or flew or paddled to the poles
Some went diving under the Nullarbor
And they nurtured our unique wildlife
Emu, platypus, echidna and kangaroo

Australians we will rise
And greet another day
Conservation gained another voice
When Australian Geographic took the stage

Australians we will rise
And greet another day
Conservation gained another voice
When Australian Geographic took the stage

Their stories leapt off the page
When Australian Geographic came of age

Production Credits:  Music and lyrics/vocals/guitar: Barry Skipsey; Song production: Ross Muir/Red Dirt Recordings; Video: Dave Nixon/Transmedia NT; Video editing: Alex Palmer; Vocal harmonies: Jayne Hughes; Mandolin: Malcolm Connolly; Violin: Paul Leggett; Piano accordion: Marg Collins; Bass guitar: Ross Muir.