Project Description

October 2013 – Cairns Murri Crew “Built to Last”

The first single from the Song Nation Volume 1 compilation – ‘Built To Last’ was written, recorded and shot in just three days with young people from Cairns State High School in October 2013.┬áCairns, like many Indigenous Australian communities has a proud history of Indigenous activism, a reaction to a series of shameful and racist government policy across the country.

This story pays homage to the many elders and community leaders who fought for Indigenous rights both nationally and in our region for many decades. This platform now provides so many opportunities for Indigenous young people around Australia

‘Built To Last’ is a celebration of cultural survival — of building respectful, inclusive and vibrant futures for our young people whilst acknowledging the struggle and fight for basic human rights that continues today.

We pay our respects to the Gimuy Walabura Yidinji people – traditional owners of the country upon which this story was told.

Special thanks to Delores Scott, Melinda Jackson and Cairns State High School

*Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that photographs/videos may contain images of deceased persons which may cause sadness or distress.


Beautiful – welcome to Cairns – the tropical gateway to North Queensland
Beautiful – you can take it from me
Summer heat, palm trees, beach, reef and Daintree.
Beautiful – and it sounds so sweet, – tweet of lorikeet, bare feet on Murri St
A three-day trip can turn in to three weeks —
Sunshine, blue sea, tight rhymes & dope beats.

It wasn’t always easy
It wasn’t always paradise
My old people fought hard for land rights
There wasn’t any opportunity – freedom for my community
Old people treated brutally – nothing you can do can break our spirit.

We build to last
So stomp with me
Sand beneath my feet
Now hear my people speak
Dance to the rhythm of your heartbeat

It took little a bit of time from arrival
To get our non-white history even taught up in high school.
Once lookin’ down the sights of a rifle
Now, celebrating our culture and survival

Haters – like spiteful. I – break cycles,
Why? This attitude has gotta change.
It’s not about black and white, or about stereotypes
Just people being treated the same.

Check it out we on track — we ready to attack it.
Break the cycle like you break a bad habit
If you ever get an opportunity you gotta grab it
Coz our great grandfather never, ever had it

I can tell ya bro — If you don’t know where you been…
I can tell ya sis — If you missed out on your dreams…
I can tell you that the spirit is strong, and if you know the song —
Then you can sing along with me.

We build to last
So stomp with me
Sand beneath my feet
Now hear my people speak
Dance to the rhythm of your heartbeat

Cairns High School students – Co-Writers
Joel Westlake – Composer / Music Director/ Co-Writer
Toby Finlayson – Producer/ Director/ Co-Writer/ Cinematographer/ Editor
Gail Mabo – Cultural Consultant/ Mentor/ Choreographer