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Aussie icon status for Lord's Prayer


Sister Janet Mead’s chart-topping version of The Lord’s Prayer has been selected as one of 10 new additions to Sounds of Australia, a project of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSAA).

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‘Sounds’ are nominated every year by the public and voted on by a panel of audio industry experts for their cultural, historical and aesthetic relevance, and their ability to inform or reflect life in Australia.

Thorsten Kaeding, the NFSAA’s curator for the Sounds of Australia project, said the 2022 list was a “rich and diverse testament to the enduring power of audio in all its forms”.

Speaking on The Project TV program, Mr Kaeding said “obviously everyone knew the words” to The Lord’s Prayer, but there was also “a real appetite within rock and pop music for spirituality and I think she (Sr Janet) hit that real sweet spot”.

Other ‘sounds’ considered to have stood the test of time and worthy of being preserved for future generations included former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s famous 2012 misogyny speech and 17 hours of radio broadcast by Radio Redfern on January 26 1988 when more than 40,000 people took part in the largest march in Sydney since the Vietnam moratorium.

Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees also made the 2022 list, as did the theme tune from Neighbours and the catchy jingle Out With The Old And In With The New used to introduce decimal currency in 1965.

Sr Janet’s pop-rock version of The Lord’s Prayer was the first recording by an Australian artist to sell more than one million copies in the USA. Classically trained at the Elder Conservatorium, Sr Janet passed on her love of music and theatre to thousands of students over her 26-year teaching career at Mercy schools in Mount Gambier and Adelaide.

Adelaide’s Romero Community, of which Sr Janet was a member, said she would be very pleased that her recording of The Lord’s Prayer is now in Sounds of Australia alongside Archie Roach’s Took the Children Away, Yothu Yindi’s Treaty and Goanna’s Solid Rock.

“She had a special love for our Indigenous brothers and sisters and strongly supported the Uluru Statement from the Heart,” the Community said in a statement following the announcement.

“Sr Janet not only sang the Lord’s Prayer, she lived by it, always trying to give the poor their daily bread and demanding to know why the world’s bread is not fairly distributed.

“She used her voice to sing and speak for the voiceless: for the First Nations people of this ancient land and their voice to Parliament; for the refugees whom successive Australian governments refused to welcome and for Julian Assange and all whistleblowers and truth tellers.

“Sr Janet’s moment in the spotlight was relatively brief and was a time when everyone noticed one small aspect of her life of service. She recorded The Lord’s Prayer to encourage especially the young people of the time to think about how we should make sure every person has their daily bread, not just the lucky few. She spent all her life in some form of service to others.”

The royalties from Sr Janet’s recordings were given away, mostly to Rosemary Taylor’s project in Vietnam caring for the orphans of the Vietnam war.

The complete Sounds of Australia list is available at


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