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'Whyalla, why won't you be my home?'

Regional Showcase

The city of Whyalla is attracting musical interest after an indie artist penned a song dedicated to its landmarks and heroes.

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Indie musician Peter Bibby and his band The Dog Act have penned what they describe as a love letter and “a cursing damnation” of regional Australia in the newly released song ‘Whyalla’.

Its lyrics were written by Bibby during a road trip a few years ago and pay satirical tribute to the steel city, its landmark buildings and a few of its heroes.

There are references to the Whyalla Public Library, Cultana Training Area, the Whyalla Steelworks and Iron Knob – along with Sempre Cafe Owner Alessandro Parisi, who set the world record for the longest time playing pinball (28 hours) at the Westland Shopping Centre in 2007.

VIDEO: Warning strong language

West Australian born musician Bibby, whose music appears on Triple J’s Unearthed and has spent many months touring Australian pubs and concert halls, said his band shot the music video for the song in the Glen Eagle Rest Area in his home state.

COVID-19 restrictions stopped the band from filming at the song’s namesake city of Whyalla, but that has not stopped Bibby and his backing band keeping their focus on the South Australian settlement “just south of Iron Knob”.

While there is no mention of Whyalla’s much-talked-about newcomer British billionaire Sanjeev Gupta and his acquisition of the local steelworks – the lyrics mention other homegrown heroes including three-time Magarey Medal winner Barrie Robran and 2002 Commonwealth Games Bronze Medal-winning hammer thrower Kayne Di Marco (born Perkins).

“Barrie Robran came from Whyalla, three-time Magarey Medal winner back in 1968, ’70, and ’73, and the first South Australian to be granted legend status in AFL history,” the lyrics said.

The video was directed by Brendan Hutchens and it has been described as “a hitchhiker’s guide to garage rock”.

According to Bibby, the song ‘Whyalla’ is “simultaneously a love letter and a cursing damnation to regional Australia”.

The video also stars “Strawberry Pete, Dirty Dave, Duncan, Rach, Edo, Tilly, Shiny Joe and Chook”.

“This one goes out to my South Australian people, you know who you are. Enjoy,” Bibby said about the song release.

“I wrote this song a few years back after my mate Racoo asked me to write a song for a road trip compilation she was putting together. I don’t think it saw the light of day. I had a lot of help from Wikipedia…”

Whyalla the song comes from Bibby’s third album MARGE that is scheduled for release on September 18.

To date, its appearance on the city’s own Facebook site has been met with mixed reactions but with most enjoying the often tongue-in-cheek lyrics.

“Just south of Iron Knob, the residents seem to like iron ore a lot

It’s got an arid climate and it’s going to get hot

And if you jump the fence you might step on a bomb

Whyalla, why won’t you be my home?”

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