Bones Mackinnon Talks About Her Song 'Bush Girl' For Aunty Pat Ockwell


Last year, after working with Aunty Pat Ockwell on her book, 'Aunty Pat Ockwell tells her story' (2021), I had this idea to write a song about Aunt. I spoke with Aunt about it, and she gave me the 'nod'. The idea had arrived with a title and a bit of a tune, and I took those to eminent songwriter Charles Jenkins, with whom I'd been working for a few years. With Charles' deft ear for melody, pretty soon it was a fabulous song called 'Bush Girl', based on the extraordinary life of Wurundjeri woman and Senior Elder, Aunty Pat Ockwell.


'Bush Girl' was something that she had said many times as we worked on the book. With a satisfied air of knowing, and loving where she came from, she'd declare with a smile and much pride, 'Ye-es, I'm a bush girl. That's what I am!' The song is a collaboration between Aunty Pat, Charles and myself, and we are all pretty proud of it. Charles, my husband Greg, and I performed it live at the launch of Aunt's book. Lots of people had said that they would love a copy, so we enlisted the very talented Douglas Lee Robertson to work with us to record it.

The song is based on the extraordinary and significant life of Aunty Pat Ockwell, Senior Elder of the Wurundjeri people, as told in her book, 'Aunty Pat Ockwell tells her story' (2021), written by Patricia Ockwell with Pauline Mackinnon.

‘I just loved your song ‘Bush Girl’! It captured not only the moment, but Aunty Pat as well. Thank you for honouring our Eldest Elder.’ ~ Aunty Di Kerr, Senior Elder, Wurundjeri people.

'It was a pleasure and an honour to have a hand in the writing of this song, especially given its highly significant story.' ~ Charles Jenkins, Melbourne songwriter/musician, producer and performer

‘What a great song!!’ ~ Gretta Ziller, Australian musician

‘This is a great country song! Hits all the marks - great hook, clean guitars, driving rhythm, mesmerising story. Brilliant work! ~ Libby Willems, Gippsland musician

'It's a wonderful song, very nicely produced too, it really lets the song stand on it's own. Very tastefully done.' - John Broughton, 'Retrospectives', Casey Radio

Finally, Gippsland FM announcer, Jennifer Canovan, nailed it when she wrote: 'This song tells a story of a strong and proud Indigenous woman who stands tall.

#alwayswasandalwayswillbe credits

Vocals: Bones Mackinnon Guitar and guitalele: Greg Mackinnon Drums, keys, guitar, bass, and backing vocals: Douglas Lee Robertson Recorded in December 2021, mixed and engineered in January 2022 by Douglas Lee Robertson, on Wurundjeri country, in Warrandyte.

Released for Survival Day, 2022