THE Noosa Shire Museum in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland has claimed a small piece of Bathurst history that should never have been ours at all.
The museum has busted a myth of the Australian music and motoring scenes: that the Midnight Oil song King of the Mountain is a homage to racing legend Peter Brock, nine times winner of the Bathurst 1000.
The track was included on Midnight Oil’s 1990 album Blue Sky Mining at the height of the band’s fame.
It included the lyrics “Well you can say you're Peter, say you're Paul, Don't put me up on your bedroom wall, Call me king of the mountain”, which many fans [quite wrongly, it would seem] believed to be referring to Peter Brock.
Instead, we’re now told the mountain referred to in song is Mount Cooroora, a 439m volcanic plug that forms a dramatic backdrop to Pomona, where the Noosa museum is based.
And the “king” is the winner of an annual footrace to the top and back when 100 runners compete for the title every July, to the cheers of more than 10,000 spectators.
The song’s origins have been confirmed in official correspondence from Midnight Oil’s management to the museum committee, which wanted to settle the issue once and for all.
“Something just didn’t ring true for the song to have a Mount Panorama and Brock inspiration, because the lyrics refer to a ‘sugar cane stopped at the railway crossing’ and Bathurst is too far south to grow sugar cane,” the museum’s operations and development officer Ann Sutherland said.
“Our management committee wrote to the band, seeking clarification, and we got it from Rob Hirst, one of the founding members of the band, probably best known for his incredible talents as the band’s drummer.”
In his reply, Rob Hirst wrote: “King of the Mountain was inspired by the footrace up Mount Cooroora in South-East Queensland, and the incredible natural beauty and unique history of the Noosa Hinterland. It is not a reference to motor racing at Mount Panorama, Bathurst.”
Well, that might be true – but Parade reckons it’s still a great song.