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19 June, 2022

Goanna returns to Cairns celebrating 40 years of Spirit of Place

ICONIC Australian band Goanna return to the Cairns stage with the message of environmental protection and Indigenous rights that hit the airwaves 40 years ago with their classic debut album Spirit of Place on Saturday, June 25, at the Tanks Arts Centre.

By Isabella Guzman Gonzalez

Goanna-2022 Image by Martin Stringer

The folk-rock band returns to the stage with their first full-band tour in over 20 years to commemorate 40 years of the multiplatinum album Spirit of Place and the iconic first single Solid Rock, which ignited a movement in music towards Indigenous rights and environmental conscience. 

Goanna’s singer-songwriter and guitarist Shane Howard said touring for the 40th anniversary of Spirit of Place is both exhilarating and terrifying. 

“It’s great to strap the electric guitar again and have the band back together to pay homage to the great Spirit of Place album,” Mr Howard said. 

“The terrifying aspect is that it was 40 years ago, but other than that, there’s a lot of light in that record, and it’s interesting to look back as an older person and see the light and the optimism in the album and say yeah, let’s celebrate that.” 

Mr Howard said the message and the advocacy within Spirit of Place is as relevant now as it was then. 

“The issues of Aboriginal justice were urgent back then; the issues of environmental conservation were urgent back then,” he said. 

“And now we stand on the precipice with climate change, and we’re in danger of consigning our children and grandchildren to a living hell on earth. 

“So let’s ring the bell again, ring the alarm, make that noise again, rattle the cage, and celebrate the fact that we dream of a better world.” 

Goanna’s place in Australian history extends well beyond that of a hugely popular rock group; their main single for Spirit of Place, Solid Rock, remains one of the most resonant songs in Australian music. 

It is an iconic moment for the band to return to their greatest hits; for Howard, it is a moment to be grateful. 

“It’s a chance for us to go out and say thank you to all those people that supported us and allowed us to be artists all these years,” he said. 

“That album was so iconic, and the song that came from it, Solid Rock, is so emblematic and what a privilege to say thank you to everyone that has supported us.” 

Cairns fans can expect a moving show rekindling the classics and enjoying the best that Australian music has to offer. 

“We will play the Spirit of Place album; we will give it back to you to say thank you,” Mr Howard said. 

“And we will play it to the best of our abilities. 

“You will see Graham Davidge, who played all that great guitar on that album and Solid Rock, Rose and Marcia, two beautiful women in the band who were trailblazers in the music industry in this country and brought this feminine energy as songwriters and singers. 

“This is a chance for us to come back and say these things are still important, and we can build a great country.” 

For more information and to purchase tickets for the Celebrating 40 years of Spirit of Place tour, visit,

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