John Williamson’s ARIA-winning ocean anthem becomes book

  • Voice of the Sea picture book will be released by Puffin on 6 February (RRP $19.99)

  • Voice of the Sea song and video won ARIA Award for use in Australian Marine Conservation Society campaign

  • Voice of the Sea song has been performed by 15,000 children around Australia

Australian music icon John Williamson’s Voice of the Sea, an anthem for ocean protection he recorded for the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), has now become a children’s picture book released through Penguin Random House.

In November the song won an ARIA Award for an AMCS campaign produced by creative agency Innocean. The iconic singer and conservationist launched the song with the Glenmore Road Public School choir in November 2022 and it has now been performed by more than 15,000 school children around the country.

With stunning illustrations from Andrea Innocent and Jonathan Chong, the Voice of the Sea book aims at engaging the country’s most compelling voices of the future – our children. It’s not Mr Williamson’s first foray into children’s literature, having brought us the bestselling Old Man Emu and Christmas in Australia.

Mr Williamson said: “My affinity with the ocean is as strong as my connection to and love for the bush. When I sat down to write about our love for the oceans, I couldn’t help but think about all the problems we’ve caused our seas and their wildlife, even though we say we love them.

“My lyrics reference global warming, overfishing and the risk of losing some of our incredible marine wildlife. It’s not too late but we need more people to sing out and be the voices of our seas. That’s why I wanted to support the Australian Marine Conservation Society with this song because they provide Australians with a way to speak out for our seas through its important conservation work.”

AMCS Chief Executive Darren Kindleysides said: “John Williamson’s Voice of the Sea has become a phenomenon, from song to ocean anthem, from video to children’s book, and we hope it inspires them to take a moment to appreciate how lucky we are to have this incredible big blue backyard and all the wondrous wildlife within it.”

Innocean Client Partner Carolyn Cho said: “The oceans are in a perilous state and conservation fatigue is an ongoing challenge making it difficult to recruit new conservationists, yet kids are the catalyst for change and our beacons of hope as they inspire parents and the wider community to engage. The book launch builds on the foundations of our playful Voice of the Sea educational platform and will continue to bring the message of ocean conservation to schools and homes across the country.”

See the Voice of the Sea video at

The Voice of the Sea book is available through bookstores and online:

Voice of the Sea by John Williamson is published by Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House Australia Pty Ltd. Text copyright © Emusic Pty Ltd, 2024. Illustrations copyright © Andrea Innocent and Jonathan Chong 2024.

About John Williamson

John Williamson has sold more than 5 million albums and passed a billion streams in a career spanning 52 years. He has won 27 Golden Guitar awards and four ARIA awards, and was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Williamson’s hit True Blue became an alternative national anthem while Rip Rip Woodchip became a soundtrack to logging protests. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia “for service to Australian country music and in stimulating awareness of conservation issues”.

Mr Williamson is playing live around the country in February and March and will visit bookstores while on tour.

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