Carol for dusty Australia

WHEN the host of ABC local radio's Australia All Over, Ian "Macca" McNamara, heard a Christmas carol written by one Wagga woman, everything changed for her.

Even now, 11 years on from when he first heard the tune, it has been handpicked to feature in Macca's Top 100, which was released last year.

Zita Denholm has lived in Wagga since 1974 and she wrote the Australian Christmas song, Carol For The Wheat Country, some time in the '90s.

It had a modest circulation and went relatively unheard until Ms Denholm sent a copy of the song to Macca.

The decision came after she heard him voicing his disappointment about the fact there were no "proper" Australian Christmas carols one Sunday morning on his show.

Ms Denholm said she will never forget the touching event which followed.

"The following Sunday morning I had his program on again," she said.

"Just before the 9am news I heard he was introducing a new Aussie Christmas carol and I thought, "that's nice he's found one".

"I stood in my lounge room and just bawled when I heard my song."

Macca had passed on Ms Denholm's Christmas carol to producer and composer Larry Muhoberac who had recreated her song with his wife, Andra, singing the lyrics.

"It was more than a nice surprise," Ms Denholm said.

"I loved it."

The story behind the song displays just how properly Australian it really is.

Ms Denholm got the rhythm from listening to the XPT go over the line in Henty when she was travelling to Melbourne one year.

"That's where the tune came from ? where it got that strong dump-de-dump rhythm," she said.

Instead of describing snow and winter, the song talks about hot dusty roads and the harvest.

"I'm a one-hit wonder, I don't force it," Ms Denholm said, laughing.

"I think the best carols or songs are a true union of word and music."

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