The Sunshine State

Do you remember the song, “Life is great in the sunshine state”?

Jackie Ellison and Clyde Collins, 11 July 1967. Image no. 193417.

The Sunshine State by prolific Queensland composer Clyde Collins was written for the centenary of Queensland in 1959. It is still performed regularly by bands and choirs, especially on Queensland Day, 6 June. The State Library owns the Clyde Collins Papers, a collection of his musical compositions, arrangements and writings.

The Sunshine State by Clyde Collins, 1958. Image no. 428844.

Songwriter, harmonicist and clarinettist Horrie Dargie (1917-1999) recorded the song in 1959 with the famous Horrie Dargie Quintet. The quintet’s farewell concert in Sydney Town Hall before their tour of England (1952) became Australia’s first Gold Record, selling 75,000 copies.

 The Sunshine State by Clyde Collins, recorded by the Horrie Dargie Quintet – Open the score

Laurel Dingle

Senior Librarian - Arts and Humanities


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My wife is a Grade 3 teacher and needs a copy of the song "Life is great in the Sunshine State" by Clyde Collins for Queensland Day celebrations this week.I have searched everywhere to download a version including Horrie Dargie Quintet but with no success.Can you please help?regards

Hi GlennYou can find a digital copy of "The Sunshine State" at… click on "Online @ SLQ. View the digitised score" on the right side of the screen.

I was a member of the Centenary Choir at Balmoral/Bulimba and we cut a record singing "The Sunshine State". I would love to get my hands on acopy of this 45 rpm record. I think the other song was"Val de Re Val de Ra"! A few of us girls had our photoprinted in the Courier Mail at that time.

My copy of the record was given to the State Library years ago. The other side was "Marching Girls on Parade".I was also a member of the choir, recruited from Cannon Hill State School. There is a photo of our choir in the Centenary of Cannon Hill State School book printed last year.S

I learned this song in primary school. Now as I approach 70 I can still remember most of the first verse.

What an amazing song.
Can't find it on any of the streaming services but found the song on Youtube. Can the recording be made public on for example Apple Music or Spotify? Who owns the rights to the song?