The Polish Independence Concert „Poland” (2018)

Special edition in Australia

The concert will tell the history of Poles fighting for other nations’ freedom. The Polish-Australian Brotherhood of arms during the siege of Tobruk. Australian participation in airdrops for Warsaw 1944. Australians, Walter Smith, Warsaw Uprising insurgent and Allan Hunter Hammet, Home Army soldier. Lech Zondek – a Polish and Australian citizen, who died during the fighting in Afghanistan. Australian fate of Jacek Kaczmarski.

Date & Time

28th December 2018, 7:00 PM


Redland Performing Arts Centre, 2/16 Middle St, Cleveland QLD 4163, Australia

The first step in throwing off subjugation is to dare to be free; the first step to victory is to recognize one‘s own strength.

– Tadeusz Kościuszko –

Tobruk 1941. Poles and Australians. Photo: the NAC collections

The Polish Independence Concert „Poland” is dedicated to the Polish community. The Polish Independence Concert in Australia in Redland (Brisbane agglomeration) is a part of the international tour Poland-Lithuania-Latvia-Australia.

Soldiers of the Polish Independent Carpathian Rifles Brigade with an Australian fellow soldiers in Tobruk.

The theme of the edition is the service of Poles under foreign flags and their struggle for the independence of Poland, as well as the freedom of other nations. The repertoire and narration of the concert shows the extraordinary history of our compatriots – starting from the times of the Crusades of the Silesian Piasts, ending with the history of Lech Zondek, a Polish and Australian citizen, who fought against the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. Apart from General Józef Bem, distinguished for Poland, Austria, Hungary and Turkey, Tadeusz Kościuszko and Kazimierz Pułaski – national heroes of Poland and America, or Henryk Dąbrowski – the creator of Polish Legions in Italy, dozens of national heroes not mentioned in current history lessons will be reminded. We will also show the dramatic history of Poles forced to serve in hated uniforms of invaders and occupants. They never renounced their Fatherland, and many of them were later the members of newly created Polish armed formations.

Jacek Kaczmarski during a trip around Australia with Teresa Podemska-Abt. Photo: private archive

A separate narrative theme are the relations and war brotherhood of Poles and Australians. We will recall the Polish-Australian brotherhood of arms during the siege of Tobruk, fighting against Afrika Korps in 1941 and during the airdrops with help for the Warsaw Uprising. We will show the unknown characters of two Australians members of the Home Army. The first one is Allan Hunter Hammet, a crew member of the 178th RAF Bomber Squadron Liberator, shot down near Kraków, who later joined the Home Army. The second is the only Australian participant of the Warsaw Uprising, Walter Edward Smith. The story will be told until the eighties of the twentieth century. In this part of the narrative we will recall the Australian episodes in the life of Lech Zondek and Jacek Kaczmarski.

Lech Zondek

During the nine years of work on the Independence Concert, its creators developed their own musical style, which they called the hybrid music. It combines the original sounds of old hymns and songs with modern arrangements and instrumental compositions, using elements of classical, ethnic and electronic music, jazz, rock, reggae, blues, techno-house music and sung poetry. In these compositions are used also archival recordings and sounds of nature.

Allied prisoners in the Stalag XX-A Toruń. Walter Edward Smith (sixth left in the second row).

The repertoire of the Polish Independence Concert „Poland” will include hybrid arrangements of Polish anthems, military songs and bard songs, including a lyrical interpretation of Jacek Kaczmarski’s Nasza klasa (1983), jazz instrumental composition Enigma (2014) and a rock arrangement of Lwowskie Puchacze (1943), that is the anthem of the Night Hunting Squadron, famous for defending Exeter. The program will also include Gaude Mater Polonia (1253), Idzie Żołnierz Borem Lasem (14th century), Marsz Polonia (1863), Wąwóz Somosierry (1905), Piechota (1917), Karpacka Brygada (1941), Od Kłajpedy do Szczecina (1941), Czerwone maki (1944), Źródło (1978), and instrumental compositions Tęsknota (2010) and Nadir (2014). In accordance with the long tradition of the Polish Independence Concert, we will sing Polish anthem Mazurek Dąbrowskiego (1797) and the Australian anthem Advance Australia Fair (1878) at the conclusion.

The musical director and vocalist of the Polish Independence Concert is the Polish-Canadian vocalist Ola Turkiewicz (singing). She will be accompanied on stage by Tomasz Bacajewski (singing), Marcin Riege (piano), Krzysztof Kowalewski (guitars), Paweł Jabłoński (accordion), Marcin Ritter (bas, contrabass), Shannon Marshall (trumpet), Karol Domański (drums), Sylwester Malinowski (percussion instruments), Siergiej Wowkotrub (first violin), Sarah Curro (2nd violin), Mike Patterson (viola) oraz Daniel Curro (cello).

Narration: Kristof Kaczmarek
Music director: Ola Turkiewicz
Sound engineer: Kamil Bobrukiewicz
Direction and production: Jacek “Wiejski” Górski


Polart Logo


Project is co-financed by the Senate of the Republic of Poland as part of the custody of Polish Community and Poles abroad

Partner of the concert


Media patron

Polskie Radio

Technical support

BM Productions