'The adjudicators appointed by the Premier to decide who was entitled to the prize of 50 guineas offered for the best ode composed for Commonwealth Day were Mr. Justice Owen, Mr. E. Du Faur (president of the art gallery), and Mr. Alexander Oliver, B.A., (president of the Land Appeal Court). After a careful perusal of a large number of compositions, they unhesitatingly selected an ode sent in by Mr. George Essex Evans of Toowoomba, but asked the author to make three amendments. Curiously enough Mr. Evans anticipated the wishes of the adjudicators by forwarding another copy of the ode with the very alterations made therein as suggested.' - Sydney Morning Herald, 27 December, 1900.
The 'Commonwealth Ode' was initially published in a number of Australian newspapers in October 1900. Evans subsequently made several minor alterations to the work, most of which involved the fourth verse. Evans also altered the first line to 'Awake! Arise! The wings of dawn'. It is this later version of the work that appeared in Australian newspapers in December 1900 and January 1901, and which was published as a leaflet in 1901 by the New South Wales Government.