Originally known as the ‘Ectoplasmic Manifestation’, the group later changed the name to ‘The Goanna Band’, their songlists filled with Bob Dylan and Little Feat covers. The band performed up and down the Great Ocean Road, playing pubs and hotels and any place with a stage and an audience. In May 1981, on a doctor’s advice, Shane took a month’s hiatus from The Goanna Band and traveled to Ayers Rock (Uluru).
On the way back to Melbourne and a reunion with the group (who shortened their name to simply ‘Goanna’), Howard began working on a song called “Stand Y’r Ground.” But a new set of lyrics were pouring out of his pen – lyrics that didn’t match the folk-rock music that had been Goanna’s stock in trade. He put “Stand Y’r Ground” aside, and began developing a different, rougher melody for the new lyrics. By the time Howard arrived back in Melbourne, he had a new song for the group to record, based upon his experiences at Uluru, “Solid Rock.” The Goanna Band later became the opening act on James Taylor’s Australian tour, which eventually led to a record deal with WEA(Warner Bros.’ Australian affiliate) in February, 1982.
In October 1982 Shane’s massive anthem, “Solid Rock” from the forthcoming album Spirit of Place, recorded with his band, Goanna, was the first mainstream pop song to broach the subject of Aboriginal rights in Australia.