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Sound clip: State House Kid album

man leaning on a lampost in front of a state house
Audio file

Hear an extract from 'State House Kid'

Ross Mullins' song 'State House Kid' depicts the disaffection and alienation of a teenage girl growing up in a state house community in 1980s Auckland. Each Friday night, the precocious teen escapes her drab existence to experience the glamour and bright lights of the big city, reluctantly returning home on the stroke of midnight.


Brown-eyed girl on Queen Street, stepping out for Friday night,
Angel in denim, stops, asks a stranger for a light,
And boys whistle in the crowd,
But she holds her pretty head up proud,
And she's only 15 but she keeps it hid,
She looks 21, this state house kid.

Spends the last ten dollars she earned down at the superette,
She's got to meet a girlfriend at nine outside the de Brett
And they're going to the disco bar,
Or going cruising in a car,
And she's gleaming in the night like a black orchid,
And she's starting to forget she's a state house kid.

She's so tender and so unafraid,
But there's an ugly world out there,
And they're waiting for her,
Like cops on a dawn raid.

Night is spent and finds her out of smokes and down at heart,
It's getting on midnight as she makes her way to Britomart,
And she'll take the bus ride home,
Creep into the house alone,
And in the morning they'll be asking her what she did,
But she won't say much this state house kid.

man leaning on a lampost in front of a state house

The cover of the 1985 record State House Kid by Last Man Down shows singer/songwriter Ross Mullins, in an unkempt 1950s school uniform, standing in front of burnt-out state house. A child's trike, almost lost in the overgrown grass, signals that it was once a family home, perhaps Mullins' own. The image could also be a critique of state housing: that families were 'burnt' by the conformity and banality of 1950s state housing communities.


Courtesy Ross Mullins

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Sound clip: State House Kid album, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated