Ernieís Pipe Dream

 John Hayes 


In the mid 1980s WA's first indigenous Politician, Ernie Bridge became famous for his proposal to pipe water from Australia's norther rivers to the water starved southern cities. Initially, the proposal was restricted to piping water from the Fitzroy River down to Perth, but he later expanded the concept to other states. His idea has been considered by a number of other politicians, however the finances needed to achieve usable results are beyond that which any government so far has seen fit to contemplate



Thereís a topic to discuss of concern to all of us,

     it must be given serious consideration.

Our waterways have become polluted and their contents are unsuited,

     for consumption by people of the nation.

We donít appreciate a drop unless the weatherís hot

     and our body demands we break the dry.

Though I must confess water does not taste the best,

     unless it comes aqua-pura from the sky.


From my domestic tap I draw water that

     is purified by chemicals selected,

to nullify the germs or impurities that lurk,

     so consumers will not become affected.

In basins underground much water there is found

     to supplement the shortage of the weir.

But have you not espied how the vegetation dies,

     as the streams and lakes disappear.

Now it has been reported by official sources,

     thereíll be restrictions by the Water Board.

Hereís a bit of sound advice; youíve heard it once or twice,

     do what Ernie says and ďpipe it from the OrdĒ.


If you think its crook in Perth, well itís a whole lot worse

     across the border in the land of Crows,

They drink water from the Murray, which is distinctly muddy,

     with a plague of carp to stir it as it flows.

There is a new filtration plant and given half a chance

      it will purify the water that you sup.

But it looks like tea or coffee, the colour is the same,

      and no one requests a second cup.


I remember one who spoke itóverbatim I will quote it.

     ďLet us tow an iceberg from the Pole,

weíll have a pure supply of water and Iím certain that it oughta

     be suitable to drink as it dissolves.

If you have any query when considering my theory

     when this topic is thoroughly explored,

Iíll drop a line to Ernie care of the Kimberley,

     asking him, to pipe it from the Ord.Ē


With Adelaide far behind soon I was sampling wine,

     in Barossa and the valley Clare,

there was a great selection in Victoriaísí direction,

     of red or white with your daily fare.

Then further up the road we came to Bendigo,

     where we paused for a taste of H2O.


Perhaps I should refrain from the comments that were made,

     those adjectives were some you shouldnít know.

The Vicís had trouble with their gas, we wondered if perhaps

     it had stealthily infused the aqua flow,

This was merely speculation of the situation

     and the public, are always last to know.


I must say Iím surprised that clean waterís hard to find,

     this dilemma can no longer be ignored.

I reckon itís high time I got Ernie on the line,

    and request it be piped down from the Ord.


I didnít go to Sydney or into New South Wales,

     as their health problems were recently exposed.

I canít recall if it was meningitis, dysentery or hepatitis,

     but discussion of this subject has been closed.


So we drove up into Queensland

     for we know the outback stations suffer drought.

We knew they wouldnít mind, and we felt inclined,

     to lend a hand somehow, and help them out.


If Ernie will propose it, Iíll see that everybody knows it,

     then the books of history surely will record,

how we supplied the nation by pump and gravitation,

     with water, all the way from up the Ord.




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