“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





14 January 2016


Dawe's Bridge is at the back of Dawesley, between Nairne and Kanmantoo, in the rain shadow country on the east side of the South Mount Lofty Ranges, which are colloquially called the Adelaide Hills, a name never gazetted.

This multi-tiered affair was a huge undertaking in its day, bridging the Brukunga Creek, which flowed east into Lake Alexandrina and the Murray-Darling estuary at what eventually became known as Langhorne Creek, long before that area had vineyards. 

This creek is now dangerously toxic and unfit for stock or gardens, since being polluted by the tailings from the Brukunga mine..

All the road traffic from Adelaide to Melbourne, then still known as Port Phillip, crossed this bridge. Note the hand-rounded stones in the ends of the pillars.

World famous winemakers Charles Burney Young, Harry Dove Young and Edmund Mazure would cross this bridge on their journey to and from Adelaide with celebrated Ngarrindjeri cellarhand and inventor. the genius David Unaipon.

Wine critic Ernest Whitington crossed it en route to review their Kanmantoo Vineyard St George Claret, the winner of the top award at the Paris World's Fair of 1889, staged to coincide with the opening of the Eiffel Tower ... and these are just a few of the structure's vinous implications.

Frank Potts, founder of the Langhornes Creek wine district, would likely have transported his famous racing yacht across here in the 1880s, after he'd built her from red gum on Lake Alexandrina and then dragged her by bullock dray over the South Mount Lofty Ranges to Port Adelaide to 'give some what-for' to the silvertails of the Yacht Squadron there.

It is a sickening indictment of the local Mount Barker Council and the South Australian state government that this precious relic is in such decay. A beautiful piece of pioneer stonemasonry, it must be of some sixty  metres in length - I shall investigate further, measure it and photograph it thoroughly next time I can find a driver with the time.

Dawe's Bridge is on the State Heritage Register, but it's being destroyed by criminal fuckheads who steal its stone, as much as by the authorities and the community that lives blindly around it while it disappears.

That means all of us. Let's get this fixed and protected.

Time to rise up. Sharpen up them pitchforks.

photos Philip White

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