He said of Tropical Cyclone Stan, ‘it was bitter sweet, even though destruction was imminent, rain was too.’

Since the year dot, water has been the life-giver, so why, after thousands of years of knowing this, why are we still struggling?

Day 7 is a bird’s eye view over drought stricken Queensland; through the clouds, a bird is witness to arid farmland, unrelenting highways through the heart of the wide brown land and the blood of the dying stock. Water is precious – without it our whole planet changes – yet most of us still take it for granted.

This interpretation came from a Queenslander who laments the drying up of his wonderful state – of which 86% is in drought, that’s almost double the size of Texas or seven times Great Britain!

The Great Artesian Basin is a gift for pastoral and inland Queensland, and  is the largest and deepest underground water basin in the world. The Song of the Artesian Water, by Banjo Patterson 1896, explores themes of water, science, drought, environmental change and exploitation in the frontiers of early Queensland;

Now the stock have started dying, for the Lord has sent a drought;

But we’re sick of prayers and Providence – we’re going to do without;

With the derricks up above us and the solid earth below,

we are waiting at the lever for the word to let her go.

Sinking down, deeper down, oh we’ll sink it deeper down.

As the drill is plugging downward at a thousand feet of level,

if the Lord won’t send us water, oh, we’ll get it from the devil;

yes, we’ll get it from the devil deeper down.

extract of poem by Banjo Patterson, ‘Song of the Artesian Water’, click title to read more

Click to see the full painting, Chilli Chocolate.

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