Song Of The Artesian Waters


CLASSIC BUSH VERSE – AUSTRALIAN DREAMING

Song of the Artesian Waters

A B PATERSON

Water, or lack of the darned stuff, is inexplicitly linked to the way we view the land, especially the remote inland. Artesian, or bore water, is a vital part of our water history.

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.

Now our engine’s built in Glasgow by a vey canny Scot
And he marked it twenty horse-power, but he don’t what is what
When Canada Bill is firing with the sun-dried gidgee logs
She can equal thirty horses and a score or so of dogs

Sinking down, deeper down,
Oh, we’re going deeper down:

If we fail to get the water, then it’s ruin to the squatter
For the drought is on the station and the weather’s growing hotter
But we’re bound to get the water deeper dovvm.

But the shaft has started caving and the sinking’s very slow
And the yellow rods are bending in the water down below
And the tubes are always jamming, and they can’t be made to shift
Till we nearly burst the engine with a forty horse-power lift

Sinking down, deeper down,
Oh, we’re going deeper down:

Though the shaft is always caving, and the tubes are always hamming
Yet we’ll fight our way to water while the stubborn drill is ramming
While the stubborn drill is ramming deeper down.

But there’s no artesian water, though we’ve passed three thousand feet
And the contract price is growing, and the boss is nearly beat
But it must be down beneath us, and it’s down we’ve got to go
Though she’s bumping on the solid rock four thousand feet below

Sinking down, deeper down,
Oh, we’re going deeper down:

And it’s time they heard us knocking on the roof of Satan’s dwellin’
But we’ll get artesian water if we cave the roof of Hell in
Oh! we’ll get artesian water deeper down.

But it’s hark! the whistle’s blowing with a wild, exultant blast
And the boys are madly cheering, for they’ve struck the flow at last
And it’s rushing up the tubing from four thousand feet below
Till it spouts above the casing in a million-gallon flow
Till it spouts above the casing in a million-gallon flor

And it’s down, deeper down
Oh, it comes from deeper down;

It is flowing, ever flowing, in a free, unstinted measure
From the silent hidden places where the old earth hides her treasure
Where the old earth hides her treasure deeper down.

And it’s clear away the timber, and it’s let the water run
How it glimmers in the shadow, how it flashes in the sun!
By the silent belts of timber, by the miles of blazing plain
It is bringing hope and comfort to the thirsty land again

Flowing down, further down
It is flowing further down

To the tortured thirsty cattle, bringing gladness in its going;
Through the droughty days of summer it is flowing, ever flowing
It is flowing, ever flowing, further down.