Ernie BRIDGE OAM (1995)

Ernie Bridge

1936 – Born Ernest Francis Bridge on the 15th of December in Halls Creek.

He was a pastoralist and businessman prior to entering politics.

1962–1979 - He served on the Halls Creek council.

1972 - A founding member of the Aboriginal Lands Trust.

1979 – Released “Sings Kimberly Favourites” an EMI Custom recording.

1980 – Released "Helicopter Ringer" an EMI Custom recording.

1980 - 1996 - A member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, representing the electorate of Kimberley, first as an Australian Labor Party representative.

1982 - Released “Live At The Concert Hall” on EMI

1983 – Released “Sings It Australian” on EMI.

1986 election - appointed as Honorary Minister assisting the Ministers for Water Resources, The North-West and Aboriginal Affairs. This made him the first indigenous politician anywhere in Australia to serve in a ministerial portfolio. He was promoted in July of that year to Minister for Water Resources, the North-West and Aboriginal Affairs.

1988 - He was shifted to the portfolio of Minister for Small Business after the accession of Peter Dowding as Premier.

1989 - Regained his old portfolios with his appointment as Minister for Agriculture, Water Resources and the North West, a role which he held until the defeat of the Labor government at the 1993 state election.

1990 – Released “Great Australian Dream”.

1991 - South Australian Country Music Festival Awards- Inducted into the Hall of Fame.

1993 - Awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in recognition of service to the Western Australian parliament and to Aboriginal affairs.

1993 to 1994 - Ernie continued as a member of the Shadow Ministry after Labor's defeat in 1993, serving as Shadow Minister for Trade.

1993 to 1996 - Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and the North West. Awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to Parliament and Aboriginal Affairs.

1995 - President of the Watering Australia Foundation, a non-profit organisation established to champion water supply needs. Inducted into the Hands of Fame/

1996 – 2001.  An independent MP until he retired at the 2001 election.

1997 - He established Unity of First People of Australia, a non-profit organisation which assists Aboriginal people in Western Australia with employment within the law and order, health and education industries.

2003 - Received the Centenary of Federation Medal for his service to Parliament and Aboriginal Affairs.

2004 - Won the Western Australian Citizen of the Year Award in the category of Governor’s Award for Regional Development. Released “200 Years Ago” with Noel Bridge.

Bridge is noted also for promoting the concept of a water pipeline from the Fitzroy River to Perth. He later went on to promote a larger scale scheme including piping water from northern Queensland rivers to the south-eastern Australian cities.

2013 - Ernie passed away on April 1st.