20 April 2009


In today's Age Anson Cameron predicts that loss, mainly from upstream drawing off, of Murray - Darling water wil leave Adelaide low and dry. His recommendation:

The only thing we can do is proclaim terra nullius over South Australia and evacuate the people of Adelaide to the north coast. Add her name to those of Mesopotamia, Pi-Ramesses, Atlantis, Pompeii, Troy, Carthage and Babylon and let her serve as a reminder to us of the many despoiled places from which man has withdrawn. And it must be done with kindness. Such a humble grid of sandstone chapels, there is no place like Adelaide to her people. So we must make a place like Adelaide for them; a dull, isolated town in which their solipsism can thrive.

Compensation must be paid to property owners in Adelaide by the Federal Government on the proviso it's spent buying land in a site chosen on the north coast of Australia, to be named ReAdelaide.

The people living in the best streets in Adelaide must be rehoused in the best streets in ReAdelaide, to make the relocation as painless as possible. Thus, in ReAdelaide citizen X will find citizen Y still living to his right and citizen W to his left. A neighbourhood reborn. Adelaide's familial zest will have been transported apiece, and the yap of X's poodles will discommode Y and W anew in the tropical gloaming.

Some will want to stay. Crones clinging to the graves of their men and the memories of Christmases past will declare Adelaide their sacred site and chain themselves to their Hills hoists and barricade themselves in their wine cellars. We must not winkle them out with the long arm of the law. More compassionate to let them expire at their own pace in their unlit dilapidation, surrounded by the ghosts of those they loved.

Adelaide must be maintained when her people are gone. Caretakers must be employed and guards placed at her entrances to ward off tomb raiders. She must be preserved so that, in centuries to come, the City of Churches will rank as an archaeological wonder to rival the Valley of the Kings, and tour buses will shuttle Sydney under-12s to the Adelaide Oval to pirouette in wonder at the blue sky through which Bradman once lofted sixes.

But that is her future. Maggie Beer is their queen and should have the honour of being last to leave. And just as Boabdil, the last Moorish king of Granada, looked down on that city from the Puerto del Suspiro del Moro and sighed as the Moors left Spain forever, Maggie might gaze down from the Adelaide Hills similarly bereft and exhale a foie-gras-scented sigh over the empty streets of that town and the future of her people.

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