Ernie Bridge 14 February 2011

Helicopter Ringer – a song by Ernie Bridge

Ernie Bridge

Mark Bin Bakar
Mark Bin Bakar

by Mark Bin Bakar

Ernie Bridge is one of the most successful persons from the Kimberley who achieved some great heights within the state of WA.

From local Shire of Halls Creek councillor from 1962–1979 through to State Ministership winning three state elections in 1980, 1983 and 1986, he became the first Indigenous politician anywhere in Australia to serve in a ministerial portfolio. However prior to his political life, he was involved in family business and became a successful small businessman in his own right.

Ernie Bridge
Ernie Bridge

He was well known as the singing politician. His climb to fame as a prominent Country and Western star assisted him achieving high credibility within the Country and Music world. Hailing from Halls Creek in the Kimberley, he toured with his own band featuring his two sons Kim and Noel Bridge and also at times with the late and great Barry Thornton aka Mulga Dann, Lead guitarist for Slim Dusty.

Ernie featured in Tamworth and was so well received that his popularity climbed into Country royalty. Ernie recorded a number of albums like “Sings Kimberley Favorites” (1979), “Helicopter Ringer” (1980); “Live At The Concert Hall” (1992); “Sing it Australian” (1983); “Great Australian Dream” (1990) and also with his son Noel “200 Years Ago” (1994). He had a massive hit with “Helicopter Ringer” with Rodney Rivers on guitar who captured the sound of the Helicopter on his Gibson guitar. Amongst a few popular songs like “Albert Barunga” and “the Great Australian Dream” he has touched us all with his music.

Ernie toured extensively and has added a number of awards to his belt like the WA Country Music Award for best original Song in 1992. In 1995 he was made a inductee of the Australian Country Music Foundation, having his hand print set in concrete forever in the famous Country Music Hands of Fame in Tamworth. This in itself is a proud record of achievement to be made immortal in concrete with hundreds of other famous country music icons and celebrities.

After leaving politics he continued back into private enterprise as a consultant and is now doing great works creating awareness of diabetes and its impact on Aboriginal people.

In 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. We hope to see him perform again and hope that he re-releases his albums on CD. His music is classic Australian Country Music in the vein of Slim dusty and Buddy Williams.

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