GREEN STREET: OUTBACK LIFESTYLE CHANCE. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
The release of land on Head Street in Alice Springs for residential development offers an opportunity to put into practice ideas being canvassed about water management and urban design appropriate to our desert community. However, there is still no obligation on developers to take that opportunity. John Childs, of the Department of Lands, Planning and Environment (DLPE) and chair of the Urban Water Management Strategy committee, says there is a "high level of awareness" in the relevant government departments of the opportunity. He says a number of draft layouts and designs for the land in question have been put before Lands Minister Tim Baldwin and the Minister has "expressed a preference" to turn off the blocks of land quickly, so that first home builders can take advantage of Federal and Territory government assistance schemes. Peter Somerville, DLPE's Manager of Planning Development, says the department would like to encourage any prospective developer to undertake sensitive water design but, in the Territory, there are still no formal controls or even guidelines in place to influence the outcome. Glenn Marshall, of the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC), asks how long is the Government going to pay lip service to Desert Knowledge? "When are we going to see things on the ground? "Will the new subdivision, like the convention centre, be another lost opportunity for appropriate arid zone design?" asks Mr Marshall. The release of the land, like the design of the convention centre, has pipped to the post the development of a design manual by the Alice in 10 Built Environment Committee. Following a "scoping study" (stage one) finalised in October last year, a consultancy (stage two) has been let to produce the manual. "It's another stepping stone towards better practice," says Mr Somerville. "Once we have guidelines in a manual and once those guidelines have public endorsement we will definitely be in a stronger position." Stage three of the process will look at giving the guidelines statutory status. The Alice Springs Town Plan requires that developers have regard to a number of issues, such as orientation (with respect to the sun), setbacks from the street and so on, but once again, there are no criteria, guidelines or benchmarks written into the plan. Although there is evidence in a generation of houses around town that environmental awareness has been applied in the past to build dwellings with reasonable "thermal efficiency", the approach has never become systematic. Mr Marshall says ALEC has a Housing Energy Rating Scheme (HERS) computer program developed by the Sustainable Energy Authority Victoria, which has a climate zone option for Alice Springs. A 1971 Housing Commission dwelling in Gillen gained a three and a half star rating when put through the program.This is because its orientation protects it from the western sun in summer, but exposes it to the northern sun in winter; it has no west-facing windows; it is built on a slab; it has a cavity between its external and internal walls; and insulation in its ceiling. Its new owners have also sealed the house's air leakages, such as gaps under the door, so that they have maximum gain from heating and cooling systems. "So you don't need a million bucks to build an appropriate house," says Mr Marshall. HERS is now mandatory in the ACT. New houses must have a three and a half star rating or more. Mr Marshall says Victoria is also moving towards mandatory HERS, and most other states are close to having HERS-type programs."The beauty of HERS is that it doesn't say how your house has to look. It just says you have to take into account a range of factors, and for instance, if you want west-facing windows for the view, then you have to make up for them with some other thermally efficient application." Mr Marshall says the Head Street site has been specifically talked about within the Alice in 10 Desert Knowledge Committee as potentially a good "green street" site. "It would be a great start to get all kinds of demonstration technologies into Alice Springs so people would know what we're talking about when we say things could be done differently," says Mr Marshall. The Town Council has responsibility for stormwater drainage and, if they chose to, could make a significant contribution to "water sensitive urban design" (WSUD) for the land. However, senior engineer with the council, Henry Szczypiorski, declined the News' invitation to comment on WSUD principles, saying only that nothing had yet come before council in relation to the Head Street land. Mayor Fran Erlich says that in principle council, a partner in the Urban Water Management Strategy, would like to see the opportunity taken to apply appropriate arid zone design, but " it will be very much up to the developer who buys the land". "For council, it will be a matter of influencing the Development Consent Authority on matters of drainage." Mr Somerville says that there is a change in approach to stormwater drainage Australia-wide, moving towards looking at it as a resource, rather than as a nuisance. The Alice News asked architect Brendan Meney how that could work in an urban subdivision. Without being familiar with the specific site, Mr Meney could only comment in general terms, but he said that a wide central median strip in a street winding through the subdivision, as part of an integrated approach, could "harvest" stormwater sheet flow, creating the opportunity for the subdivision to contain a large percentage of its own stormwater. The median strip could also serve as a proxy park, enhancing amenity and compensating for reduced housing block sizes which could also encourage a reduction in water use. Other "green street" principles that could be appropriate are the creation of "solar opportunity zones" by imposing building envelopes on each lot to ensure that one house does not block another's sun.This allows a passive energy approach (protection from summer sun, exposure to winter sun) and ensures the possibility of running solar hot water and other solar electric (photovoltaic) systems efficiently. Building envelopes can also help control noise and privacy issues and, by staggering the locations of the envelopes, can contribute to an attractive stree-tscape. In some areas of Alice Springs it is also possible to think about extension of natural habitat corridors into urban areas – good for the environment and pleasant to live with, says Mr Meney.
ZBIGNIEW PRUS-GRZYBOWSKI: ALICE SPRINGS' LONELY HERO. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
An Alice Springs man best known here for his lonely campaign targeting the now Chief Justice of the Northern Territory and his 1975 shooting of a lawyer in the Alice Springs courthouse, has been awarded three medals by the Polish government recognising his role as a resistance fighter during the Second World War. Zbigniew Prus-Grzybowski was a 15 year old school boy when Germany invaded his native Poland. He enlisted in the underground Armia Krajova (Home Army) in February 1941 and survived to fight in the famous Warsaw insurrection of August 1944, and later with Marshall Tito‘s forces in Yugoslavia. Now 76 years old and in ailing health, he lives in a small Housing Commission flat which he seldom leaves. He is a voracious reader – in history, politics, philosophy, religion, literature and languages. Eight thousand books line the walls of his flat. There is a narrow passage between them, from the front door to his desk where he sits beneath portraits of Copernicus, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Marie Sklodowska-Curie and the Pope – the last two, of course, fellow Poles. Mr Prus says the depression which he has suffered for the last 28 years has affected his speech and memory, yet he spoke with passion and precision about the events of 50 years ago. It is a sad irony that, having survived the scarifying experiences of the European war, Mr Prus' health and happiness have been shattered in Australia, "the land of the fair go" to which he came in 1965. His depression stems from events surrounding the loss of his livelihood when he was evicted with 48 hours' notice from farming land he leased at Emily Gap. The eviction came at the end of a series of wranglings over the lease, involving well-known figures of the Territory's legal profession, including Brian Martin, Paul Everingham and Peter Dean. (The details of this long and complex story were summarised in the Alice Springs News of October 4, 1995, following the hearing of a "threat to kill" charge against Mr Prus.) The eviction due to a legal technicality so enraged Mr Prus that he attempted to shoot the lawyer he thought responsible – Mr Dean – realising too late that it was not him, but another lawyer, Ted Skuse. Mr Skuse lost a lung and Mr Prus served five and a half years in gaol. Later Mr Prus received compensation from Everingham and Partners in an out of court settlement, but in his view issues concerning the role of Martin and Partners have never been resolved, despite his year long picket in front of the Alice Springs courthouse and his thousands of letters to public figures and officials in Australia. His 1995 threat to kill the Chief Justice was another attempt to have his grievances aired in court, but failed when he was found not guilty. In 1939, when Mr Prus' life was being buffeted by events on a much larger scale, he was living with his mother and younger brother in a farming village in the north of Poland. His father had died some time before. The most immediate impact of the German occupation was that his school was closed. Mr Prus had been a keen student and intended to become a priest. Now he had to work on the farm, all of the produce of which had to be handed over to the Germans. The Poles were living on strict rations, their radios and newspapers were shut down, all political activity was suppressed and their democratically elected government fled, first to Roumania, later to France, then England. Life became even harsher after the Battle of Stalingrad in January 1943, when the Russians inflicted defeat on the Germans, with huge loss of life on both sides. The defeat came as a shock for the Germans and led them to declare total war, using all available resources for their war effort.Poles were made to work much harder and suffered even greater restrictions on their freedom of movement: there was total curfew at night, and during the day they could only go about for an approved reason. By then, Mr Prus had been active in the resistance for two years. He says he joined under the influence of his mother, who herself had enlisted immediately after the occupation. "She instilled in us that we should fight the occupation and never give up," says Mr Prus.His mother's farm, where she grew medicinal herbs, was the meeting point for a 300-strong unit of the Armia Krajova. They would gather to exchange information about German military movements, their planned guerrilla attacks – usually blowing up bridges, attacking German military points, or liquidating collaborators – and for weapons training. Mr Prus says his most dangerous assignment was an attack by the entire unit on German tankers, carrying petroleum across the frontier into East Prussia where it would be distilled. The job of the guerrillas was to set the tankers on fire and flee. However their information about the strength of the German defence was not accurate and they found themselves almost entirely surrounded. Mr Prus says only about 20 of his comrades survived this incident, which lasted no more than two hours. The Poles would use their hand grenades on themselves, he says, rather than be captured: "It was better than to be killed only after very long torture." He was lucky to find himself at the weakest point in the encirclement from where he could escape to friendly territory. He was also among the survivors of the Warsaw insurrection. Although there was a legitimate Polish government in exile the Russians had established a communist puppet government in Lublin, who urged Poles to rise up and drive the Germans out. "We expected that once we rose up the Russians would come to our help," says Mr Prus. The Russian army, along with a few Polish units, was advancing on Warsaw when the insurrection by 46,000 Poles began. The Polish units did their best to help but the Russians retreated and "left us to the Germans". The insurrection held out for 63 days. Three quarters of the Armia Krajova died before their final surrender, when there was no ammunition left, no medicine, no food. The Western allies had wanted to air drop supplies into Warsaw but the Russians had refused to allow them to land and refuel on Russian territory. "We wanted to liberate our capital with our own hands and to have it considered Polish territory," says Mr Prus. "But that didn't suit Stalin." The Germans – who up until then had considered the resistance fighters to be "armed bandits" whom they would execute on the spot – decided to treat the surrendering forces as prisoners of war. According to Mr Prus, they wanted to show the world how " perfidious" the Russians were. Along with his comrades, he was held in a fortress at Modlin but escaped shortly afterwards. He was recaptured, forced to join a construction unit of the German army, and transported to Hungary. He again escaped as the German forces retreated into Austria and fled to Yugoslavia where he joined Marshall Tito's liberation army until he was discharged in July 1945. From there he crossed into Italy where he joined the Polish army, then under British command. Finally, in late 1945, Mr Prus was able to enter a Catholic seminary in Rome and was ordained a priest in the Salasian Order, founded by Don Bosco. He eventually left the church over disagreements in matters of dogma. His mother and brother had also survived the war, but his native village was collectivised under the communist regime and no longer exists as he knew it. This story is not extraordinary, he says. "It is the story of every European born before the war. "Only those born after the war can tell the story of an ordinary life."
EDUCATION GAP: AGREEMENT SOON. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
While the Commonwealth is pushing to close the gap in educational achievement between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students by 50 per cent within four years, the Territory is arguing for a more attainable target: turning around the backwards trend and seeing a system-wide improvement. Spokespersons for both says they are optimistic about coming to a productive agreement on the target, upon which depends the four year multi-million dollar Indigenous Education Strategies Initiatives Program (IESIP). Acting State Manager of the Commonwealth's Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Maurice Bainbridge, says 50 per cent remains the Commonwealth's bargaining position. "We are arguing that while it requires a fairly major effort, it is achievable with the right level of resources, teaching methods, and improved health and attendance," says Mr Bainbridge. Deputy CEO of the Territory's Department of Education (NTDE), Katherine Henderson, says the Territory is certainly not the only jurisdiction still negotiating around the target and the department is "comfortable" with that. "We think we are better off taking our time to get a really productive agreement," says Ms Henderson. "We agree that targets should put ‘stretch' into the system, but they should not be so unattainable in the short term as to make people cynical and see them lose heart. "Seeing system-wide improvement is step one, but I think it will take two to three years before we see that."We are working with principals across the Territory, putting more resources directly into schools."There has been a change in culture, values and expectations. "Every principal knows that the Minister, the Government and the department are asking for a change in outcomes and are making the resources available to achieve that." There have in fact been some improvements since the release in late 1999 of Bob Collins' review of Indigenous education in the Territory. Mr Collins, former Labor senator and Cabinet Minister, says outcomes for Indigenous kids in urban schools are improving.Ms Henderson says the data varies from school to school, but there are some Indigenous students in urban schools achieving outcomes comparable to those of other Indigenous students around Australia, while others still are on a par with non- Indigenous students. Mr Collins also notes NTDE's "progressively improving method of collecting data". "The review pointed out that the capacity of the department to actually assess how it was going was abysmal, not just for Indigenous kids but across the board. "That's been addressed." Better data collection, says Mr Collins, has allowed the department to see that in some "cohorts of schools" in the bush educational outcomes are continuing to deteriorate: "They are still getting worse as we speak." Ms Henderson says "certainly in remote schools we haven't seen improvements" but she says they will come. In response to the Collins review, NTDE has implemented 94 principal directed pilots in 85 schools, which are due to be evaluated in a series of regional forums being held this month. They cover a whole range of programs aimed at improving attendance and outcomes in schools. "But we can't get those improvements without engaging with communities," says Ms Henderson. "The detail of each program has to be worked out with each community and that's what will make for a system-wide change." Mr Collins praises NTDE's response to the review: "You couldn't have done it much quicker," he says. In relation to the debate over the IESIP target, he says it is important to remember the Territory education system is quite different from any other in Australia "in that no other system has got the percentage of Indigenous students that the Territory has". Says Mr Collins: "The state closest to us is Western Australia with five per cent. The proportion of Indigenous kids in Territory classrooms is around 39 per cent and in Central Australia it's much higher than that. "Despite the considerable urban drift, around 70 per cent of all Indigenous kids are still being taught in isolated communities. "I agree with the Commonwealth that a very significant degree of ‘stretch' needs to be strived for. "As I said in the review, far better to aim at something and fail than to aim at nothing and succeed. "But I also understand the position that the NTDE is taking. "There's no question that the educational challenges in isolated communities are very great indeed. "As far as I am concerned, the bottom line is to see a system- wide improvement in outcomes without putting a number on it. "To simply see the continuing deteriorating trend in remote schools turned around and moving the other way would be a major achievement at the moment." Mr Collins has been closely involved with a couple of the principal directed pilots, one of which is tracking all Year Seven Indigenous kids in an urban primary school before and after they leave the school. Says Mr Collins: "Of the 46 kids in this particular pilot, 33 are from single parent families. Four only are being cared for by their fathers. The rest are either with their mothers or other family members. "These statistics really do highlight how different society is now to what it used to be, and I might add, these are changes that have affected the entire community, not just the Indigenous community." The pilot has also found that some of the students have been attending up to five different schools over the last two years. Says Mr Collins: "That is a hell of a challenge for both the educators and the kids."He says the school is now looking at ways "to contain to some degree that level of movement, so that even when the kids change their living place, arrangements would be made for them to continue attending the same school."
TOURIST LOST ON 'TRAIN TO THE MOON'. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.
The operators of the Ghan took 19 hours to advise whether or not a Japanese student reported lost had boarded the train to Alice Springs in Adelaide. Although the Ghan has a radio link – using microwave transmitter towers – working all the way along its track, a Great Southern Railways (GSR) executive says it can be used only by the driver of the locomotive, not the conductor in the back of the train.Police and worried teachers of the 22-year-old student had to wait until the Ghan returned to Adelaide the following day with the passenger manifest to be told that she had missed the train.Says Barry Hill, a lecturer at the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne, who led the group of students on a research trip to The Centre: "It seems to me irresponsible of the railways to be so inflexible about the information they had. "We had to wait 19 hours before establishing that our student had not got onto the train. For all we knew she could have been in real trouble, as happens sometimes with young tourists in this country. "She was a Japanese student, her only contact were her parents in Yokohama, the railways' irresponsibly obstructed our duty of care. "I understand one sergeant at the police station was most frustrated that the railways' Adelaide office had not replied to two faxes from the police, and when the police made phone contact, thought it unreasonable that the railways said they could not make phone contact with the train. "You would have thought the train was on its way to the moon."The student was due to board the Ghan on April 17. When she failed to arrive in The Alice the following morning Mr Hill began a search. When that was unsuccessful he contacted police who in turn rang the railway company. Steve Bradford, Chief Executive Officer of GSR, says like airlines, the company doesn't release passenger details unless a request is put in writing by police. Alice police then sent a fax at 4.39 pm on Tuesday, but didn't get a reply until the following morning. Soon after the student managed to contact the group herself. Mr Bradford says the train driver can communicate with the " hospitality attendants" by two-way radio "but only in emergencies". He says Mr Hill has not returned a number of subsequent calls from GSR: "We are unable to understand why in three hours Mr Hill's representative did not ask the train crew while the train was in Alice Springs. "If the customer had not got off the train it's a reasonable assumption that she did not get on it in Adelaide, and that could have been confirmed in 30 seconds."
MENTAL HEALTH SPENDING GROWTH.
The NT has experienced the second highest spending growth in Australia on mental health services, according to the National Mental health report 2000, drawing on 1998 data. However, this still left it ranked fifth in per capita expenditure. In 1997-98 the Territory spent 96 per cent of its funding on services primarily directed at the adult population. Per capita spending on these services was 14 per cent above the national average and the highest of the jurisdictions. Specialist services for children and adolescents accounted for the remaining four per cent of the expenditure. Per capita funding to this group was 60 per cent below the national average and the lowest of the jurisdictions. The Territory and the ACT are the only jurisdictions to not provide specialist mental health services to older people. Services for this group are met by the adult mental health and general aged care programs. There is little supplementing of public health sector mental health services by private psychiatrists funded under Medicare Benefits Schedule. In 1997-98 the number of attendances by private psychiatrists were only 22 per cent of the national per capita average, by far the lowest level in the country.
SO, ANYWAY, WHERE ARE YOU FROM? Comment by ANN CLOKE.
When you're travelling, meeting people, swapping stories, inevitably the same old questions come up in conversation: "So where are you from?" to which we respond, "Well, we're not actually FROM there – we live in Alice Springs."They then say something like: "We didn't think ANYONE lived in Alice Springs," or "Do you have any sealed roads up there?!" or "Can you see the Rock from your place?" They have, quite simply, no idea!! They don't realise that Uluru is some 460 kilometres south-west of here … that we'd need an exceptionally powerful telescope … Crank up the defensive mechanism, put it into overdrive, and tell people exactly WHERE Alice is, and what it has to offer.In the main, Terri-torians are well travelled – we think nothing of driving thousands of kilometres to go fishing or sailing, visit Darwin and Adelaide, or we'll fly to Sydney or Melbourne to catch a show, a favourite sporting event. We know quite a lot about the rest of Australia, and we're able to act as ambassadors for the whole of Australia.Unfortunately, many Australians don't even know where Alice Springs is! South-west Queensland? Top of South Australia? Western Australia? Next to the Rock? Somewhere in the middle? Alice's multi-cultural cosmopolitan society ensures that life is never dull. In the 1960s and ‘70s people were pigeon-holed: the three Ms, misfits, missionaries or mercenaries. I think I was in the first lot – loved the sea and the coast but didn't want to live in a city and that's where most of the work seemed to be on offer. When I left New Zealand I travelled to the Centre and proceeded, in between work stints, to see much of Australia – I clocked up thousands of kilometres and simply could not believe how VAST Australia is.I wanted to continue to travel, both here and overseas, and decided that a centrally located base was needed and it was not difficult to call Alice Springs home. I loved the remoteness, so I'm one of many who chose to come here. Some places you simply end up in – Alice Springs is a destination!! The "big fish, small pond" syndrome definitely applies in Alice Springs, and why not?We know that there are good business prospects here but try telling city counterparts – they tend to think that a move anywhere out of the city, especially to the Northern Territory, is professional suicide. We rely on tourism, government administration, transport, cattle, camels, mining, The Masters Games and other sporting events, arts and Aboriginal culture to keep the town's economy ticking over. If you've got a good idea for a brand new business venture then Alice Springs is not a bad place to give it a go (depending on what "it" is obviously!). My husband, David, at the age of 42, was trying to emigrate from Malawi, southern Africa, to Australia – and he needed either a quarter of a million dollars, or a genuine job offer, one where the employer could prove that no Australian wanted the position. An opportunity with an accounting firm was identified in Alice Springs. David arrived in the middle of Australia, settled in, worked hard, socialised, played tennis and golf and met me … and the town has been extremely kind to both of us.One of my brothers, Norm, came to Alice for two weeks in 1982. He had rung from Sydney to tell me he was heading back across the Tasman, and I said that he hadn't seen the real Australia, the Outback … He came, quite liked the lifestyle, there were good employment opportunities and the weather was absolutely perfect. Norm was happy, he met Lee, and now I have two beautiful nieces and a little nephew here. Norm is a key employer in the town and he's worked hard to ensure he has a good lifestyle. Alice Springs is a tolerant town – anyone from anywhere can have a go, even (we) Kiwis!! So when people ask where you're from, forget the old school tie, and tell them about the Alice: that a trip to the Northern Territory, in particular the Centre, will prove to be unforgettable; that it's a unique travel destination, a great place to live and a relatively safe place to raise a family. Most people want to visit Alice Springs and environs, and when I read the wonderful comments family and friends have written in our visitors' book, I'm pleased that they made it to our special part of the world. (Although the last time Mum and Dad came, they suggested that as they've seen the Centre about 12 times, and they know its many moods, they wouldn't mind meeting us somewhere on the coast next time. I don't mind meeting them there – I just wouldn't want to LIVE there with the other 80+ per cent of Australians!) I've been a desert-dweller for far too long. I know we have some problems but what town doesn't? The countryside around Alice Springs still takes my breath away and the lifestyle is always stimulating and satisfying – the freedom to be an individual, great friends, wide open spaces, the township, ever growing, the landscape, ever changing: no commuting, no queues, an abundance of social issues peculiar to the Territory, some solutions, many challenges and a quick two hour flight to see the sea … what more to life?
AWARD FOR ALICE FILM.
A film following the life of young camel, from birth to early maturity, living in the Watarrka (Kings Canyon) area, has won a major award at the International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana, USA – in competition with films from the BBC, National Geographic and Discovery."Silhouettes of the Desert" was lovingly filmed by David Curl over five years.A zoologist by training, Curl has been living in the Territory since 1987.His previous film – "The Call of Kakadu" – reached international audiences of more than 50 million and received 10 international awards.Curl moved to the Centre some six years ago, living first at Mutitjulu, and lately in Alice Springs.He owns his own 16mm and 35mm film equipment, which allows him to film when the conditions are right for the animals and himself.In the field he mostly works on his own, although sometimes his collaborator and editor Elke Deppner joins him.Curl says camels "make for really strong story"."Very few people realise that Central Australia is home to the world's largest population of dromedary (single hump) camels."That's a drawcard, but the film also has a strong storyline."You can't get good sales just by showing pretty pictures."There are plenty of warm fuzzy moments in this film, plenty of laughs, and some spectacular action."Young adult males and bulls can behave quite violently, especially towards baby camels."Silhouettes, which premiered on ABC-TV, has also reached the finals of Canada's Banff Film Festival.
CANVAS, CASTLES, COUNTRY. Review by KIERAN FINNANE.
Like so many visitors to the Centre, Welsh artist David Hastie has been overwhelmed by its vast spaces. Travelling from Alice Springs to Uluru via the Mereenie Loop Road was "like travelling the full length of my country", he says. It changed his ideas about what he wanted do in his installation at Watch This Space, showing until May 5.He knew from the outset that he wanted to pursue the idea of " shelter" or a "refuge" and that he'd do that in part by working with a tent. What he didn't count on was the kind of tent supplied by a fellow artist in Alice – more of a canopy, than a conventional house-like type of tent. But the canopy had the plus of carrying the marks of the desert – the tawny stain of red sands, the prints of a dog, the inevitable patches – and of more readily evoking an artist's canvas. That and the impact of actually experiencing the landscape made for a more "spontaneous work" than his original proposal, says Hastie. He has strung the "tent" up from the ceiling in a corner of the gallery, leaving a large area of floor space in front of it. It suggests vast sand plains, or the equally vast sky, dominating a line of little houses, on the scale of children's toys, huddled into the ground below, behind a high protective fence. The attempt of this tiny settlement to shut out the desert is almost laughable, but who can blame them? The work is more tender than disdainful. Walk behind the barrier created by the canvas, into a cool dark space. It contains a desk, a chair, and a lamp which sheds its light on a castle, again to the scale of a toy. This suggests at once the kind of monument encountered in the landscapes of Europe, often the focus of attention in images carried around in every European's head; the adage "Every man's home is his castle" and the social drive to make this so; a retreat from, even an exclusion of the big space outside, into the comfort zone of European culture; and thus the history of European settlement of Australia. With minimal materials Hastie has created two spaces which graciously invite the viewer to think about how we are "at home" in this country.
TOURISTS JOINED IN! Report by DOROTHY GRIMM.
Hundreds of Alice Springs tourists, newcomers and long-time residents turned out for the town's Heritage Week Festival and had a wonderful time. No matter the activity, no matter the temperature, people were ready to participate and learn while also catching up with long time friends or meeting strangers who just happened to be in Alice Springs "at the right time". At the Bush Dance at Olive Pink Botanic Garden, it was not long before the band, Marooan had the folks – many newcomers to bush dancing – up and swinging their partners heel and toe and laughing all the way. Bush dancing is great because all ages can take part, and a way can always be found to make room for "just one more". Soon all dancers had to admit they weren't as physically fit as they thought they were and that it really wasn't as cold as they had thought it was. The screening of "Breaker Morant" at the Pioneer Walk-in Theatre was another chilly night but no one seemed to mind. The locals came rugged up while guests at the YHA Hostel felt fortunate that in this instance the event had come to them. "Is this a special group?" a man from Germany asked. A 66 year- old, he had come to Australia for the Olympics and had been cycling around ever since. He smiled broadly when he was invited to share refreshments provided by members of the McDouall Stuart Branch of the National Trust, who volunteered their time and effort to provide a sense of "yesteryear" in Alice Springs. A number of events were a "sell-out" including the Tell Us A Yarn night at the Sienna Village. And the friendliness and welcoming attitude that is what makes Alice Springs special prevailed throughout. Many people also talked about what intangible thing or things have occurred or are occurring which make the Alice Springs of today seem different than it seemed even just a few years ago.
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