SECURITY AT ALICE AIRPORT: IT'S A JOKE. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Security personnel at the Alice Springs airport failed on at least
four occasions to detect card cutters, the kind of sharp blades
reported to have been used by the September 11 hijackers.
Last Friday a local businessman Ð without being aware of it Ð carried one of these implements in his shirt pocket.
He passed through the security screening without the cutter (pictured at right) being detected.
The man, who does not wish to be named, realised he was carrying the blade soon after, and spoke to a Protective Services officer on duty.
The officer encouraged the man to pass through the metal detector a second time Ð and again the blade failed to be discovered.
The businessman pointed out the situation to the security personnel and was told Ð words to the effect Ð "well, it just wasn't picked up".
On Sunday the Alice News Ð assuming corrective action had been taken Ð put the system to the test.
I carried a paper cutter with a plastic sheath and a four centimetre long blade in the breast pocket of my jacket.
Immediately before me were two tourists who were asked to remove their boots because the metal detector alarm had sounded.
So far as I could see, no dangerous items were found.
I passed through the metal detector without it sounding the alarm.
I walked into the secure area unhindered.
About one minute later a trainee journalist working for the Alice News approached the secure area with a canvas bag and placed it on the conveyor belt for screening.
The bag was intercepted by a security staff.
Our trainee was asked whether the bag contained a "leather man" Ð a metal implement with several tools, including a small knife blade.
She said it did, and was asked to open the bag.
When its flap was opened, clearly visible to the security person were a biro slid into a holder, and next to it, the top of a card cutter with a sharp blade, five centimetres long.
The security person asked the News staffer to remove the "leather man" but did not recognise the card cutter.
The News staffer then handed me the bag and I walked into the secure "airside" area unhindered, with the card cutter still in the bag.
I could easily have passed the card cutter to any passenger about to board a flight.
Malcolm McCallum, that airport's operations manager, said: "The walk-through metal detector is checked on a daily basis in accordance with the Department of Transport Aviation Security branch standards.
"The matter of the card cutter in the bag is being addressed with our screening contractor.
"Both matters will be investigated in accordance with established practices for reporting and evaluating potential security incidents."
Mr McCallum would not comment on whether the walk-through metal detector was incapable of detecting card cutters.
A spokesman for Transport Minister John Anderson says detection of objects depends on their size and some objects are too small.
However, the card cutters should have been detected.
The spokesman says knowingly carrying a weapon into a sterile area is a Federal offence, which can carry a prison term of up to five years.
Since Sept 11 there has been a "layered approach" to security of which passenger and baggage screening is only one aspect.
KIDS ON OUR STREETS. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.
A youth worker with 15 years experience says there are 50 street kids in Alice Springs, only eight of whom are "a real problem".
Eddie Taylor says all of these are from "out of town" and their parents have either abandoned them or are neglecting them. By and large the kids are just "hanging out, walking around in groups.
"They call it having a good time."
Mr Taylor says local sports Ð especially Aussie Rules, rugby, soccer and netball Ð are providing a great service to young people but the string of publicly funded child welfare organisations around town are not broadly effective, mainly because they don't operate at night.
He says while the Gap Youth Centre is nominally open to all young people, the reality is that kids not living in the Gap area can't go there.
"It's territorial," says Mr Taylor. "Kids have their own rules."
Mr Taylor says the wider community should become involved in the issues. For example in the late eighties, with just a day's canvassing, he managed to sign up six businesses in Todd Mall to provide work experience opportunities.
Also, such community activities as the Blue Light discos have now disappeared.
Mr Taylor is vice chairman of the Central Australian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (CAACCA).
He says its youth patrol Ð four staff and one vehicle Ð picks up 30 to 50 children most nights who are taken to their homes, or to friends' or relatives' homes if the children are abused or neglected.
Mr Taylor says CAACCA itself has had serious problems.
It closed the youth refuge, Aranda House, earlier this year after management and financial difficulties over several years.
Mr Taylor says he has recently rejoined the CAACCA board and hopes to reopen Aranda House. It is owned by the NT Government's Correctional Services and is leased to CAACCA.
Several organisations have put in a bid for running the refuge and the NT Government is due to make a decision soon. The Alice News understands that a contract is being negotiated.
Mr Taylor wants governments to suspend child support payments to parents who fail to adequately look after their children, and says late night curfews should apply to various age groups.
He says the Juvenile Diversionary system is "the best thing that's ever happened to us".
Young offenders, instead of going to court, can elect to meet their victims, learn about the distress they caused to them and offer restitution, often by way of community work.
Mr Taylor says by avoiding detention Ð now available only in the Don Dale Correctional Centre in Darwin Ð the opportunity is removed for young people to "exchange information with other offenders" Ð likely to continue a criminal career.
Mr Taylor is pictured in a laneway off Todd Mall often frequented by street kids.
ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE TEACHERS: EVERY CLASS SHOULD HAVE ONE. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
When the Collins Review recommended back in 1999 that all teachers
in the Territory be trained in English as a second language (ESL)
methods, two Alice educators were already quietly going about achieving
excellence in that area.
Julie Permezel (at left in the photo) is a classroom teacher, at present working at Sadadeen Primary School. At the recent NTU Graduation ceremony she was awarded her Master degree in Applied Linguistics and the Chancellor's medal. This means that she scored 6.5 or higher out of a possible seven in assignments throughout her course.
Ruth Gledhill (also pictured), who works out of the Alice office of the Department of Education, also received the Chancellor's medal for her Master degree in Education.
Ms Gledhill runs professional development programs for teachers of Indigenous ESL students. The major project of her degree was to evaluate a university course for ESL teachers that she helped to write, in particular looking at the effectiveness of distance education in catering for the needs of teachers in the bush.
"Teachers need to be able to see the relevance of their professional development program," says Ms Gledhill.
"They need to see how they can immediately transfer it to classroom practice.
"The Collins Review recommendation that all Territory teachers be ESL teachers is on the way to being implemented, so the need for ESL professional development is expanding.
"There is constant interest in the courses we are running in Alice Springs and Darwin.
"There are a lot of very dedicated teachers in the bush who are doing a wonderful job in difficult circumstances. The overriding poor results of Indigenous students are not necessarily down to their teachers."
Ms Gledhill spends a lot of time visiting bush schools. What does she think about Ted Egan's proposal (see last week's News) of a two-way education experiment with Aboriginal adults, who would hopefully then pass on the value of education to their children?
"I found Ted Egan's comments very interesting. We certainly need a new approach, one that acknowledges the reality and that has people working in partnership to try to come up with something that is going to work.
"The infrastructure is there, there are dedicated teachers and we are working towards increasing ESL knowledge.
"Where teachers are using sound ESL practices in the bush they are getting very good results."
Ms Permezel came to the Territory with a science degree and a Graduate Diploma in Aboriginal Education from Flinders University.
Once in the classroom Ð initially out bush, then in Alice Ð she didn't feel very well prepared for teaching, let alone for the challenge of ESL students."I felt the teachers who had a four year degree in education were better prepared than I was. I was learning on the hop."
She enrolled in her Master degree as a way of "touching up" her skills."For any teacher, but especially one with lots of Aboriginal students, Applied Linguistics is really useful. There is no such thing as bad English, there are just different sorts of English.
"For example, there is a continuum of ÔEnglishes' from a strong Aboriginal English (with terms such as ÔWe bin go') to Standard Australian English, which is the form of English deemed correct by the better educated and more powerful members of the Australian community.
"But all students need to develop a good grasp of Standard Australian English to be able to succeed in our society.
"The degree has helped me see how best to assist my students, to do what I'm doing better.
"However I have to add it's not just the study, it's also life experience that has benefited me. I learn a lot from my two sons as well as from my students and colleagues."
In his doctoral address Ted Egan said the best university student is a mother of three: she knows what she is doing, she will pay for the privilege and she is prepared to accept the additional workload.
Both Ms Permezel and Ms Gledhill continued to work full-time while they undertook their Master's study.
Ms Permezel also cared for her sons (aged 13 and 11), while Ms Gledhill was looking after her sick mother for the duration of her studies. Unfortunately her mother passed away before the graduation ceremony. Both took about five years to complete their courses, studying after work, on weekends and during their holidays.
They'll hardly know what has hit them as they take this winter break with nothing too demanding on the agenda.
SOLAR PLANS A TALL ORDER FOR BUSH MOB? Report by
WANTED: People living in remote Aboriginal communities with populations of 50 or less, who have sufficient skills and interest to monitor and maintain a solar energy system, who are willing to take part in education workshops, and are prepared to contribute financially to the upkeep of the system.
On most indications that is a job description which wouldn't find many takers in the bush across northern Australia.
Yet the Federal Government, together with ATSIC, has committed $24m to Bushlight, a program to put renewable energy plants into 200 isolated communities, currently relying on diesel generators, across WA, SA, NT and Queensland.
One-third of the budget announced by Aboriginal Affairs Minister Phillip Ruddock at the launch in Alice Springs recently, $8m, will go towards tasks including identifying suitable communities, and training participants.
The Alice Springs based Centre for Appropriate Technology (CAT) will play a key role in that process, "bringing light and life to the bush," as CAT's Project Implementation Document explains.
It says Bushlight has "a vision of promoting happy, confident Indigenous communities by being a Ôpractical tool' É developing a servicing network and creating capacity within communities to manage and maintain their renewable energy services É supporting Indigenous livelihoods".
CAT's project manager Steve Fisher says Bushlight is currently focusing on selecting communities and Ð in collaboration with the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy in Perth Ð setting standards for suitable hardware.
Mr Fisher says 950 communities are eligible but none has been selected so far.
There will be 19 staff, including liaison officers based in Alice Springs, Katherine, Cairns and Derby.
Their tasks will include explaining to users fundamental issues such as how many appliances can be plugged into a system.
WHY CUP FEVER HIT ALICE. COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.
In matters of sport, I am as obsessed by soccer as the next sad
soul, but in rare moments of quiet reflection, I do ask myself why.
Living thousands of kilometres from any serious professional competition, the question takes on real meaning. How can you come to live in the Alice and like soccer?
Come on, I think to myself, leave your culture behind. But then I noticed the World Cup fever in our town over the last month.
In Australia, soccer takes up wall-to-wall hours of peak air time on our highbrow TV channel plus more on the others. And it fascinates magazine writers and newspaper editors right across the country. Shopkeepers talk to their customers about it. People form allegiances that they never thought they had. In spite of this, Australia has no team anywhere near the heat of the tournament. The national players are probably on some beach somewhere.
Compare this with the United States. The only real evidence that the world's most popular sporting event is underway are bleary-eyed foreigners wearing colourful shirts staggering out of bars in the early hours. On news bulletins, soccer is relegated to the funny story at the end. Most adults are expected to have grown out of soccer before they are fourteen, a bit like model airplanes and hopscotch. The US has a team competing in the tournament, but they treat soccer like lacrosse.
In Alice Springs, we probably experience more enthusiasm for the World Cup Fever than similar-sized towns elsewhere in the country. At least one pub is packed to the rafters with sweaty and chanting fans watching games on the big screen.
And everywhere else people talk about the competition and look forward to the next twist in the story.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. And distance makes the passions stronger. What I mean is that people who have a connection to a foreign country and a culture will feel that place much more strongly in their hearts the further away they are.
So the Italian, English, Irish, Spanish, Japanese, Turkish and every other community which is in some way represented in the Alice, feels much further from, but more passionate about their roots than they would in a town which is not as spectacularly remote as our own.
It only takes a simple focus to light the fire of that passion. And soccer is that spark, turning apparently reasonable and earnest people into barking tribal maniacs. I cannot imagine any other sport having the same effect. Have you ever seen cycling or lawn bowls fans behaving this way?This strange amplified nationalism affects the most unlikely people. Take the diplomatic service, for example.
The British aristocracy, on expatriate imperial postings to African countries, learn the classic pub game of darts. They wouldn't play it at home because they wouldn't dream of mixing with anyone who plays it. The class system gets in the way, you see.
Australians who would never be seen dead doing certain Australian activities suddenly develop a deep commitment to them during diplomatic tours to Delhi or Beijing. They fervently follow an AFL team. Or they say "No worries" instead of putting commas in their sentences. In the Alice, we see the same phenomenon. The tribes awake and before you know it, soccer becomes the adult version of Pokemon.Of course, there is another reason that people watch the World Cup Ð they love the game. Take a trip down to Blatherskite Park on a Sunday morning and you will find hordes of people huddled into camp chairs, blankets wrapped around them, watching their youngest chasing a ball and occasionally kicking it.
The kids race around in swarms. The parents jump up and down and clap their hands, as much to keep warm as to encourage their offspring. The Central Australian Junior Soccer Association does a great job of promoting the best in teamwork and sporting competition.
Coming back from Blatherskite at lunchtime, you might notice the adults warming up for their own weekly competition at Ross Park. Men and women, driven by a love for the sound of their boots hitting polyethylene, meet every week for several hours. But surely these people should have grown out of soccer by now?
No chance of that. Which is good for the town but also scary. The world game of soccer is like the English language. Where English crushes minority languages, soccer can do the same to minority sports. So in a town where soccer is now the most popular football code for juniors, we had better care for the other sports.
LETTERS: Dr Ted is on the right track.
Sir,- Hail, Honorary Doctor of Letters, Ted Egan, firstly upon you being made an Honorary Doctor and, subsequently, the content of your acceptance speech (Alice News, June 19), remarks, in short, that encouraged non- Indigenous people to learn an Aboriginal language.
I also fully concur with your thoughts on the use of CDEP for educational purposes.
Proposing that non-Indigenous people sit down to learn language and aspects of Aboriginal culture from their Indigenous sisters and brothers is indeed a most refreshing call from such a prominent, respected community member as Dr Ted.
All too often we hear a familiar cry from politicians and Joe Public, in parrot fashion, taking the easy track of promoting punitive measures to overcome the "Indigenous problem".
What Dr Ted has put on the table is most positive and is directly aimed at bringing cultural wills closer together. When someone of Dr Ted's ilk publicly tables thoughts that involve Indigenous issues, it is time for many, many people to take those thoughts on board.
However, I hasten to add that it would be best for the deadening fingers of bureaucrats to be kept at arm's length from any such developments that may arise from Dr Ted's proposals. I witness enough of their efforts in education to know that the waters would get muddied. The proposals would have to be community driven.
Dr Ted's long association in various forms with Indigenous people in the NT has been deservedly recognised. Grazia, Dr Ted, on your ideas and may they come to fruition.
Also, dear editor, if I may while I have the floor, pulka (big) congratulations to your new columnist Steve Fisher with "Fish out of water".
His first effort was a beauty and a most welcome breath of fresh air after your just departed "My Town" gibberer.
Sir,- As tourists we have just completed a very enjoyable stay in Alice Springs, and apart from a minor scare from a young indigenous group, it has been a rewarding experience in a beautiful and historical part of Australia.The highlight for me however, was a visit to the Old Telegraph Station and meeting Alec Ross.I was one of three Australians in a group of American tourists. Professionally guided around the complex by Alec, and his roving and intelligent description of Aboriginal and white interaction through history and his lifetime, was an enlightening experience.The community has a valuable asset in Alec, and through him we gained a better understanding of cultural Alice Springs.
Bruce Weller, OAMNabiac, NSW
Sir,- We refer to a letter from David King-Jones, Adelaide published in the Alice News of June 12, which has been brought to our attention.It is important that some of the statements made are clarified and that others involved in the project are also acknowledged.Brendan J Meney Architects were invited by Woodhead International to put forward a joint submission to the Flinders University of South Australia who were the Project Managers for the new Centre for Remote Health.
The project was awarded to the team on the merits of joint representation to the selection panel.
Woodhead International subsequently carried out the pre-planning, health planning, partial interior design, contract documentation and the coordination of the engineering done by GHD and VIPAC during these phases.Brendan Meney was the design architect for the project, undertook site selection planning, consultation on sacred sites and was the supervising architect responsible for the construction phase of the project. Hence, utilising our local knowledge, we played a key role and were instrumental in the final building design outcome delivered to the client.
Acknowledgment needs also to be extended to the Arrernte traditional owners and the staff at the AAPA who worked closely with the clients and ourselves to achieve the integration of the sacred sites in a mutually rewarding way.Important contributions came from the contractor Probuild (NT), Kevin East as site Foreman and Phil Danby, along with the various subcontractors, Project Building Certifiers, Indigenous Landscapes, Todd Pavers, Pip McManus, Flinders University Buildings & Properties Department, predominantly the Project Manager Ms Olga Keith but also Mark Moses, the CRH board and its Chairman Prof Linden Wing and especially the CRH Director Dr John Wakerman and the many dedicated staff at the centre.
Other organisations involved with the CRH include the Northern Territory University, Menzies School of Health Research and the Co-operative Research Centre for Aboriginal and Tropical Health.This project has only been realised through the vision and concerted team effort of all involved.Our thanks and best wishes are extended to those organisations and individuals following the successful delivery of the Centre for Remote Health.Brendan MeneyAlice Springs
GOVERNMENT FUNDS FEASIBILITY STUDY OF 'NICHE' MEAT WORKS IN ALICE SPRINGS.
The NT Government will provide $35,000 for a study into the
feasibility of an abattoir in Central Australia, says Minister for
Primary Industries Paul Henderson.
"The money will allow the investigation of options for adding value to pastoral industry production in Central Australia and the broader NT through meat processing and marketing," Mr Henderson said.
The evaluation will be carried out in partnership with the NT Cattlemen's Association (NTCA) through their NT Cattlemen's Trading Pty Ltd (NTCT).
Mr Henderson says the Central Australian pastoral industry is worth $30 million annually, while the camel industry brings in $2.5 million to the Territory each year.
However, the only two abattoirs in the NT are not suitable for processing camels.
"There appears to be a lucrative market in both Europe and North America for specialty meats such as camel and buffalo, but surprisingly there is no abattoir in the NT with suitable accreditation for these markets," says Mr Henderson.
"These funds are designed to explore options that could subsequently become the basis of attracting commercial interest in a niche abattoir opportunity for Central Australia for beef and other products."
The proposed consultancy to evaluate meat processing and marketing options would investigate options for securing supply to niche markets.
"The outcome of the consultancy will be to advise whether a modern abattoir is viable, and where it would be most appropriately situated."
HOW WE COULD FIX 'THE PROBLEM'. COMMENT by TIM JENNINGS.
Having been a policeman in the Northern Territory for nearly 12
years and for the past 11 years working closely with Aboriginal people
in particular (as general manager of the Mbantua group of companies), I
feel qualified to put forward my basic thinking on social problems in
Naturally I am offering generalised thoughts as it is an impossibility to approach the problems on an individual basis and nothing will ever be achieved, as our streets presently reflect.
I think that there should be two distinct stages in approaching the problems.The first is to protect the law abiding good citizens of this town (plus visitors) by immediately cleaning up the streets.
Then, having done that, address the causes of the problems (individual concerns and approaches can be and should be an issue in this stage).
In the first stage, I firmly believe that race should not be taken into account. All offenders should be treated equally and made to account for their actions, rather than excusing them "because they don't know any better". This excuse should be addressed in the second stage. All but a marginal percentage of these offenders are intelligent. I personally know many of them and, believe me, they are as intelligent as any other member of the community.
In other circumstances of upbringing, many would be doctors, lawyers, managers, tradesmen and other prominent members of the community. I find that everyone greatly under-estimates their intelligence. Certainly this is a big part of a complex problem.
When offences occur, action must be taken. If someone commits an offence (in particular street offences) against the public, they should be charged with it and brought before the courts and dealt with.
If this were done on a regular basis by the police, then the town would be in much better shape because:
¥ the offenders would know that they wouldn't get away with their anti-social behaviour and in time much of it would disappear from our streets;
¥ in many instances they would be put in jail for various periods of time and therefore the community would be protected;
¥ in many other instances fines would result, which would, with many, turn into warrants, again keeping them out of trouble and making them think twice (and they do in many cases) about being anti-social, as well as putting them in a position whereby stage two programs could be implemented.
To do this we need co-operation from the police and courts.
I keep in contact with many members of the police force. The lower ranks say they have no support from the higher ranks, and the higher ranks say they do everything they can possibly do in approaching the problems.
Based on my independent observations of what is occurring now, I see that the higher ranking members believe that the problems are being addressed as best they can be "in the circumstances", meaning acceptance of the present social and political scene. That is, they are working with policies that are influenced by various political interests and welfare action groups.
The constables on the street because of perceived (true in some cases and false in others) non-support from their superiors do what is obvious to them, and leave it strictly at that.
I have witnessed on many occasions, and heard many stories from others (sometimes quite disturbing) where drunks are "running amok", the police are called, the drunks go quiet, the police drive steadily past and then away. And then of course the drunks start up again.
Some time ago I watched two drunks fighting outside the newsagency in the mall. Two young constables walking in their direction turned up Reg Harris lane. It was quite obvious they did this to avoid the skirmish.
This is a big problem that is kept concealed and not admitted. It occurs largely through lack of support. These constables should be given the public support to be able to be confidently more assertive when dealing with drunks and troublemakers.
Perhaps this support could take the form of recognition within the force for efforts made to keep our streets lawful. Perhaps some sort of accreditation towards promotion could be built into the system Ð certainly something to give serious thought to.
In the second stage, welfare and rehabilitation groups should have their say. Bear in mind that arresting and charging not only cleans up our streets but identifies individuals and their problems.
This is when issues of culture, education, background should come into play. Ideas and concepts from welfare groups should be taken into account and definitive policies drawn up.
For example, education in jails or elsewhere, should teach:
¥ basic hygiene;
¥ the dangers of drinking to excess;
¥ basic law (not just their rights as activists drill down their throats to their detriment in the long term);
¥ advantages of a healthy diet;
¥ advantages of exercise;
¥ how to think logically for the good of the community;
¥ cultural adaptability (how to live in towns);
¥ how to approach and become involved in various sporting bodies.Individual skills should be identified. Are they good at sport, a trade, music, expression, drama? Attempts should be made to bring those skills out in them, promoting their self worth at the same time.
The vocal "bleeding hearts" (people who are here for 10 minutes, stir up a scene, and go when their dream fails to become a reality) have been a major contributor to the social problems of this town. They have eradicated both community discipline and self-discipline, something that communities need in order to function in reasonable harmony.
I think the "poor bugger me" policy, which has been in progress over the past 10 years, hasn't worked mainly because the intelligence of these "social outcasts" has not been utilised.
Training people of all denominations is no different to training the pet Labrador. If you don't discipline, teach and encourage it to abide by the rules then it won't, no matter how intelligent it is. How can you expect people to be different?
There is no doubt in my mind that stage one as outlined above must be implemented much more stringently in the first place, and then the individual problems addressed secondly.
DINGOES ON THE RUN. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
The Dingo Runners have been lurking around the streets of Alice for
some years now.
At times they have cantered in the shadow of the Alice Springs Running and Walking Club activities. Under the umbrella of Anzac hill High School or Alice Springs High they have lined up in inter-school championships, and as with the dingo's habit, often they have padded the tracks around town in small packs or even alone.
The Dingo Runners are school children from the Alice who find enjoyment in regularly pounding the pavements in the pursuit of fitness.
They have been staunchly encouraged by Loie Sharp over the years to develop their potential as fit competitors in whatever sport they pursue.
By building up the cardio-respiratory system the trained runner presents in sport at a distinct advantage over the athlete relying purely on natural talent.
In terms of local success Donna Lee Patrick who is now playing for Australia in Women's Hockey, developed in her teenage years a sound fitness base under coach Daryl Brierly. When entering the elite level of her sport, she presented with a high range of specific skills and a body that was fit enough to handle the rigours of top line competition.Running the playing fields of Alice Springs today are a myriad of potential Cathy Freemans or Steve Monaghettis who could rise to the top by applying themselves to opportunities in their teenage years.
With the four-week break from school books and chalk dust, local teenagers have the chance in the next month to further their learning in areas well beyond the classroom. The Dingo Running program is one such opportunity.
Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday of the holiday break, youngsters in town, regardless of skill level, are welcome to join the Dingo Runners. Activities begin from Anzac Oval at 9am on each occasion. Organisers are wary of the high impact dangers associated with training and so have devised a program that will minimise the effects of over-training.
After an initial time trial, the Dingoes will undertake hill work at Anzac Hill; sand training in the Todd; speed work on the Oval; and time trials on the YMCA road loop.
However the training will not be all slog, with fitness games built into the program to break up the sessions into enjoyable activities.Dingoes specifically benefiting from the program will be our NT Cross Country squad members. This year there has been a revival in cross country running in The Centre.
A decade ago the infamous "Catweasle" and Chris Wellington had cross country athletics on a high in town with literally hundreds of families, friends and neighbours turning out to the Telegraph Station to compete.
These days the Wellington influence is Top End based, but at the recent regional Cross Country Championships a new interest was generated in the sport.Heading the enthusiasts are the Schmidt family. Mum, Chris, runs with the Alice Springs Running and Walking Club and it seems each of her offspring are already in the running groove.
Emmalynne, Annrielle and Johnathon have each qualified in their age groups to represent the Territory in the National Championships in August in Sydney.
Kenny Parsons, who has tried a range of sports including boxing will be there; as will Sam Page, Jack Brown, Josh Burgoyne and Chris Bird.
These athletes are only a few of the huge band, from all schools, who made the Desert Storm Cross Country a success last month.
Showing they have what is needed in endurance running are Rainer Chlanda, Ben Fisher, Jordan Winstanley, Abby Lauritsen and Tom Scollay.Meanwhile, the intergenerational Alice Springs Triathlon Club is also making waves around town.
Although still in the hibernation season, on Sunday the Club will hold its AGM at the Telegraph Station from 3pm.
This year already several new comers to town have put their hand up, declaring themselves to be true believers in the multi-disciplined pain process.
Peter and Colleen Gwynn will strengthen the top level of the club's competition.
And in the Senior Women's division the flying tooth extractor B.A. Kerslake is likely to get some real professional advice from the newly arrived good doctor Kylie Lucas, as they mount a campaign on the seasoned performer Loie Sharp.
Tavis Johannsen and Tim Pearson have paved the way for Alice Triathletes by completing the National Iron Man event, and with the Manchester Commonwealth Games Triathlon promising to be a great promotion for the sport, the coming year looks like being a real corker.
THUNDER GOES DOWN TO CENTRE'S SIDE. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
The Central Australian Football League on the weekend played host to
the Northern Territory Thunder, "our" Under 18 representative side in
The local side ran out winners, 9.10 (64) to the Thunder's 7.11 (53), but underlying the game there were more pertinent messages for both combatants.
In the first term Sherman Spencer, a Country League star, set the CAFL on fire with two goals.
As expected Graeme Smith was the steady force who commanded play from the knockout, and ultimately allowed Spencer the chance to receive and capitalise.
In opposition Matthew Stokes from the Darwin Magpies proved his worth with a countering goal. By the break the CAFL held a slender 2.4 to 1.3 lead.
The tight encounter continued in the second term with Simon Munkara from the Tiwi Islands scoring to level the card early and while Spencer flashed in with a reply for the Centralians, Shannon Masters and then Tom Logan replied for the Thunder.
At the major break the Thunder rested 4.6 to 3.6, but the Centralian camp were faced with a further problem in that trump card Smith was sidelined with a leg injury.
As with life, adversity can create opportunity, and coach Roy Arbon wasted no time in switching Trevor Dhu out of the goal square and into a creative role in the engine room.
This move proved to be a winner, as Dhu's experience in backline play and ability to aggressively enter packs gave the Centralians a real firing line.
By three quarter time the score was locked up at 7.8 (50 ) to each side. Spencer was responsible for three of the locals' goals in the quarter while Laughlan Ross jagged the fourth.
In the Thunder response, it was Raphael Clarke and Ryan Mallard who contributed with goals.
The run home was expected to be in the favour of young legs, but it was the physical strength of the CAFL that left the Thunder wanting. Craig Turner scored a pearler early in the term and minutes later Spencer slipped in to score his seventh for the day to have the fat lady moisten her vocal chords.The Thunder had plenty of chances to respond, but missed often and on occasions put the ball out on the full. Maybe the pressure affected their play!The CAFL triumphed.
Best for the Centralians were Spencer, Berrington, Dhu and Turner. For the Thunder, Stokes, Jarrad Breenan, Clarke and Mukara put in.
For the CAFL fans at the game it was no doubt an eye opener to see the Thunder machine in action. Some 120 bags were unloaded from the plane on their arrival, and the size of their entourage was somewhat a shock to the system.
Maybe it was a case of the big time versus the bush in the year 2002! One couldn't help, however, be further reminded of how much AFL has seemingly dissociated itself from its grass roots support.
While the CAFL recorded the win and will continue their season this week, the Thunder move on to southern climes. The hit out with the Centralians will bolster their confidence, especially when facing a more physical foe.
This week Central Australian football returns to the minor round series with two games scheduled. West will take on Rovers. This promises to be a close game.
Rovers received a real confidence booster a fortnight ago when they outran the Federal side to win by 131 points. It was Rovers' biggest win for years and revealed the true strength of the emerging club.
John Glasson has been able to attract a host of top Country footballers to the Blues camp and the trump card at the last game was the appearance of Clinton Ngalkin. He fitted like a glove in to the Rover game plan with Sherman Spencer, Oliver Wheeler, Leo Jarrah and Max Fejo all capitalising on Njalkin's drive.
On the other hand West have not touched a game ball since round six. This spell from the action may well bring the front runners back to the field.
But West have Berrington in mid field who is capable of controlling a game. Michael Gurney has really come of age this season, and with Curtis Haines, Henry Labastida and Karl Gunderson in crackerjack form, the Bloods cannot be discounted.
Federal run up against Pioneer in a game they will find difficult.
The Eagles are going to run on knowing that the season is past the winter solstice and warm days are on the way. Graeme Smith is still the premium operator in town. He has the unassuming but highly effective Aaron Kopp on his shoulder, and the talent of the Taylors and McCormacks to run amok on the ground.
With this fleet giving the Eagles a kick-start, Pioneers have a host of players capable of contributing at a very high level. Interestingly, Ezra Bray could even run on as an Eagle on Sunday, while presumably still being a listed Carlton player.
In the Federal camp, Michael Graham has done well since taking over the reins, but, as he knows, the road is long.
The Demons have not registered a win to date, and when they had the chance against South they could not find the way home. On Sunday they will need to be at their best and at full strength, with a Daniel Palmer back on board and firing, to hope for premiership points.
COLLECTING MORE THAN ART WORKS. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
The Alice Springs Collection, housed at the Araluen Centre, has been
boosted by the purchase of seven new works from local artists.
Curator Tim Rollason, in the job since the end of April, had to spend a $10,000 acquisitions grant from the Australia Council as one of his first tasks.
The collection is strongest in its representation of Indigenous art, and is added to each year by purchases from Desert Mob, which are paid for by commissions on the sales of work from this show to the public.
Recent purchases include Bindi artist Billy Benn's Mount Gillen other side and Parwalla by Balgo's Elizabeth Nyumi.They were both acquired from Desert Mob last year and can be seen in the current collection show, Outback Central.
Araluen decided to use the Australia Council grant to broaden the representation of non-Indigenous artists working in The Centre.
Mr Rollason's acquisitions include the ceramic installation Valentine by Pip McManus, shown last year at Watch This Space, and a photograph of desert oaks by Mike Gillam, both of which are also hanging in Outback Central.
McManus has a ceramic plate in Territory Craft's collection (Pandanus nuts is on display in Outback Central), but this is the first purchase by a local public collection of work by the widely respected Gillam.
Other purchases, yet to go on show, will introduce lesser known local artists to the public. These include a large oil diptych of Kata Tjuta (the Olgas, photo this page) by Suzanne Lollback, perhaps better known as the director of community and cultural development at the Alice Springs Town Council. She has been showing work in group exhibitions for the past few years and is now booked to have a solo show at Araluen next year.
Kate Podger's portrait of painter Narputta Nangala is an example of work by an artist who has also worked as a coordinator for an important Aboriginal art centre, Ikuntji (Haasts Bluff).
Other works fall into the same category: a pair of portraits by Cait Wait, the original coordinator at Keringke Arts (Santa Teresa); and Big Country by Marina Strocchi, original coordinator at Ikuntji.Wait is booked for a solo show next year, while Strocchi has just had a solo show.
The collection is already strong in works from Ikuntji and Keringke. Having work by the coordinators, apart from its own artistic worth, amplifies the collection's record of the development of contemporary Indigenous art.
This is what curating a collection is all about, says Mr Rollason.
"It's putting in place and preserving our visual cultural heritage, for now and into the future."It's finding out who are the people contributing and how do we keep a record of that contribution.
"That includes not only caring for and acquiring works but researching relevant information about the artist and their work and making all of that available to the viewing public."
Mr Rollason has started producing extended captions, informative and easy to read, to hang alongside works on display, giving priority to works currently showing.It's a big job: the collection comprises over 660 works, including 18 extremely valuable early boards from Papunya. Five of these are hanging in Outback Central, including the wonderful Gulgardi (1971) by Kaapa Tjampitjinpa.
There are plans to dedicate an area within Araluen to the display of the early Papunya work as well as to undertake research with the artists' families about what they represent.
Meanwhile, Mr Rollason is opening up the Araluen storerooms to visitors with a special interest, such as students, collectors, researchers.
For while the Namatjira Gallery is the only one in Australia dedicated to thecelebrated Western Arrernte artist and is a major drawcard for visitors, access to Araluen's other treasures at any one time is limited.
The next "unveiling" for the general public will follow this year's Desert Mob and will focus on textiles, drawing as well on Territory Craft's collection and possibly those of Aboriginal art centres.
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Springs News Webpage.