500 BLOCKS AT WHITE GUMS? Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.
A member of a local pioneering family is planning a subdivision the size of a small town in the south western corner of the Alice Springs municipality.
Pat Brown, whose father, Jim, took up White Gums as a dairy farm in 1947, wants to create nearly 500 blocks on the land.
The blocks would be mostly 4000 square metres, and built in two main valleys of the area.
Mr Brown says less than half of the land – 340 of nearly 800 hectares – will be built on, leaving the remainder, include the hills and the lower southern slopes of the MacDonnell Ranges for communal enjoyment such as bush walking and other outdoor pursuits.
He says this is a better use of the land than subdividing it into larger blocks, which sometimes tempt the owners to use them for commercial purposes and storage of unsightly industrial materials.
However, Mr Brown will have to apply for rezoning of the land in an area where at present, 400,000 square metres (40 hectares) is the permitted minimum lot size.
The NT Government has made it clear, when it rejected an unpopular application by developer Denis Hornsby, that rezoning decisions are guided by the wishes of the people in the area.
Mr Brown says several adjoining properties are owned by members of his family, including his father, now aged 78.
Mr Brown is planning an eco-tourism park type of development on the land, which will include a convenience store and other social amenities.
The development will require a water main from either the Ilparpa rural subdivision, or through Honeymoon Gap, from the Hermannsburg Road.
Residents near White Gums are still using bore water, in 1985 objecting to a water main to prevent a large scale subdivision in their vicinity.
However, about three years ago local residents were asking for a pipeline, says Mr Brown."So this will be to their advantage," he says.
Mr Brown says bio-degradable tanks are planned for each block. These will allow the recycling of all water for non-drinking use, allowing no waste water to leave the area.
Dwellings would be required to have rainwater tanks.
Mr Brown says the real estate industry is encouraging the project, likely to be staged over 10 years.
MAJORITY IGNORED IN LIQUOR DECISION. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
Liquor restrictions in Alice Springs have been weakened although a majority of residents wanted to keep them or have them strengthened.
Last week's decision by the Licensing Commission leaves the way open for the return of cheap wine in large casks. Hours of sale for take-away liquor remain restricted as they were in the trial. Likewise, "on premises" sales of liquor other than light beer before 11.30am remain restricted.
However, no concrete measure has been put in place to deal with the massive switch to fortified wine, especially port, that occurred during the trial.
A survey of households towards the end of the trial revealed that 24 per cent of respondents wanted to keep the restrictions as they were, while 30 per cent wanted to see them strengthened, amounting to 54 per cent in support.
A survey of town camp residents saw 22 per cent wanting to keep the restrictions as they were and 45.1 per cent wanting them strengthened: 67.1 per cent in support.
To be fair to the commission, the household survey showed a drop in support for the cask size restriction from 48.5 per cent to 43.3 per cent, and an increase in opposition from 37.6 per cent to 48 per cent.
The town camp survey, on the other hand, showed an increase in support for the restriction, from 48 per cent to 51 per cent.
Licensing Commissioner Peter Allen says that the commission saw the majority support for restrictions as "just over the line" and did not feel it amounted to a mandate to introduce any new measures that had not been put before the public.
He says the only measure before the commission that had a significant degree of support was the proposed pricing mechanism, as outlined by Congress, which would make bulk wine as expensive as beer to drink.
This measure also had the support of Tangentyere Council, the Central Land Council, ATSIC and SMAG.
SMAG accounts for quite broad-based support, comprising some 15 government and non-government associations and agencies, including DASA, Holyoake, CAAAPU, Territory Health's CAAODS, and representatives of the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing and the NT Department of Education.
Says Mr Allen in his decision: "The ERG [Evaluation Reference Group] Report lists a number of grounds put forward by other members for not supporting the Congress proposal. These grounds include:
• Implications for fair trading and legal challenges that might ensue;
• The practicalities of implementing any such scheme, given the indeterminate nature of what the final list of affected products might be ;
• The further inconvenience imposed on the larger population and the fuel this might add to community tensions as community members may see themselves as being "punished" due to the behaviour of groups within the community;
• The lack of evidence that the price elasticity of the proposal has been appropriately formulated.
"The Commission regards such concerns as reasonable in the current circumstances and will not move to implement the proposal recommended by Congress."
Supporters of price control say its effectiveness has been demonstrated in international studies.
Mr Allen says it is "easy to refer to studies but let them be tabled and let their relevance to the Territory be demonstrated".
Associate Professor Dennis Gray, who has followed closely the progress of the trial and prepared a critique of its evaluation for Congress and Tangentyere Council, says the commission seems to have taken "a narrow view" of the evidence they have considered.
Says Prof Gray: "The commission [states] ‘Congress argues people drinking in order to get drunk will select their product of choice on the basis of price rather than taste' and says there is no evidence before the commission that supports this assertion. If this is the case, the commission has taken a rather narrow view of the evidence considered in reaching its decision.
"A major study conducted for the World Health Organisation that reviewed the evidence from a number of countries identified price as a key determinant of consumption and found significant price elasticities between beverage types—meaning that people do switch on the basis of price. "Work my colleagues and I have done showed that the NT's old wine cask levy led to a significant reduction in consumption in the NT. One would have thought that the commissioners would have been aware of this and would have taken cognisance of it.
"One would not necessarily have expected the commission to adopt the Congress proposal. However—given the continuing high levels of consumption and related harm—in terms of its responsibilities under the Liquor Act, one would have expected the commission to attempt to address the problem."
Before the commission was also the recommendation of the trial's evaluators, Ian Crundall and Chris Moon, which was to extend the trial by three months and add to it a ban on port in two litre casks matched by an education campaign to combat further product-switching.
Mr Allen says this was "valid" but the commission "did not want to go there".
"This is a sensitive issue for Alice Springs.
"If we had banned port, where to next?"
Mr Allen has always made much of the commission's obligation to respond to "the needs and wishes of the community".
In his decision he says the commission "cannot assume silence is consent or community support simply prevails over time and without question".
The comment on "silence" is strange, given the existence of community surveys and detailed reports by the ERG, the evaluators and Prof Gray, as well as a number of other submissions and Mr Allen's own interviews, all listed in the decision.
Majority community support brought in the trial but has clearly not been enough to maintain it.
ALICE SPRINGS NEWS EDITORIAL OFFICE GUTTED BY FIRE.
A fire on Saturday night gutted the home, on a rural block in Petrick Road, of the editor and chief reporter of the Alice Springs News, Erwin Chlanda and Kieran Finnane.
The News was started in this room almost 10 years ago, and the room was still being used for editorial work, while the paper's commercial operation had moved to an office in Gregory Terrace.
No-one was injured in the blaze: The residents, including their son, Rainer, were trekking on the Larapinta Trail when the fire occurred. Their daughter, Jacqueline, was interstate.
Neither police nor fire brigade officers were able to determine the cause of the blaze, nor where it had started. No evidence of foul play was found.
Neighbours heard several small explosions but at first attributed them to late cracker night activities.
When a large explosion prompted them to investigate, the fire had probably been burning for an extended period, and practically nothing could be saved.
Files of the News were not affected because they are stored on CDs in a bank vault.
But apart from the family's personal treasures Ms Finnane lost an extensive collection of local art, and Mr Chlanda, archival TV tapes shot over some 30 years.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: ACCESSIBLE TOUR FIRM. Report by DOROTHY GRIMM.
"A new era of travel and tourism in Central Australia is about to begin," says Michele Castagna from the Disability Services and Liaison Office in Alice Springs.
"People with disabilities will now be able to hire a vehicle and tour the NT.
"Adventure holidays for people with disabilities is now a possibility."Michele's remarks follow the announcement that Wheelabout, specialising in providing rental vehicles modified to accommodate wheelchair passengers and drivers, has brought a vehicle to the NT.
Wheelabout's co-director Scott Stevens said the family-owned business was a result of personal experience as he and his brother, Craig, also a company co-director, like to travel together but had found hiring a vehicle which could accommodate Craig's wheelchair extremely difficult."We found there was a need in the tourism industry to provide a hire-car service for people with disabilities," Scott said, "so we have been developing a fleet of vehicles to service people throughout Australia.
"We have vehicles in Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland and now the Northern Territory.
"And we are in the process of building the first wheelchair accessible campervan to provide even more opportunities for people with disabilities to have an adventure holiday in Australia."
Scott said that the company's hire arrangements try to be as flexible as possible to meet the interests and needs of the people.
"People can hire a vehicle for round trips, one way, and for short periods of time or longer ones," Scott said.
"People just have to call our 1300 number (1300 301 903) and we can provide options which will suit their needs and budget."
Michele, along with Janine Stewart from the Disability Advocacy Service in Alice Springs, were delighted about the arrival of Wheelabout in the Northern Territory.
"We get lots of calls from all around Australia about the availability of a hirecar that can accommodate wheelchairs," Michele said."And now we can give them Wheelabout's number," Janine added.Scott said that even though the service does not officially start until August 3, it is not too early to start making inquiries and bookings.
The fleet includes vehicles suitable for individuals and groups and may be equipped with hand controls upon request.
To find out more check the company's internet web site
AMBITIONS AS BIG AS THEIR COUNTRY. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
For Joanne Saint, aged 19, a good weekend is seeing her boyfriend and spending an evening with her friends in town, and she doesn't mind travelling 2000 kilometres to do it.For her sister Sally, 16 years, a good weekend is going home. She takes a bus from Alice after school on Friday, it gets into the Wauchope Pub at around 8pm, where one of the family will pick her up. It's another hour's drive from there to home.
To get back to school on Monday, she must leave home at 3am to meet the bus at 4am.
"It's tiring, but it's worth it," says Sally.
The girls are the youngest of the four children of Peter and Brenda Saint who own and run Kurundi Station, some 270 kilometres north-east of Alice.
In some respects, their childhoods were similar to those of many children in family-owned enterprises but on Outback cattle stations, everything is on a grand scale. From a young age they were expected to work on the station and to acquire the necessary skills to do so. They liked it – they'd choose working with their father, mending fences, mustering, checking bores over going to Tennant Creek with their mother to pick up stores. They were proud of what they could do, but it also set them apart.
Like most station children they did their primary schooling through School of the Air. They'd come to Alice three times a year for "in-school" with other station kids. If they did get to meet town kids, it was often hard to relate to them.
Says Sally, "They'd never believe the things we'd do, like driving a car when you were seven. Even our teachers had trouble believing us."She remembers a teacher visiting her on "patrol" when she was 11.
"I have to check a bore," she told him. "Do you want to come?"
He climbed into the passenger seat of her old Toyota, put on his seatbelt – unheard of – and was hanging on to the hand grip for dear life!
When Sally was in Year Four, her sisters and brother were all boarding at St Philip's. Times were tough on the station and the family had to make do with no staff – day in, day out, it was just Peter, Brenda and Sally. Sally pretty well taught herself in the school room. Come mustering time, she spent a month in the stockcamp and then had to catch up on that month's school work in a week.
With this kind of experience behind her – "being treated as a staff member and having a lot of responsibility" – in Year Eight Sally followed her siblings to St Philip's. Suddenly, she was just one of a community of 600, and a junior at that. It took a lot of adjusting to, as did life in the boarding house.
She has found the best way to survive is to keep busy, so "you don't have time to think too much and miss home".
Now in Year 11, her thoughts are turned to the future. She is likely to spend a year at Kurundi when she leaves school; she'd feel guilty if she didn't.
"I'm definitely attached to Kurundi but I'm afraid of being trapped there, of having it the only place I know. If I don't put something into Kurundi, why should I get something out of it? But there are a lot of other places and things I want to experience.
"I've been through a fair few things, but most of them have made me stronger."
These include a bout of depression, which set in after glandular fever and then being involved in a bushfire that devastated most of Kurundi. Of the station's 4000 square kilometres, only 200 were untouched. Worse though was that a staff member, who had worked for the family for eight years, was badly burnt. Sally, Joanne and a young woman member of staff had to deliver first aid as best they could.
These experiences have left their mark on Sally, although she still has a ready smile and likes to make a joke.
Life seems to sit more lightly on Joanne's shoulders. She accepts the discipline and hard work of station life and tries to fit in as much as she can outside of it.
She loves to talk and laugh and has a good memory for names and faces, which makes her popular in the station-run store that draws most of its customers from the surrounding Aboriginal communities.
The telephone, she says, is "the world's best invention" and she gives it a good workout, keeping in touch with her boyfriend, who also works on a station, and with friends in Alice.
She's not thinking too far ahead about her future. She knows she'd like to try something different in the outside world but she's not too sure what: "It's a work in progress," she laughs.
She has a gift for remembering the good things. School of the Air was "fantastic". What was it that she liked so much? "I loved going to Tasmania in Year Six, to Cairns in Year Seven and hiking on the Larapinta Trail in Year Eight."
She had "loads of fun" at St Philip's. Sure, it was hard at first but once she got used to it, she loved it and did very well in her studies.
She loves station life, loves the work, it gets lonely, but then "I just make the most of my trips to town".
The Saints took up the lease at Kurundi in 1980, as life in the Outback began to open up, with ever-improving communications and technology. There's another generation of work for the station to reach its full potential. Peter and Brenda hope that their children will take up the challenge and they will be there "to fill in the gaps".
The backhoe of beyond. COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.
I saw a purple backhoe. It was in the street of an Outback town. It was supposed to be working, but the construction team was on a smoko and it was resting.
The arm of the machine was arched up like someone about to dive into a lucky dip barrel.
In common with many of the best experiences in life, this happened to me while I was riding on a bus. Reading my magazine, looking at the words but with nothing registering, I just happened to glance up. There it was; a beautiful mauve backhoe. In two seconds, we had passed. Although I craned my neck, we turned the corner and the backhoe disappeared out of sight. As a bus passenger, you never get the chance to go back, which is part of the mystique of public transport.
When I first heard the word "backhoe", it confused me. I thought it was one of those abbreviated Australian words like salvo, doco, arvo or even smoko. These are easy to fathom out. You just take off the ‘o' and then guess the word ending. It's like one of those pre-school word games.
But I struggled with this one. Backhoe was spoken as part of a sentence in reply to my telling someone that I wanted to remove six inches of concrete from my front yard. Their advice was, "You need a backhoe". So I tried to work out what it meant.
I need a something beginning with "back", I thought, and finishing with an ending that nobody can be bothered to say so they insert the letter "o" instead. Maybe I need a back support because of the weight of the concrete? Or a background check on the local geology? Perhaps a back-up from someone with a mechanical digger.
I know what you're thinking. It would have been easier to simply ask them what they meant by backhoe. But I am supposed to know this stuff. The problem is that backhoes are not called backhoes where I come from.
They're called JCBs or some other proprietary name. Not knowing what a backhoe is would be uncool. A bit like sitting in a café and asking what a cappuccino is, if you get my meaning. I know people who have committed this kind of social gaffe and never ever recovered from the shame.
• • •
Anyway, in the end the penny dropped and my interest in plant and machinery reached a new high.
I reckon the backhoe should be treated as an alternative Outback icon, like corrugated iron or saggy shade cloth. There should be a class for backhoes in the Finke Desert Race.
Tourist operators should offer breakfast backhoe rides along the Todd. Like curtain material, backhoes should be available in a full range of colours and patterns.
I really liked that purple one. In fact, in that merest of glimpses, we fell in love, if indeed true love is possible between a bald man and a mechanical device. Should a Chinese manufacturer of replica miniature heavy machinery make one of these and sell it in Toyworld, I would buy one. In fact, I was so excited at the prospect that I searched for a replica backhoe on the Internet.
Sure enough, hiding among the training courses held in far corners of WA on how to use front end loaders as a crane and the technical specifications for compact tractors, I found a toy backhoe.
Not only that, but there was a button to click if you wanted to order it for Fathers Day.
What kind of sad loser wakes up on Fathers Day and hopes that their children have bought them a Tonka Toy, I wondered? Now there's a question.
Dave's gone fishing, Ann's left pondering. COLUMN by ANN CLOKE.
In May 2002 I wrote a column, "David Heading Off Into the Sunset", to celebrate David's retirement as a partner with Deloitte's.
After working for 40 plus years across three continents, England, Africa and Australia, he was gearing up/winding down for the next phase. Mid-year we headed off to Europe.
At Skiathos, one of the smaller Greek Islands, possibly on a Wednesday, David noted, as we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, and with the prospect of semi-retirement looming, that, "Life is like a boiled egg – you don't know what you're going to get until you've cracked it". Quite profound, I thought, and certainly true of some of the boiled eggs we experienced in Europe!
Anyway, we arrived back into the Alice after our two month sojourn and David was reinstated as a partner for a further 12 months to oversee a "special project"… So, there wasn't much time to consider what new challenges to tackle… how busy life could be after work.
Lately I'm experiencing shades of déją vu. David has started to use that "R" word again – I suppose we'll have to host another series of farewell parties?A week or so ago he headed north with John, "time out" from the Alice (and me!), a retreat, a spot of fishing – he's never actually practised the art of angling before! A chance to enjoy warmer climes, reading (Age Doesn't Matter Unless You're a Cheese and other thrillers…), bush walking, counting jabirus, thinking, chatting over sundowners with Russell, John and others, some of whom have retired, soul searching and male bonding up at Channel Point.
Many friends have slipped into semi-retirement mode quite easily: Ron and Ina on the coast, busier than ever, scuba diving, running Rapid Bay Retreat holiday houses and delighting in their return to the hospitality industry; Andy, who contrary to public opinion will probably not re-run as Mayor, is enjoying working on his golf handicap; Kingy and Terry embracing new directions at Panorama Guth; Ian, working with his horses, training next year's Carnival Cup winner.
My Mum and Dad (sorry, Norm, our folks) are heading over from New Zealand, joining us for a month, on Friday. They semi-retired ages ago and are fortunate to enjoy good health: they travel quite a lot and have called Alice their second home for over 20 years. There are so many steps to semi-retirement, aren't there?
While David has been sitting on a boat floating around, I've spent time with dear friends, Lori, Kate, Julie, Franca, Liz, Sarah, Anne, Stephanie and others, dining at favourite places, revelling in "being" in Alice, our brilliant winter weather, gardening, wandering around the markets, writing, reading, and pondering, selfishly of course, how David's yet to be truly formulated semi-retirement plan is going to impact on my life…It could be an opportune time to try to write a Beginner's Guide on How To Retire Gracefully.
Most books address the financial issues, stretching out those dollars, or the health aspect, keeping mind and body active.
It's difficult to find a book which deals with the emotional side of retirement – coping with stepping "out" of the work-force, taking a back seat for a change.
There are plenty of opportunities to keep the grey matter moving, to take on the odd business consultancy or accept a directorship or two, and any number of organizations around town are looking for volunteers.
There are also great games of tennis and golf to be played, sections of the Larapinta Trail to walk, gardening to be done, grandchildren to visit, exotic cooking courses to undertake, novels to be read and countries to explore, including a lot more of Oz. There is much to be considered and decisions to be made: there'll be some adapting to be done whatever else happens … after the fishing trip.
40 YEARS OF THE GREATEST GAME OF ALL (Part 1). Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
2003 marks 40 years of Rugby League being played in Alice Springs. In a two part series a brief history of the game and some of its characters are recalled.
1963 - 1983
While Cricket and Australian Rules history in the Centre dates back to the Second World War when the town experienced a mammoth influx of young military men keen on their sport, Rugby League waited until 1963 for its introduction to desert dwellers.
A meeting was called on March 27 1963 to discuss the prospect of a winter competition of "the greatest game of all". The meeting resulted in the formation of the Rugby League, with Wes Rose as Patron.
The inaugural games, between West and United, were played on Traeger Park, in itself a sporting venue still in its infancy. With the whistle was former Sydneysider Bob Hill, and it was West who established the upper hand in that formative year.In the first official match after a "pre season" West took the honours "six goals to four".
Ivan Hursy scored two tries for the Dragons, one as a result of a 75 yard dash through the United defence. For United five eighth Graham Gilbert proved to be the Magpies' try scorer.
On the following weekend a third side entered the competition under the name of the Buffs. Up against Wests the Buffs struggled, but showed promise, going down 27-9.
In this game Wests had Charlie Burton, Jim Smith and Brendan Heenan scoring tries and Paul McKenna converting.
Come grand final day West and United faced each other, having won three games a piece during the minor round. United, however, were touted to win the game. This wasn't to be, with West prevailing in a tight 5-0 victory.
Jimmy Smith won the best and fairest award and a youthful Mike Keegan accepted the Moore Shield, on behalf of the premier side.The name Keegan, in fact, became entrenched in Central Australian Rugby League history, as he remained a corner stone supporter of the code as a player, administrator and sponsor. In 1967, the Swan Medal (instigated by the Stuart Arms Hotel which was a Swan Brewing Co. hotel) was introduced as an award for the best and fairest player in the competition. With the demise of Swan, their agent in town, Mike Keegan, ensured the continuance of the award, but with one major variation. The newly named Keegan Medal was to be awarded to the Best Player in the competition.
Otherwise, Rugby League prospered from that inaugural year. The legendary full back Bernie Kepars, Remo Raymond and Terry Trigg from the incoming RSL club, along with Bob Johnston were stars of the era.
It was in 1966 that Rugby League transferred from Traeger Park to Anzac Oval, with a two game a week competition.
Interestingly money also played a part in Rugby League in the ‘sixties, as in Darwin a group of businessmen rallied to underwrite the first paid coach in NTFL history. In 1967 Phil De La Cruz was appointed coach of the Waratahs-Wallabies for the princely wage of $500.
At that time in Alice Springs admission charges had also been introduced. In 1966 a gate charge of 20 cents was introduced, with juniors up for five cents and those under 14 admitted free. To take a car into the ground attracted a charge of 10 cents.The late ‘sixties saw the arrival of Brian Cairns. On field the diminutive Cairns ruled supreme in his role as referee.Others on the panel in this era were Bill Gough, Bob Murphy and the inimitable Joe Butler. Cairns however contributed to Rugby League development further by taking on the role of secretary to Norm Scotney and in the ‘seventies rose to the president's position, a key role in terms of the game's development.
On field the game was volatile, with characters like Henry and Russell Bray showing their football versatility by playing Aussie Rules and League of a weekend in a style of their own.
Off field the administration of the game also presented challenges and it was Cairns' autocratic approach which ensured a "steady ship' at Anzac Oval.These of course were days before TV, or even commercial radio, were accessible in Alice, and while the local paper promoted sport, Rugby League probably received its most effective publicity from one "Coord" Keith.The town revelled in "late nights" which were late licences shared between the town's hotels on particular nights of the week. When what seemed to be the whole town gathered at the Stuart Arms, after work on Friday, or at the late night, it was the continuous cry of "Up the Transport " from Keith, which generally attracted more attention than any paid entertainment, and encouraged punters to patronise the League.
The early ‘seventies saw four sides take to the paddock, RSL, West, United and Transport.
In the United camp a policeman, John Lincoln from Wave Hill, took the reins as coach. The big man had played top football in NSW, starting at West Wyalong as a junior. In 1966 he moved to Darwin and represented the NTRL in the second row against a touring English side. When Lincoln established himself in Alice, the game took on a new complexion. Interestingly in his United side of 1971 he had players of the quality of a young Eddie Taylor, from Brothers in Darwin; Lofty Moffatt, the towering speedster; Lester Eldridge, a blonde bombshell; John Goodwin; Garry Warner; a young Steve Trick; and 1970 Sportsman of the Year, Charlie Mahony.
After four premierships going the way of Transport from 1969 until 1972, it was United who won flags in 1973 and 1974, then in 1976 and 1977.
In October 1972 Alice Springs Rugby League lifted to a new level when the locals entertained the Paramatta Rugby League side at Traeger Park and then at the infamous Jet Bar in Ly Underdown's Hotel Alice Springs.
The Paramatta side was greeted by the whole town and with a large percentage of the Alice population then being ex-South Australians, it was for many their first experience of the game at top level. Paramatta were hot, boasting five internationals in their line up. Bob O'Reilly, Ron Lynch, Ian Walsh, Ken and Dick Thornet ran on in the blue and gold strip, and truly tested the boys from the bush.The promotional tour was a great success and bolstered the ranks of players in the local competition.Back in 1969 Alice Springs had claimed its first interstate victory when they downed Mt Isa 23-12, with a memorable 50 yard run by a young George Hatzimihail to score, and Peter Losberg, Norm Scotney, Tom Astle and Bobby Tydd starring.Then, in 1975 Anzac Oval hosted the first inter-town carnival in the Territory. Competing sides came from Darwin, Gove, Katherine, Tennant Creek, and Alice Springs.
While Darwin had a dominating line-up headed by Frank Ahmatt, the carnival gave Alice Springs a further surge. After years of stalwarts like the Spears, Mavins, Keegans and Ushers barracking their respective club sides to victory, this weekend of representative football brought all supporters of the game in Alice together.
Away from Anzac Oval yet another cornerstone of Rugby League was developed in the early 1970s – the Wests Sporting Club. During 1971 Stan Anderson won the contract of $45,245 to construct what was to become Westies' home.
Significantly, Mike Keegan was President of Wests during this innovative time and Brian Cairns, the negotiator. Cairns, in fact, arranged support for the project through the South Sydney Juniors in NSW and then proceeded to bring together other players to ensure the success of the Milner Road premises.
A major initiative was to attract the Melanka Aussie Rules Club from the then Tom Flood-run Todd and Stott House hostel, to become Wests. With the two football codes, and then netball, basketball, darts, and eightball joining in, Westies soon became a leading social and sporting centre in town.
The ‘seventies concluded with yet another force emerging in Rugby League when the Telford Memorial club won premierships, in 1979, 1980 and 1981.
AUSSIE RULES: TOP TEAMS TAKE POINTS AND PERCENTAGE. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
The gap between the top and bottom of the ladder in CAFL action widened on the weekend when both West and Pioneer had untroubled wins over Rovers and Federal respectively.
West booted 29.14 (188) to Rovers 9.4 (58), while Pioneer continued their winning streak with a 28.18 (186) to Federal's 7.10 (52).
The Bloods who have been thirsty for consistent football and in need of confidence building, used their fixture against the Blues most effectively. They scored eight goals to three in the first term and nailed the Rovers' coffin firmly in the last term when they scored 11 goals to two.
Starring for West was Brett Stevens who made every post a winner in the forward line with an eight goal haul. Stevens, who played a key role with the Sporties Spitfires in Tennant Creek, has shown signs of his true potential during the season and on Sunday displayed a more complete range of his value.
Joining in the goal scoring spree was Josh Flattum with five goals. Flattum has returned to the West line up in recent weeks and his value around the ground will be vital in the Bloods' surge for back to back premierships. In all 10 players contributed goals for the winners, while again it was the influence of Adam Taylor, Michael Gurney, Clarrie Green, Andrew Wesley and the Haines brothers who saw that West were back and focussed.
For Rovers the round was another one of toil, with Karl Hampton again putting in a stoic 100 minutes of determined and effective football. Max Fejo buttered up with six goals after being responsible for three majors when playing for Western Aranda on Saturday. Others trying to keep Rovers competitive, after a Saturday game, were Oliver Wheeler and Clinton Ngalkin.
In the late game Pioneers forward Ryan Mallard again found his kicking boot, with an eight goal harvest in front of the sticks. He was well supported by the Campbells, with Joel responsible for five goals and Matthew three. Eleven players registered goals in the 28 goal haul, with the efforts of players down field being key to the win. Wayne and Richard McCormack were dynamic in their ground play, and the seasoned Vaughan Hampton was again a pillar of strength. Peter O'Donohue and Aaron Kopp aided serviceably in the team effort.
For Federal, the pickings were few, with Shane Petrick able to capitalise on limited opportunities and score three out of their seven goals. In terms of contribution, it was Joe Palmer who again gave of his best for the Demons, assisted by Ambrose Katakarintja, Graham Hayes, Chris Forbes and Kelvin Neil.
In Country football on Saturday it was a different matter in the game between Ti Tree and Western Aranda.
The Ti Tree inaccuracy was probably the reason for Western Aranda's 10.7 (67) to 8.12 (60) win.
The victory has put Western Aranda in an unbeatable position to take out the minor premiership, having now recorded five wins from their last five outings.
However, after the Ti Tree surge on Saturday the Roosters can not be discarded for the finals.
In the other Saturday fixture Southern AP claimed respect from their opponents when they recorded a 16.15 (111) to 7.8 (50) win.
This was the first win by the Southerners for 2003, and would have come as a surprise to Harts Range who have been giant killers in recent games.
ALICE FESTIVAL COUP.
The Alice Springs Festival has secured a first-time performance in the Centre by the 20 piece Saint Cecilia Chamber Orchestra as one of the key events in its 2003 program.
The orchestra had been funded to travel to Hong Kong but because of global instability and SARS, after putting names into a hat, they voted to come to Alice.
The festival, in its third year, is asserting itself against the odds as a major annual event.
Dynamic festival director Di Mills says engagement of the orchestra is "a real coup".Ms Mills is supported in her work by a community-based committee of many new faces, chaired by Clive Scollay who headed up the Year of the Outback celebrations in Alice.
The festival will retain what have become signature events – the masquerade ball, the street carnival, the wearable art awards and Desert Song – while adding more, such as a busking competition.
Project officers Ingrid Laguna and Tiffany Manning have come on board to coordinate the busking comp and the wearable art fashion parade.
Original Centralian theatre will return with a new play from Red Dust.The Alice Springs Resort will host the Festival Club, featuring local music and spoken word performance.
Literary events presented by the NT Writers Centre will feature Melbourne-based author Alison Croggan.
The program will include numerous workshops in arts ranging from puppetry to poetry.
The street carnival will kick off the festival on September 5 with events running until September 14.
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