ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
April 29, 2010. This page contains all
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
head for Rock. By ERWIN
The big spenders aren’t coming to Alice Springs. They’re heading for
Statistics provided by Tourism Central Australia chairman Ren Kelly
show the average nightly expenditure in Petermannn (mostly Ayers Rock
and King’s Canyon resorts) is $417, compared to $292 in The Alice.
Alice has more visitors – 435,000 of them, spending an average of nine
days or 1.7m nights a year.
The figures for Petermann are 360,000, spending an average of just five
days or 946,000 nights.
Yet Petermannn earns $286m a year from tourism, compared to $262m for
In other words the Rock, with half the nights, is making more money
Looking at international visitors in isolation, The Rock with 188,000
guests is leaving Alice behind with 167,000.
Mr Kelly did not provide any figures for previous years.
On the upside, he says keen promotion and good service have enabled
Alice tourist accommodations to avoid the slump elsewhere in the nation
in the wake of the global recession.
He says in the December 2009 quarter there has even been a 4% increase
over the year before in domestic travel – an additional 20,000
But numbers are still well below the peak in 2000.
“The accommodation industry had to work hard to maintain occupancy,
marketing at trade shows and the internet,” says Mr Kelly.
“And the yield this year is expected to be reasonably good, based on
advanced bookings, and what they’ve seen in the past three months.”
He says Virgin’s decision to fly Sydney to Ayers Rock Resort rather
than to Alice may be a blessing in disguise: because Tiger flies
Melbourne to Alice, coach and car operators now can go with full loads
Visitors flying to The Rock can travel by road to Alice and fly back
from there – or the other way ‘round.
Mr Kelly says the Qantas flights between Alice to Cairns and Perth are
now doing less well than previously, apparently as a result of changes
in international travel.
Virgin’s connection with international airlines including Delta, Virgin
America and Atlantic, Emirates and Malaysia Airlines allow discount
arrangements for flights in Australia previously offered only by
Meanwhile Tourism Minister Malarndirri McCarthy says the NT Government
will spend $42.6 million on tourism in the 2010 Budget.
This would include money for “innovative and integrated marketing
campaigns ... and developing new products from emerging Indigenous
There will be “$30.9 million to promote the Territory to global and
domestic markets with $2.1 million for the continuing support of
airlines services to the Northern Territory”.
Says Ms McCarthy: “The tourism industry employs around 18,000 people in
the Territory and contributes $1.7 billion to the NT economy.”
Tourism Australia says all Australians are being invited “to share what
is great about where they live as well as their favourite Australian
holiday experiences to show what’s unique and special about our
country” by uploading photos and stories to www.nothinglikeaustralia.com
Entrants will be eligible to win holidays.
falls from plane in grog incident. By ERWIN
A Qantas ground crew member at Ayers Rock Resort was stood down for two
weeks after testing positive for a blood alcohol level in excess of
This followed an accident in which a flight crew member broke her arm
and had to be evacuated to Alice Springs.
A Qantas spokesman described the alcohol level as “low”.
The aircraft, operating on the Ayers Rock to Cairns route, had been
given the all clear to close the door and push back the stairs.
However, as the door would not close readily, the hostess put a foot
outside the plane to get better leverage, but the stairs had already
been moved. She fell from the aircraft.
The spokesman says the crew members, as is routine, were
subjected to alcohol and other drugs testing.
A ramp crew person – the spokesman would not specify the gender – was
found to be over the limit.
The person was given “medical assessment and counselling” and returned
to work on March 18.
Another alcohol related incident involving Qantas staff was reported
this week to have occurred in Alice.
Gearing up for
camel trade. By ERWIN
There is money in camels, and the estimated one million feral beasts in
Central Australia – mainly on Aboriginal land – can be turned into a
major export earner and source of Indigenous employment.
So says local cattle man Gary Dann (pictured) who is calling for a
network of camel catching and slaughtering facilities, some of them
mobile, including trap yards, and slaughter floors where the initial
butchering of the beasts can be done after shooting them in the field.
Mr Dann runs Territory Camels, which is operating Wamboden, a multi
species (cattle and camels) abattoir north of Alice Springs.
He is consulting for Aboriginal interests setting up an abattoir at
Ernabella in the Pitjantjatjara Lands in South Australia, is expanding
camel meat sales in Australia and overseas, and has in the past set up
killing works in Mistake Creek and Kalkaringi.
Mr Dann says most camels are on land owned by Aborigines: “They should
benefit from the resource.”
Mr Dann takes issue with the mass slaughter of camels by shooting them
from helicopters and letting them rot in the desert.
This strategy sparked outrage around the world late last year.
An aerial cull, under cover of secrecy, took place in the Docker River
area, in the south-western corner of the Territory.
Last year 100 people were registered as unemployed in that community,
but none were given a role in the control of camels there.
The shoot was funded by the Federal Government and organised by Ninti
One Ltd, a company spawned by the now defunct Desert Knowledge CRC
(DK-CRC) in Alice Springs, claiming to be holding the “intellectual
property” associated with the management of feral camels.
Mr Dann was responding to an analysis (Alice News, April 8) by Dr
Charlie Carter, of studies commissioned by DK-CRC.
These reportedly cost $15m over six years.
According to Mr Dann, during the latter part of that work people with
hands-on knowledge of the industry were ignored.
Mr Dann says: “You could have built a multi species abattoir for half
that money. Unbelievable.”
He says a fully fledged mobile abattoir would include a power source,
kill floor, chiller, boning room, blast freezer, storage freezers, all
on trailers, pulled by prime movers.
But a better solution is a “part-portable abattoir”.
Camels are classed as a game animal in the NT and can be shot “in the
field, like it was done in the buffalo days,” he says.
“Mobile slaughter floors would be taken to where camels gather.
“You have half to three quarters of an hour to get the shot camel to
the mobile “skinning and eviscera” floors, once they have been bled,
where intestines, feet, skin and the head would be removed, roughly
half of the weight of the camel.
After being quartered and inspected they would be taken in a
refrigerated Pantech to a main processing plant.
Mr Dann takes issue with Dr Carter’s statement: “One camel per 1000
acres – keep that in mind when talking about harvesting.”
“Camels roam in preferred areas, depending on seasonal conditions,”
says Mr Dann.
“If they were one every 1000 acres it would be impossible to shoot them
from helicopters as well.”
He says: “Once trap yards and infrastructure are in place, the cost [of
harvesting a camel] would be $10 to $20 per head, not $75 as suggested
by Dr Carter.
“That would include labour to shut the gates, move the trapped animals
to another yard, feed them, until we’ve got enough of them to come and
get a load.
“For $75 a head I could put them in a yard with helicopters.”
Mr Dann disputes Dr Carter’s freight calculations, based on the DK-CRC
Mr Dann says a figure of $135 a head is quoted for transport from
Docker River to Alice Springs, and he rounds it up to $200, for 700
Then it is claimed the further transport to Darwin would cost $200 –
although the distance is 1500 kms.
“Dr Carter is all over the place. I cannot follow him,” says Mr Dann.
Mr Dann says while ships to carry adult camels are scarce, small weaner
camels could be carried on cattle ships.
“It would take two weeks handling to get them settled and eating hay
“Young camels quieten down very quickly and are easy to handle.”
Mr Dann disputes the camel meat prices are too low for wild camels in
remote locations to be commercially viable.
He says Territory Camel is selling at the following wholesale prices,
per kilogram: Trim (that’s 90% visual lean meat, or 10% fat) at $4;
sausage trim with 25% fat $2.50; fillet $20; Scotch fillet $12 (beef
Scotch fillet is $17.90); porterhouse $12; rump $7.50; T-bone $6;
topside $6.50; round $5.50; silverside $5.50.
Mr Dann says a big adult camel weighs about 300 kg live.
“Let’s say we buy it for $1 per kg carcass weight (Ausmeat trim) from
whomever brings it into that abattoirs.
“That’s $300 – a pretty good price to the ‘grower,’ be it a pastoralist
or an Aboriginal company.
“I can get 200 kg of meat from that animal.
“That means I paid $1.50 per kg of meat to the grower, and 90c per kg
to kill, bone and process.
“Back-loading freight to Adelaide would be 10c to Adelaide, or 30c to
“So the cost to me per kg is $2.60.”
At that rate the profit per animal would be about $200 on cryovact
selected cuts, on the domestic market.
Frozen, bone-in boxed camel is contracted at $3 landed in Port
“This is bone-in, mind you,” says Mr Dann.
There is less work, and the profit is $150 per camel.
On top of that is the edible and inedible offal, providing some
“It’s bloody good money, I tell you. Most abattoirs wouldn’t be making
that on cattle,” says Mr Dann.
“Dr Carter claimed Asian people don’t like camel.
“In fact, the Asian people at the 2009 Restaurant Convention in
Melbourne referred to our camel meat as tender and tasting very much
“This was good, graded camel meat, low on cholesterol, Omega 3 and
Omega 6, coming from arguably the cleanest deserts in the world.”
Mr Dann says his own experience isn’t alone in demonstrating the
viability of the camel trade.
He says he’s been offered $1.90 per kg from the Caboolture (Queensland)
meat works for a 250 to 300 kg carcass weight.
Using 275 kg as an average that would bring $522.50 per animal.
“Caboolture still has to kill, bone and process, costing 90c per kg, or
$247.50 per animal, a total cost of $770 per animal.
“At that figure they haven’t made a profit yet, and of course they
would not do this for no return,” says Mr Dann.
“This tells me two things: There is money in camels, and the multi
species abattoir, processing from 150 to 200 camels a day, should be in
“The freight cost from the Pitjantjatjara Lands, for instance, to
Caboolture is about $450 per head.
“Processing in Alice Springs we would save $300 a head in freight.”
Mr Dann says Queensland wants a camel meat industry.
“I was at a meeting last year and they’re very strong on it.
“Their department is right behind them. But they have very few camels.”
Queensland also wants young camels for breeders and weed eradication.
“We have the opportunity, once again, to truck thousands of weaner
animals, so the transport cost would be minimised.”
He says Dr Carter appears to be defending the “$75 shot to rot mindset”
of the DK-CRC.
“If my company, Territory Camels, were paid $75 a head to remove them
from hotspots such as Docker River, this money would go into the
upgrading of facilities, would process them, sell them as protein much
needed world wide, and provide employment.
“DK-CRC say they want to support a camel industry, but this is very
hard to believe.
“At the meeting on March 18, 2010, not one industry person was invited,
even though they are the doers in killing camels for food at the
moment,” says Mr Dann.
He says people such as Ivan Coulter, from Peterborogh, SA, Caboolture’s
Mike Eathorn and, “without patting myself on the back,” he himself were
Mr Dann says he was asked by Charles Darwin University to speak at a
forum in Alice Springs last year.
But he says he was told this had been “scuttled” by DK-CRC.
“One must be wondering if they are fair dinkum.”
Enquiries from regions requiring halal meat (killed in compliance with
Muslim customs), including Sudan, are “very encouraging.
“We have done the hard yards,” says Mr Dann.
“The camel industry is now where the goat industry was 15 years ago.
“The goats were considered as pests, to be shot with no value.
“Now they have a very important part to play to make farming more
viable. Export of goat meat world wide continues to increase.”
Camels would supplement the production of Central Australian beef
“which is some of the cleanest and greenest beef in the world because
of the low rainfall, parasites cannot flourish here”.
Mr Dann recounts an anecdote highlighting the growing acceptance of
He was asked to supply meat for lunch during a seminar in Alice Springs
about Santa Gertrudis cattle last year.
“We sent in some camel T-bones and put on the box ‘Yearling Amburla
“So they had their field day, they had lunch, everything was eaten, and
there was a lot of raving on.
“At the end of the day the main Santa Gertrudis cattle expert, Alastair
Bassingthwaite, if I remember correctly, said the meat we had here
today was second to none, especially the Brahman from Amburla.
“And at that moment, Sarah Debney, from Territory Camel, said: ‘That
“It went straight over his head and then he said, I beg your pardon?”
A business plan is under way to upgrade of Wamboden to Tier One
standard, allowing export to 29 countries.
Mr Dann says this requires an expansion to handle at least 100 camels a
day, bigger freezers, a new amenity block to cater for more staff and a
But the growth of the industry is facing a major obstacle created by
people like DK-CRC, says Mr Dann.
“The big problem is, people think they can get camels for nothing,
because we’re going ‘round shooting them and leaving them to rot in the
litigation. By KIERAN FINNANE.
An upbeat announcement that the Territory is progressing its container
deposit legislation (CDL) has come as liquor traders are taking legal
action against the Alice Springs Town Council over the proposed “liquor
litter” charge, set for hearing in Darwin on September 6.
The Alice News has been told by a reliable source that an affidavit
filed by Mayor Damien Ryan in this matter acknowledges the political
motives behind this initiative by council.
The affidavit says in part: “The context related to the declaration of
the charge has also had a political dimension as the Respondent [the
Town Council] has sought the assistance of government funding
unsuccessfully as an alternative method of raising income to enable the
Respondent to meet its core services in a balanced and fair manner with
respect to its limited financial resources, in an attempt to better
serve its ratepayers entitlements.”
There never was doubt in local minds that the Town Council forced the
government’s hand on CDL with its litter initiatives.
They were underway early last year when the Territory Government
announced its “in principal” commitment to a “Cash For Containers”
scheme of its own, adopting even the name that council was giving to
its recycling initiative.
The Alice News asked the council to comment. CEO Rex Mooney replied:
“To the extent that [this] article suggests that Council imposed the
liquor litter charge for no other reason than to force the government
into a corner on CDL, it misrepresents the highly selective excerpt of
the Mayor’s affidavit cited. Mayor Ryan’s point is that Council used
the Local Government Act to raise the charge only after unsuccessfully
seeking alternative assistance from Government. Its motive was to
directly address a serious community concern in circumstances where
Government would take no action.”
Now CDL looks set for adoption by the Government, according to a media
release by Minister for the Environment Karl Hampton last week.
It had Mr Hampton citing the “significant environmental and social
benefits “ of CDL for the Territory, following a visit to Adelaide
where he inspected container recycling factories.
Assessing options for his government’s introduction of CDL, he pointed
to the 600 million containers recycled in South Australia every year.
“That’s more than half a billion plastic or carton containers that
don’t end up in waterways, parks or landfill,” said Mr Hampton in the
“As well as the environmental benefits, CDL is a substantial commercial
boost employing more than 1000 people and worth almost $100m a year to
the SA economy.
“Much of this income flows to community groups like schools and clubs;
for example, the SA Scouts turn over $18million a year from their
members’ recycling efforts.”
The release said a Territory CDL model is being developed for
implementation in 2011.
If that comes to pass, it will be a feather in the Town Council’s cap,
although Mr Hampton failed to acknowledge their efforts in the release,
citing instead a trial at last year’s Freds Pass Show in rural Darwin
where more than 12,000 containers were collected in just one day.
Alice’s Cash For Containers scheme is expected to have removed seven
million aluminium cans from the litter stream this financial year and
council will be again allocating funds to continue it in the coming
As well 600,000 glass containers have been stock-piled and will be
ready for the glass crusher (paid for with a grant from the NT
Government) when it starts operating next month.
The crushed product will be mixed with sand for use in concrete for
council’s footpath program and other uses are being explored.
With the liquor litter charge council was also attempting to raise
money from ratepayers owning property leased by takeaway liquor
The rationale was to offset council’s costs in picking up
liquor-related litter in public areas.
Council spends some $630,000 a year on removing away-from-home litter,
with liquor containers, especially green VB cans, making up half of the
tonnage. Council hoped to raise around $350,000 from the new
charge under Section 157 of the Local Government Act.
The court action over the controversial proposal may well cost
ratepayers a pretty penny, which won’t be popular, but nobody will be
able to blame council for not trying to address the litter issue, a
major irritant for locals and undoubtedly detrimental to the town’s
case concludes. KIERAN FINNANE with several reports:
Ryder death caused by a
‘relatively minor’ assault
“Ordinarily, it is not expected that a victim of an assault causing
such relatively minor injuries will die.”
So said Chief Justice Brian Martin, in his detailed, carefully worded
remarks as last Friday he
sentenced five young men to terms in gaol for
the manslaughter of Kwementyaye Ryder.
Describing the attack as “cowardly and violent”, he also said it “needs
to be understood clearly” that the attack “did not cause any fractures
and did not cause any major external injury”.
Tragically though Mr Ryder died.
The weeping of his mother as the five offenders were led into court and
the Chief Justice began to speak was an all too painful reminder of
The “critical events” that led to Mr Ryder’s death took place in “the
space of a few seconds”, no more than five.
The Crown facts about these events are that the deceased fell as he ran
away; Timothy Hird kicked him in the head once, Glen Swain twice, and
Joshua Spears struck him with a bottle (that did not break).
The courtroom was packed by Mr Ryder’s family and friends, those of the
offenders and the media, both local and interstate.
Unusually, filming and photography of the Chief Justice was allowed, in
part no doubt because of his concern to give the community as much
access as possible to his summing up of the facts and his judgment of
them. His task was “unenviable” he said and presented “particularly
difficult problems for a sentencing Judge”.
Addressing the offenders he started: “What began as an unremarkable
night in Alice Springs when the group of you set out to have a social
night and, elsewhere, the deceased did likewise, ended the next morning
with a tragedy from which there are no winners.
“First and most importantly, a life has been taken needlessly. The
unlawful killing of the 33 year old male victim is a great tragedy and
leaves a legacy of grief, anger and distress among family and
“In addition, a violent death through the commission of a crime
diminishes our wider community.
“Imprisonment of the offenders cannot change these consequences.
Imprisonment will punish and express the strong disapproval of the
community, but it cannot compensate for the loss of a life.”
If Mr Ryder had not died, the offenders “would have been guilty of an
assault that caused relatively minor harm”, said the Chief Justice.
The cause of Mr Ryder’s death was bleeding from a blood vessel at the
base of the brain, most likely the result of the bursting of a
The precise cause of the burst aneurism has not been determined, but it
is “accepted” that the conduct of the five caused it.
This is how the Chief Justice explained their responsibility: “The
group of you threatened [him] and chased him with the intention of
“In fear he ran away and fell over.
“The aneurism might have burst when he ran and fell and, therefore, you
are responsible because your threatening conduct caused him to run and
“Alternatively, the aneurism might have burst when blows were struck to
“If the blows were the cause, your physical attack upon the deceased
directly caused his death, but it is impossible to know whether it was
the blows or the fall.
“In one way or another, all of you were involved in the threat, chase
and violence inflicted upon the deceased.
“In this way you are all responsible for the dreadful consequences of
your unlawful conduct, notwithstanding that the victim was susceptible
to suffering dire consequences as a result of relatively minor trauma.”
The Chief Justice found that none of the five “thought about the
possibility of death occurring” and none “intended to cause serious
Thus the manslaughter of which they’ve been found guilty was not
reckless, the more serious kind, but negligent – “a great falling short
of the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the
While each offender admitted responsibility for the death in the sense
of “aiding and abetting” the others in the attack, their physical roles
and “moral culpability” were not identical which is why they received
As the long judgment wore on the Ryder family became more and more
distressed, crying and with heads in their hands. Mr Ryder’s mother had
left, weeping, no longer able to bear hearing any more details about
her son’s death.
A collective dread seemed to settle on the court as the Chief Justice
dealt with each of the five.
However merited some degree of punishment, and without forgetting that
Mr Ryder lost his life, who could not regret the extremely difficult,
if not wasted months and years to come in the lives of these young men
whom the Chief Justice found to be “of otherwise good character and
with good futures”?
Scott Doody was sentenced to four years from the date of his arrest on
August 1 last year, but the sentence will be suspended after 12 months.
Having already served almost nine, Mr Doody will be released in just
over three months’ time. He will be banned from drinking alcohol for
two years from the date of his release and from using or consuming any
illicit drug for three years. The operative period of the suspension is
three years, which means that if Mr Doody breaches these conditions
over the three years following release he will return to gaol.
The Chief Justice accepted Mr Doody’s lesser role in the physical
assault and lesser moral culpability.
For the manslaughter, he found that there was no significant difference
in moral culpability between Timothy Hird, Joshua Spears and Glen
Swain, and also Anton Kloeden who, although he remained in the car, had
“set the events in train”.
He imposed a sentence of six years on Mr Hird, Mr Kloeden and Mr
Spears, back-dated to their arrest, and fixed a non-parole period of
four years. Their earliest release will thus be in about three years
and three months.
Mr Swain received a slightly lighter sentence, allowing for his
cooperation with police as well as his plea – five years and six
months, with a non-parole period of three years and six months.
His earliest release will thus be in two years and nine months.
Mr Kloeden was also sentenced for recklessly endangering a life in the
separate incident in the riverbed. He will serve five months for this
count concurrently (at the same time) with the sentence for
He will also be disqualified from driving for three years from the date
All five received reduction in their sentences because of their pleas.
The Chief Justice found that all five were “genuinely sorry” for
what they had done and its devastating consequences and that each has
“excellent prospects of rehabilitation and is unlikely to offend
Outside the court, the anguish of those closely associated with these
events since last year overflowed. Families and friends wept and held
one another, while others lingered, stunned by the sheer misery of it
Racist ‘at least to some degree’
Chief Justice Brian Martin’s findings on the “racial overtones” of the
killing of Kwementyaye Ryder stop well short of the “race crime”
treatment of the story by many media.
It is not skirting the difficult issues of racist behaviour and racial
tensions and divisions in our community to bear in mind the limits of
what he actually said.
He accepted that the five offenders had grown up in close contact with
Aboriginal people and had always got on well with them.
But on this occasion, their “normal attitude and standards of behaviour
were pushed into the background”.
On the basis of the events in the riverbed, which had occurred before
the attack on Mr Ryder, he concluded that inside the Hilux driven by
Anton Kloeden “there was a negative attitude towards, and an atmosphere
of antagonism towards, Aboriginal people”.
He found that the atmosphere of antagonism had been created primarily
by Mr Kloeden, who had driven at two separate camps of Aboriginal
people, with one camp being targeted twice.
This behaviour was more than “ordinary lairising and hooning”, he said.
Adressing Mr Kloeden in particular, he said: “I have no doubt that if
white people had been camped in the riverbed in tents, you would not
have set out to harass them in the aggressive manner in which you set
out to harass the Aboriginal people who were camped there.”
Abuse was yelled, and an imitation pistol discharged by Timothy Hird.
This contributed to the aggressive atmosphere, said the Chief Justice,
and it was the intention of at least these two men “to scare the
Aboriginal occupants of the northern camp”.
Having crossed the causeway, the offenders were then confronted by Mr
Ryder standing on the roadway holding a bottle, which he smashed
against the side of the vehicle.
The Chief Justice found that it is “relevant that it was an Aboriginal
person who threw the bottle”.
In the plea hearing he had tried to explore whether the offenders would
have reacted in the same way to a drunk young white man throwing a
bottle at their car.
In his sentencing remarks he concluded that they would have “reacted
angrily and sought to confront him” but perhaps not as vehemently.
He found it “difficult to avoid the conclusion that the nature and
rapidity of the reaction, and the actions of some offenders in kicking
and striking the deceased while he was on the ground were influenced,
at least to some degree, by the fact that the deceased was an
Said Chief Justice Martin: “Ultimately it remains unknown whether the
attack would have gone as far as it did if the deceased had been a
drunk white person.
“I doubt that any of the offenders now know the answer to that
In his remarks on general deterrence – that is, the way that penalties
aim to discourage others from committing similar crimes – the Chief
Justice focussed entirely on crimes of violence.
Said the Chief Justice: “Society as a whole must both challenge and
work to eradicate the underlying attitude that resorting to violence is
acceptable in order to solve differences and to exact retribution for a
perceived insult or wrong.
“This case stands as a stark warning to all members of our community as
to how easily tragic consequences can follow from drunken
violence. As has been demonstrated so often in the Criminal
Court, relatively minor violence can kill ... It is a message that
needs to go out loudly and clearly to all members of our community.”
Ryder family satisfied with court
The family of Kwementyaye Ryder expressed satisfaction with the outcome
of last Friday’s sentencing
decisions by Chief Justice Brian Martin.
Mr Ryder’s mother, Theresa, had left the courtroom, crying and angry,
and making the comment for all to hear that while the offenders may be
“good on the outside, inside there is racism straight out”.
Outside the court, after receiving apologies and comfort from the
mothers of two of the offenders, she spoke to reporters.
She said she had left because she “couldn’t stand being in the
courtroom ... hearing about what happened, the story being read out
about my son laying on the ground and being kicked”.
Her departure came after CJ Martin began to speak about the penalties
He had pointed out that life imprisonment, which she had called for in
her victim impact statement, is reserved for cases in the worst
category of manslaughter and said, “this crime does not fit that
The court had already heard about the personal circumstances of the
young men, who in all cases were deemed to be of underlying good
character and highly unlikely to re-offend.
Mrs Ryder said about her angry comment: “For a mother like me, the
feeling inside me, I’d say anything.”
She said she told the offenders’ parents who approached her that “I
appreciate them” for apologising.
“It sort of makes me feel satisfied. I’ve been waiting for that time,
for the mothers, parents and that to come up and apolgise and say sorry
to me. Because I never ever blamed the families. They were at home not
knowing what was happening, like me.”
Flanked by her relative Karen Liddle, her daughter and several other
family members, Mrs Ryder also spoke of her son: “There was no story
read out about my son. He was a local himself, he was born here in
Alice Springs, went to school here, made friends with a lot of white
“There’s still a lot of friends out there that miss my son as a good
mate. And he also was a hard-working man.
“He was a good young bloke, he never got in trouble with the police in
his life before. That’s why I miss him so much, he was the happiest in
the family, he brightened up everything for the family.”
She said “the pain will go on in me for as long as I live”.
Mrs Liddle also spoke.
“Myself personally I feel sad for everybody, for us, for our loss and
also for those [the offenders’] families too, for how foolish those
boys were in what they did.
“They ruined their lives, their families’ lives, our lives, and [now
they should] just stand up and be men and do their time, for their sake
and their families’ sake.
“We’ve got a lot of family support and we’re just happy with the
Mrs Liddle said that the community can learn from these events: “We all
live in this community as Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and
long-term residents must stick together.
“We’re satisfied with what has happened. They are only young men and
their sentences, they are going to spend a long time in there.”
Asked if the offender Scott Doody had been let off lightly, Mrs Liddle
said; “We can understand the law and how it works and circumstances
made it that he didn’t participate as much as the other blokes. We’ve
got to respect the law.”
COMMENT: No need for a beat-up.
The Alice Springs News hopes that the community will stick to the facts
of the case in the many discussions that will flow from it.
The need for people in Alice Springs and other Australians to
understand the causes and consequences of this crime, including its
possible racist elements, is not assisted by the kinds of inaccuracies
and distortions that we have heard in conversation around town and to
which, for example, The Australian’s reporter treated the nation in his
article last weekend (“Mother’s tears for a stolen son”, Lex Hall,
The reporter did not need a beat-up to drive home the seriousness of
the case – the facts are surely enough.
There was no evidence in the court of a “brutal assault”, as he
There was no evidence of the offender Glen Swain being “consumed by
hate”, nor of him being able to think “only of revenge”.
These were a novelist’s touches as was the use of the phrase “trainee
pest exterminator” to identify Mr Swain; “trainee pest controller” was
the term used in court.
The suggestion that Mr Swain “lined up Ryder” and that his kicks were
“vicious”, that Joshua Spears “crashed” a cider bottle on Mr Ryder’s
head and that the blow was “savage” were all in the same vein.
The suggestion that Mr Spears’ blow “probably triggered the brain
aneurism that caused his death” was simply inaccurate.
The reporter seems to have misunderstood the Chief Justice’s comment
that Mr Spears’ blow was the possible cause – though he could not be
satisfied of this beyond reasonable doubt – of a 3cm laceration, which
penetrated only the soft tissue.
Such a misunderstanding is hard to excuse – the Chief Justice
repeatedly stated the facts around the “relatively minor” injuries
sustained by Mr Ryder and the reporter had a transcript of the
sentencing remarks to refer to.
The reporter, apparently anxious to convince his readers that this was
a race crime, went well beyond the careful reflections and conclusions
of the Chief Justice on this aspect of the case (see report this
The full transcript of the Chief Justice’s sentencing remarks can be
found on our website www.alicespringsnews.com.au – COMMENT
Give ‘em a hand!
“You don’t get muscles like these by sitting on your hands,” says Dale
Elliott, showing off his in Todd Mall.
In fact he’s doing quite a bit of sitting – in a three-wheeled,
hand-driven cycle in which he, in the company of fellow paraplegic
Andreas Dagelet, have just “manualled” from Melbourne to Alice.
The two ex-pilots don’t dwell on why they can’t use their legs (Dale
had a motorbike accident seven years ago and Andy fell out of a tree 15
“Life isn’t bad. It’s awesome,” says Dale. “You grab life and do what
The destination for their road trip is Darwin.
They do around 100 kms a day, and have done as much as 163 kms.
They are raising money for children with club feet in Kenya where an
operation costing $20,000 in Australia is performed for $200.
They want to raise $200,000 to help 1000 children do what they can’t:
For Andreas the trip isn’t a novelty: he’s been all the way around
Australia in a hand cycle, 16,000 kms, earning him a place in the
Guinness Book of Records.
Dale is also the first paraplegic to skydive solo in Australia and is
the second to do it in the world.
Not surprisingly, both are motivational speakers in their day jobs.
Tonight (Thursday) they will appear at the Casino Samphire restaurant
(book with Dave Ives at email@example.com, phone 8953 7746).
They say in Alice they had generous support from the Stuart Caravan
Park and the RSL.
More at extremerolling.com
Artist takes us
into the landscape. By KIERAN FINNANE.
Alice artist Sarah Brown pays homage to the Central Australian
landscape, and in particular to its much admired glow as the sun sets,
in her solo show at Peta Appleyard Gallery, which opened last Friday.
I say homage not just because the landscape and its rich low light is a
It’s also a sense that she creates by her strong emphasis on the
foreground, whether it’s spinifex marching rhythmically up a rise or
sun dancing on the surface of a receding waterway. The larger forms of
ranges, hills and gorges appear at a distance, almost unreachable.
We feel the artist is right there, in that space between us and the
picture plane, as if ready to prostrate herself before all this glory.
This is the case too with her trees: she’s close enough to put her arms
around the trunk and shows us the view, looking up into their
lacework of branches.
Her evocations clearly strike a chord with viewers: 29 out of 38 works
had sold by Saturday.
My eye was drawn to a small work on paper, Water Lily, where Brown is
doing something a bit different – still responding to the beauty and
patterning of natural forms, but flattening them, heading towards
abstraction. I’d like to see her go further in this vein.
There’s a chance that she will as she’s a prolific painter, finding in
the work an essential antidote to the demands of her job as the manager
of Western Desert Dialysis.
Show ends May 14.
Kilgariff: A power of good. By ALEX NELSON.
Bernie Kilgariff’s state funeral held at the Catholic Church in Alice
Springs last Thursday was a special moment in the Northern Territory’s
history, a celebration of the astonishing lifetime of a remarkable man.
A telling moment occurred when I encountered Father Adrian Meaney in
the presbytery, former parish priest in the Alice, who had been a
concelebrant of the NT’s first state funeral almost exactly 30 years
ago, held in the same church in honour of Colonel Lionel Rose.
Both state funerals were offered by chief ministers named Paul – Paul
Everingham in May 1980, and now Paul Henderson in April 2010. This
coincidence alludes to important links between Rosey and Bernie, from a
time now portrayed as one of struggle but was in fact a golden age of
Much more requires to be revealed of that history but now is not the
time – this is Bernie’s time.
As in his life, so it seemed in his passing – the funeral was held on a
glorious Autumn day, the warmth pervading us all but never overbearing.
A few scattered clouds maintained a respectful distance on the western
The hearse with police escort arrived, there was a smoking ceremony by
senior Arrernte women, and a guard of honour by the St John Ambulance.
The coffin was lifted by pallbearers – Bernie’s sons and a son-in-law –
preceded by a dozen priests and bishops, and was carried to the front
of the church. The parish choir and Arafura Ensemble performed
magnificently the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’.
The funeral was a traditional Catholic requiem mass, lasting almost
three hours. The congregation, a spectrum of society come to honour
Bernie, remained enthralled throughout.
The liturgy commenced – the First and Second Readings by Claire and
Fran Kilgariff respectively, the Gospel by Fr Robert Egar, a family
member. The Homily was given by Bishop Eugene Hurley, focussing on the
centrality of Christian faith and belief in Bernie’s life – it provided
the bedrock of certainty that governed all he did and was.
He spoke of Bernie’s 62 year marriage with his wife Aileen – it is
impossible to remember Bernie without her – and of the primary
importance of their large family, 11 offspring in all.
This was apt, to focus first on Bernie’s faith and family. As Bernie
lived his life inspired by Christ, it is fair to claim Aileen was the
rock upon which he built that life; and the children, like the
Apostles, carry on that inspiration in the myriad paths of their own
lives. How fascinating to note the dominant careers of the grown family
– the arts, business, pastoralism, tourism, public service and office –
all reflecting key aspects of Bernie’s achievements.
Following the ceremony of the Eucharist and Communion, the eulogies
began, six in all. The first was by son Michael Kilgariff; then Chief
Minister Paul Henderson, Opposition Leader Terry Mills, retired Senate
President Margaret Reid, Deputy to the NT Administrator Pat Miller,
finally former Administrator Ted Egan – a family friend.
All provided insights into Bernie’s extraordinary life, his character
and achievements, their accolades and tributes pouring down like rain
drumming on a tin roof, too much to describe here, but prompting the
question, how did such a gentle man fit so much into one life?
He was an honest and highly ethical politician, a man of loyalty and
dedication but whose principles were never betrayed.
He saw life’s opportunities as tram journeys, hopping on to see where
one took him but knowing when it was time to get off one and board the
He pioneered and succeeded in farming, tourism, public service,
politics, pastoralism, and voluntary service – and, it might be noted,
he never had a university degree.
He was a soldier who saw active service in the jungles of New Guinea;
typically of war veterans he spoke little about this to his family but
on the rare occasions he did, revealed his complete dedication to
Australia and an abhorrence of war. Later he was the first to organize
the intake of refugees from war torn Vietnam – rather a contrast to the
way we treat ‘boat people’ now.
Bernie was appointed the first commissioner of public housing in the
NT, and it was pointedly observed the scheme has never been better run
than it was under him.
Ted Egan described Bernie as the greatest Territorian achiever, ever. I
half imagined hearing Bernie’s gracious chuckle, mildly protesting:
“Goodness, oh no, I don’t agree – there are so many others. But thank
you for the compliment”.
We remember and honour the exemplary life of this extraordinary man.
Bernie Kilgariff’s legacy sets an example for us all, his memory is an
Most importantly he lived his life for others, none more important the
children who take their turn after us – like those who were at play
during lunch break at the OLSH primary school next to the church. Their
laughter and excited noise gently intruded during the eulogy by Pat
Miller, herself a child of this town. Bernie attended the same school
(though much changed) as a boy, as did all his children.
When the funeral was finally over, it was like the time after a passing
storm – it had done the whole country around a power of good, life felt
revitalized and flourishing.
It is time for you, fair citizen, to harvest the darling buds of May.
I speak of course of the second Wide Open Space music, arts and desert
culture gathering this weekend.
Boosting on the version we saw last year, it is going from strength to
It’s bigger, longer and uncut. And for the people that let it drift by
the first time (sadly there were too many of you), welcome to the
Central Australian musical layer cake.
If you fail upon your mission to attend, don’t worry, people won’t
assume you’re out of touch with contemporary music ... to your face.
You will be the butt of many water cooler jokes aimed squarely at the
And when they hear that you weren’t there and they were, they may make
it sound like you just missed the chanced to witness the second coming.
But hey! There is always next year, that gives you approximately 365
days to think up some other lame excuse not to wanna hang with the cool
So go! Go! Go! Go!Go!
Go! If you have never been before.
Go! For the sake of going.
Go! Cos’ there is nothing better to do.
Go! Cos’ there couldn’t possibly be anything better to do.
Go! If you’re partial to the Abracadabra of musical consumption.
As for the line up, the militia of sounds that await you, there are
posters and flyers all over the place! Time is something in debt but to
put this into perspective: imagine the Barons of Tang playing to the
highlighted backdrop of the East MacDonnell ranges.
Monkey Marc on the coat tails of his debut release.
Neuron Compost, Saritah, Myxstic Beats, TD Shagga, Opiuo, Electrode,
Agency Dub Collective ... the list rolls on.
If you don’t know who these people are, or more importantly what they
sound like, it’s all the more reason for you to go. Trust me, giving
even a short description of every act that is poised to perform is
opening too great a can of worms.
Cos’ you’ll never, never know if you never, never, you know. And
the 85 km stretch of road between you and them is just another bass
clef to play along.
The Dub Saloon doors are oiled and swinging open for your
patronage, this is an invitation to feed your head. A brain
cell banquet for the edifying. It’s feast time, and you’re sitting at
the head of the table and you don’t even need shoes! Or a napkin for
that matter – what spills down your front can only be recycled later.
The Wide Open Space flying saucer lands on the April 30, returning to
orbit on May 2. Tickets are pre-sale at $90. If you wait until you get
there you need to cough up $120.
And cough it up you will!
If you need any further encouragement go to
Unlicenced hawkers damage Todd Mall trade.
Sir – I sent the following letter to the Alice Springs Town Council.
I own an art gallery on the Todd Mall and am constantly losing business
to street sellers.
They are Aboriginal people selling art right outside my shopfront and
I pay rates to have my shop here and I expect my elected Council to
protect my right to have a successful business without the added
competition of street sellers, who pay no wages, no rates, no GST, nor
While they sit in Todd Mall selling their paintings they are also
collecting so-called sitdown money from the government as well.
Why are these street sellers not policed? Instead they are
Sometimes there are 20 to 30 sellers on the mall, selling three to four
or more paintings each.
Some have mini shops set up in front of galleries and the lawns in Todd
They also leave their rubbish on the Mall for the shop keepers and the
council to clean up.
It’s not only the street sellers, but it just encourages in general
drinking in every dark corner they can find close to Todd Mall.
If I were to sell paintings in the street, I would be fined and
Why do I have one rule and Aboriginal people have another?
The council’s lack of action on this matter means they don’t care about
shop owners or what happens in the main street of Alice Springs.
I have been in the same gallery for over 20 years. Not once has a
council representative called on me to discuss if there is anything the
council could do to improve business and the general situation in Todd
It is the jewel of Alice Springs, it was the street where tourists used
to walk after dark.
Now they are told by tour operators not to walk in the main street
after dark as it is too dangerous.
We have windows broken regularly. Screaming and fighting takes place
almost every night in Todd Mall and in front of my shop and on many
occasions I observe the women lift their skirts and urinate on the
footpath as happened tonight (April 12, 2010 at 21.15 pm) next to my
window at 87 Todd Mall.
Is this what the council wants for Alice Springs?
Yes, I did call the Alice Springs police, only to be greeted by an
answering machine informing me the station is closed and to call
So I called 000 and explained to the nice lady in Darwin the situation.
She relayed the information somehow to Alice Springs police, so I
waited and waited for the police to arrive and eventually I fell asleep
in the chair.
On the same night across the Mall the souvenir shop had their glass
Who is responsible for the safety of us all in the Mall? The police,
the council? Or doesn’t anyone care?
Is this the image you like the tourist to remember Alice Springs by and
tell their friends? This is almost a daily occurrence.
In commercial terms, this is a matter of life and death.
I am urgently waiting for your response. Please do not lose this letter
in your system.
Aboriginal Desert Art Gallery, Alice Springs
Imparja – Aboriginal in name only?
Sir – I agree with what Eric Sultan states in his letter of April 22,
Why change something that meant something to everyone to something that
means something to only a few people?
Yes we have to ‘piggyback’ off of Channel 9, but we were unique in our
concept, which has now been lost in a sea of whys.
The red box to me looks like a child’s toy that has been discarded or
in the way of everything. That symbol would be more appropriate in a
children’s programme surely.
Imparja is my choice of channel, when I want a change from Austar,
except news time.
Has Imparja become Aboriginal in name only? I certainly hope not, but
only the future will tell us if that becomes so.
I can hardly wait for the next instalment, regarding Imparja.
Camels a goer
Sir – Just wanted to congratulate you on the very positive lead story
‘Camel trade a goer’ in last week’s edition of the Alice Springs News.
Ian Conway is certainly another great example of ‘the legendary
Territorian’ who is driven by compassion, humanity, humility and
This is precisely the type of content that all the local media
should be branding so that the projected view of Alice Springs will be
positive to those of us who choose to live here and others who may wish
If we are to ‘turn around the way things are’ then we have to ‘turn
around the way we do things’.
It’s all about perception. It’s about being a survivor, not a victim;
being independent, not dependent; living in hope, not fear. Being
positive creates positive energy that flows freely into the community
and influences others positively. It really is amazing how all that
stuff makes you feel.
Whilst acknowledging that there are clear social issues that impact
negatively on the lives of people, animals and the environment etc, the
focus by media on them does little to fix them.
In fact, I believe, it has the opposite effect.
It inflames them, bringing those who offend publicity and a sense of
‘achievement’. Metaphorically, if you keep picking at a wound it
will not heal – simply fester and grow worse.
This is not ‘rocket science’ – simply clear, practical and evident.
That we have evolved into a society over the past 50 years or so where
‘conflict sells newspapers’ is a sad indictment of where we have
collectively taken the humanity journey.
But, while we’re still breathing (surviving), there is hope for the
present and the future to be different.
I believe that the media, in all its forms, should work hand in hand
with the community to develop a focus on tangible solutions rather than
simply probing problems.
Thanks again for introducing us all to more of Ian’s wonderful
achievements and visions for the future. He is indeed a great asset to
humanity and Central Australia. Looking forward to reading Gary Dann’s
story this week.
Organisation of deluded two
G’Day Ed – I am genuinely pleased that there are people out there who
are serious about trying to develop a camel industry.
I hope they succeed.
They at least do not go on with blather about ‘hundreds of millions of
dollars lost’ etc.
However, I would like to take issue with one aspect of your front page
article [in last week’s issue].
A ‘Facebook’ campaign is evidence of nothing other than perhaps abysmal
The ‘page’ on your front page is from an organisation called ‘Act Now
For Animals’ started in 2008.
It seems to represent two people.
They are upset about kangaroo harvesting, and are promoting veganism.
In the event that there are more than these two deluded individuals
concerned about aerial camel culling, I offer them a couple of
• Camel numbers continue to increase, with the degradation of millions
of square kilometres of semi-arid Australia, accompanied by the
extinction of many species of indigenous plants and animals.
• Dry seasons return, accompanied by the slow, painful, lingering death
of thousands of camels from hunger and thirst.
• The overseas live camel trade takes off, with large, wild, desert
animals being mustered, loaded on to trucks for thousand kilometre long
journeys along dusty bush tracks, then loaded into ‘floating cages’ for
weeks’ long trips to the Middle East where animal welfare
considerations are substantially less then here.
I look forward to further information from the industry pioneers.
High security facility not in rural
Sir – A pink sign used by Territorians [when they want] to build garden
sheds in their back yards was the only warning Northern Territory
families had that a “High-Risk Facility” is being proposed
to be built on their doorsteps!
In both Darwin (Bees Creek) and Alice Springs (Cotterill Rd, Ross
Highway) a “16 Bed, Secure Facility” that will accommodate “involuntary
clients” that exhibit “high risk behaviour” to themselves and to the
community has been proposed without any consultation with the local
The facility which has “state of the art security”, “anti-climb fences”
and “2.4 metre perimeter fences” is vaguely described as “Shared
Accommodation” as a poor attempt to get it through Planning Authorities
It was not until Adrian Renzi of Radio Station 8HA alerted the Alice
Springs public of the proposal, that the Department of Health and
Families were forced into sending out a media release. Jenny Cleary,
Executive Director of Health Services, DHF, speaking to ABC Radio host,
Rohan Barwick, seriously but with some “frivolity”, suggested
that the proposed facility’s fencing would be like that of most
properties: “It will have a 2.4 metre chain mesh fence as you and I
Jenny also clearly stated it would not have razor wire fences, only
“anti-climb fences” and “state of the art security” so the public “will
Darwin and local Alice Springs residents strongly believe the NT
Government have failed in their duty of care by failing to consult
with them on such an important issue as this proposal in such
close proximity to residential housing, which at the very least
would result in “loss of amenity” and the right of NT families to
feel safe and protected in their own homes.
The Health Minister, Kon Vatskalis, thus far, has failed to comment.
Darwin and Alice Springs residents have united to fight these proposed
Sir – Firstly allow me to say that I am not opposed to the improved
care for people with disabilities. The issue here is where the the
facility is to be located.
Cotterill Rd is currently occupied by hard working people that chose to
live in a rural setting for a number of reasons but foremostly for the
peace and quiet of a rural livestyle. All have paid the costs to aquire
I have spoken to my direct neighbours and all are in a state of
disbelief that the government could change the encumbrances on these
blocks of land to suit their objectives without so much as consultation
with the residents that live in the vicinity.
The Government has copious amounts of land where this facility could
have been located – Percy Crt, CAAPU, the Crown land further up at
Amoonguna, the prison just to name a few, but instead they propose to
put it in a domestic rural setting such as Cotterill Rd.
We are in the process of lodging objections to this proposal and
have organised a meeting for all those people opposed not to the
facility but to its proposed location.
APPLE: Coming up for air.
Every now and then you’ll get to talk to a teenager.
It’s a rare experience. For the most part if a teen isn’t a ball of
brooding melancholy foetally prone on a chair in their bedroom, they
are plugged into another dimension, self-excluded from the world
between two white earphones.
But just as the majestic blue whale has to surface for air from time to
time, so do teenage kids.
My other job is to know what music teenage kids like. So every now and
then I like to venture into the mind of the teen and ask them a couple
of questions. This task can be dangerous. Not physically but it
certainly can be a mental danger.
Such an occasion happened recently. A teenage lad in a moment of
clarity removed the ear buds from his i-life support system and for
just a breath of time, entered reality.
I asked him what was on his personal digital music machine and amidst a
barrage of “like” and “random” and “totally” he explained his musical
He said he had about 4000 tunes on his machine and several remixes of
the particular tune he had been enjoying.
“How many?” I asked.
“About 40,” he answered nonchalantly.
Now I’m not lining up for the pension anytime soon. It wasn’t eons
since I too was a brooding mass of angst, but things have changed since
I was a teen.
When I was a teen, vinyl was around but on its way out. I owned some
vinyl records but most of my music was contained in cassettes.
Cassettes had their advantages. They were portable. You could play them
in the car. They were cheap.
However they could best be described as a perfect combination of poor
sound quality and a complete lack of durability.
Cassettes were awful. The cassette player would chew them. The sun
would melt them. The cover art had to be miniaturised in order to fit
into the case that would invariably snap, crack or otherwise perish.
They were crap.
From the minute cassettes gained the edge over the vinyl record they
were asking to be made obsolete.
The technological revolution has been swift and all encompassing. It
has changed every last part of our lives and it has done it
When I was a kid, GPS was a school for rich kids, a virus needed a
doctor, a net was used to catch fish and if you spent time in the
web you were laughed at for doing the “get it off me, get it off me!”
Teens have access to technology we couldn’t have imagined. iPods and
MP3s and computers with enough memory to save entire video stores are
all readily accessible.
We are so keen to accept new technology that often we buy the latest
gadget for no other reason than to own the latest gadget.
The latest must have is the Apple iPad. It is known as a tablet. Not a
laptop, not a pocketbook. It is, if you can believe the hype, the way
of the future, the usurper of the laptop computer.
The cassette of the tablet world must certainly be the Amazon Kindle.
Released by Amazon, the Kindle sold at an amazing rate. Primarily to
people that love a new bit of kit.
I have to say that the Amazon Kindle could well be the single most
useless thing on the planet. More useless than the human appendix, the
tag on a mattress and a brochure called “10 things to do in Elliott.”
The Kindle is an electronic device to read books. You buy the book from
Amazon.com and you can read the book just like, well a book. In
the US, the Kindle sold for $260. It’s about the same size as a
book and the folk at Amazon sell it with the catchy hook: “Reads like
real paper, even in bright sunlight”.
To many, this sounds like a great new push forward for humanity. What
it is, is a $300 way of reading a $24 book. And you can’t lend your
friends the book without giving them your Kindle.
I wonder what will replace the iPhone? I wonder what will make the iPad
look like yesterday’s hero? I wonder if it will be worth buying?