@2 In response to Steve Brown, just a few points. First, …

Comment on LETTERS: Dr Boffa honoured. Offer in Todd Mall: Want a girl? How many generations, Steve? And the bicycle track’s missing link. by Alex Nelson.

@2 In response to Steve Brown, just a few points.
First, I’m well aware of the history and contribution of his parents, grandparents and relations to the history and development of Alice Springs and Central Australia, and that’s not in dispute. But they were not born here, and that is (as I understand it) the definition of being a “generation” of a certain locality. I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong but at present I stand by my assertion that both Steve and I are first-generation “Alicespringians”.
With regard to Lionel Rose’s role in the “gaff” of mistakenly ordering a dairy herd for White Gums, I can only state that the original source of that information to one of Rosey’s men is your father, Steve. And (to my knowledge) it wasn’t claimed as being a mistake at the time, quite a few years ago, when this story was first related – it was actually done so with a very much more positive regard to Colonel Rose. But perhaps this is a case of “Chinese whispers”, I don’t know.
With regard to AZRI, I can speak on this topic with a great deal more authority, having had (with the possible exception of my father) the longest continuous association with that area of land of any person alive.
Steve, do you recall that there was a proposal for a 180 hectare citrus orchard utilizing the town’s sewage effluent to be established on AZRI in the early 1990s, to be set up and run by the Biggs family (who also estabished Territory Grape Farm at Pine Hill in the mid 1980s)? All exciting stuff – Fred Finch, the Minister for Power and Water, delivered a very enthusiastic Ministerial Statement to the NT Legislative Assembly about this project in late 1992, and the Minister for Lands, Steve Hatton, fast-tracked approval of the lease by early May 1993. But it was objected to by Aboriginal Traditional Owners on the basis of native title rights in early 1993, consequently the Biggs family withdrew from the project in May that year, less than a year after the High Court’s Mabo decision. Chief Minister Marshall Perron claimed this was probably the first example in Australia of native title preventing a development project from proceeding (Centralian Advocate, 21 May, 1993). Naughty TOs! But, don’t you know, we’ve not heard a word about this in any subsequent development affecting this land although a local Eastern Arrernte man (who lived at AZRI as a boy when I was there) never fails to mention this issue to me.
AZRI, amongst other areas south of the ranges, has been considered for urban development in the past. A study was done about future development options for Alice Springs during the Whitlam government of the early 1970s, at a time when the town’s population growth was projected to reach up to 60,000 by the turn of the century. The “AIB Reserve” and neighbouring areas were deemed unsuitable for future expansion of the town. What’s happened to these reports, I wonder, and what’s changed about this land and geography since then?
The NT Government, under CLP rule, adopted the same stance (with the same projected population growth rates) during the 1980s – all published material on the public record (and I’ve got copies of it).
The local member, Ray Hanrahan, the Member for Flynn and deputy Chief Minister, personally told me in 1986 that the NT Government was never going to develop AZRI for urban development. I was a member of the Executive Committee of the CLP’s Flynn Branch, as were a brother and cousin of Steve Brown. Hanrahan subsequently formally announced (in 1987) the development of the Undoolya sub-division to the east of Alice Springs, and the NT Government officially allocated $10 million to commence initial headworks for the development in early 1988. This was still at the time when the population of Alice Springs was projected to grow to 50,000.
All on the public record, and all of it strangely disappeared from discussion about development of Alice Springs that is occurring today. Interesting, isn’t it?
[ED – The AZRI block, where the suburb of Kilgariff will be built, is Crown Land but the Federal Court has determined that native title over it has been extinguished.]

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Turn rock-throwing into backflips: how community can help
I smile at the circularity of Rainer Chlanda’s preferred location of a youth hub without walls at the “courthouse lawns” (DD Smith Park), adjacent to the Alice Springs Police Station (the former Greatorex Building) and across the road from the local magistrates courthouse.
I say “circularity” because the first drop-in centre for youth on the streets at night was located in the old police station on that corner where the courthouse now stands. Established in 1976, it was named “Danny’s Place” and lasted all of no more than a year when it was forced to shut down to make way for the said courthouse.
And from that time on, youth drop-in centres, real or proposed, have bounced around from one site to another all through town; including an old house in the north end of Todd Street that was demolished to make way for an office block (now called Eurilpa House), the empty Turner Arcade – the last shop there was Grandad’s icecream shop, a once popular hang out for kids of my generation, also in the north end of Todd Mall (that was my suggestion, nearly 30 years ago) which was later bulldozed to make way for expanding Alice Plaza and new carparking spaces; and even the abandoned waterslide site in the early 1990s, which instead was demolished to make way for infill real estate development (Mercorella Circuit, near the YMCA).
We have decades of recent history of kids in trouble (or causing it) being shunted from pillar to post. As a society, history shows we’re not really fair dinkum about resolving this issue.
Sadly, there is nothing new in any of this – Rainer’s father and his colleagues were reporting on these kinds of issues 40 plus years ago, and it continues unabated to the present day.


Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
@ 5 Minute Local (Posted June 14, 2018 at 5:41 pm): Definitely living up to your pseudonym. Your suggestion is not a new idea – it’s been raised several times since the early 1970s.
The last occasion was when the construction of the railway north to Darwin was being finalised in the late 1990s-early 2000s when there was significant lobbying of the NT Government to re-route the railway around Alice Springs, including by the Alice Springs Town Council.
I also took up the cudgels on this issue as an individual and was publicly criticized by a local CLP member, notwithstanding the same member several years earlier had himself advocated the removal of the rail yards out of the town centre and to re-route the eventual railway to Darwin via west of the town.
These pleas were rejected by the government as being too late or too expensive (it would have added about three per cent to the overall cost, from memory). There’s no prospect of this happening now.


Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
@ John Bell (Posted June 13, 2018 at 7:51 pm): John, the only sacred trees on the Melanka site would be (or are) two old river red gums near the southeast corner adjacent to the intersection of Stuart Terrace and Gap Road.
None of the other trees I’m aware of on that site are local native species nor predate the construction of the Melanka Hostel.
This includes the towering lemon-scented gums of which the majority are now dying or dead as a consequence of lack of care and the extended dry conditions.
Consequently the trees don’t pose any significant issues for redevelopment of most of that area, at least as far as sacred sites are concerned.


Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
@ Hal Duell (Posted June 12, 2018 at 7:59 am): Hal, I’m still in the process of collating information. Gathering the history pertaining to this location is rather like measuring a piece of string but it all adds up to demonstrating the considerable heritage value of this site, the extent of which I think will surprise many people.
The nomination for heritage listing of the oval and school will definitely proceed.
The fact that this issue has blown up in the NT Government’s face demonstrates the stupidity of over-reliance on advice from vested interests (with no regard for anything except their bank accounts) and overpaid outside “experts” who have no background in local knowledge.
Once again we see the consequences of the corporate amnesia that afflicts this town and Territory, and history shows it makes no difference which party is in power.


Cemeteries could be turned into parks
There is another method of burying the dead which is also held to be environmentally friendly, it is called “promession”.
According to the Wikipedia entry on this subject, it’s a system of disposal of bodies of much more recent origin (two decades ago) than alkaline hydrolysis (19th century).
It involves cryogenic freezing of bodies in liquid nitrogen to -196°C (in effect, crystallising them) after which vibrations are applied that shatter them in minutes into fragments.
This material in turn is freeze dried and all metal or other non-natural components (eg. fillings, artifical joints) are removed.
The final stage involves “the dry powder being placed in a biodegradable casket which is interred in the top layers of soil, where aerobic bacteria decompose the remains into humus in as little as 6 to 12 months.”
Invented in Sweden, it’s a method already expressly adopted in South Korea and has expressions of interest from up to 60 other countries.
I think promession also deserves consideration as an option for burials.


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