@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

Ring a bell?
Is it just me, or is it the case that the “Boundless Possible” embarrassment has suffered a swift death, consigned quietly to the wheelie bin of history?
Ah yes, a government elected into office that promised us all greater standards of honesty and accountability; but no, it’s just business as usual, that we’ve long endured for decades in the Northern Territory.
It really makes no difference who’s in charge.


Four dogs suspected poisoned with 1080
@ Ruth Weston (Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:08 pm): Sodium fluoroacetate is the commercially produced 1080 poison, and is closely related to potassium fluoroacetate, the poisonous chemical found in a wide variety of plant species.
Both chemicals have the same effect, disrupting the Krebs Cycle (or Citric Acid Cycle) which disrupts the ability of cells to metabolise carbohydrates, fats and proteins for energy production.
It was biochemist Ray Murray, based in Alice Springs with the Animal Industry Branch from 1954 to 1966, who first identified the naturally occurring 1080-based compound that occurs sporadically in poison Gidgee (Acacia georginae) which plagued the beef cattle industry in the east of Central Australia and across the Queensland border.


Stagnant CBD; industrial land, rental shortage; houses hold
The photo caption “The ANZ Bank has relocated from this prime Todd Street North site, opposite the Visitor Centre, to Gregory Terrace” serves – perhaps inadvertently – to emphasise the “moving of deckchairs” in the CBD, as the Visitor Centre itself was relocated to its present site a few years ago from its former Gregory Terrace location adjacent to the Civic Centre … and that particular building, the former Queen Elizabeth II Infant Welfare Clinic, that was heavily modified and opened to great fanfare in 1997 as the new Visitor Centre, remains steadfastly vacant.
Aside from the shift of the ANZ Bank (which, incidentally, opened its doors on its former Parsons Street site in August 1962, exactly 56 years ago) and the recent Wicked Kneads shop on the opposite corner now up for sale, there has also been the closure recently of two nearby hairdresser businesses, too – one of which was for sale for a long time but obviously attracted no serious interest.
Just yesterday, walking along Gregory Terrace, I was shocked to see “For lease” notices plastering the windows of La Casalinga restaurant, a long-standing business in this town and even something of an institution.
This town has weathered significant economic downturns on previous occasions – the mid 1970s, the late 1980s and early 1990s – but I’ve never seen the relocation of so many businesses (the “shifting of deckchairs”) on such a scale as has been occurring in recent years. It’s quite a phenomenon.
This situation is concurrent with the only significant new developments – the Green Well Building in Bath Street and the multi-storey Supreme Court building in Parsons Street – being occupied by government departments and instrumentalities, to the detriment of existing commercial lease stock in town. These developments, along with the re-opening of Todd Street North to traffic again, have done nothing to arrest the decline of the CBD, notwithstanding all the hype and propaganda of government and the private sector arguing in support of them.
Recent history quite clearly shows that the proposed National Indigenous Art Gallery will prove NOT to be the economic nirvana for this town. Exactly the same rationale was given for the developments of the casino almost four decades ago, the major hotel developments in the 1980s and the Alice Springs Desert Park in the 1990s – clearly none of these institutions, either on their own or altogether, have assisted in averting the current decline of our town, and there is no reason or evidence to show that the gallery will prove to be any different.
On the contrary, it will be yet another expensive long-term burden for the taxpayer to bear.


Town Council riven by conflict, lack of leadership
@ Alex Hope (Posted August 15, 2018 at 11:43 am): You may not be aware just how true is your remark “party politics have always been a part of the town council.”
Here is the slogan for one candidate in the first town council by-election (for two vacancies) for March 24, 1973: “THIS IS YOUR … ALP CANDIDATE IN SATURDAY’S COUNCIL ELECTION. VOTE 1 HADDON, D.J.”
As it turned out, Dennis Haddon came third in the poll on that occasion; however, when Alderman Paul Everingham resigned from the town council in early July 1973, instead of going to another by-election it was decided to appoint Dennis Haddon to replace him.
Anybody who knows the history of Territory politics will appreciate the irony – but wait, there’s more: When Paul Everingham stood as a candidate for the first town council election campaign in June 1971, his election advertisements were authorised by “Peter Edward John Gunner, Stuart Highway, Alice Springs”. Yes, it was current CM Michael Gunner’s grandfather.


Town Council riven by conflict, lack of leadership
Councillor Matt Paterson was nominated by Jamie de Brenni for the position of Deputy Mayor, which was seconded by Jimmy Cocking. Matt Patterson has stated this on ABC radio.


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