Taking the photos from the top, the first shows a …

Comment on The risks in taming the river by Hal Duell.

Taking the photos from the top, the first shows a stretch of parkland along a riverbank. Has the parkland and its upkeep caused the riverbed in the background to be without trees?
I suggest not necessarily as I can clearly remember walking down some of our major waterways and coming upon stretches of open, clear riverbed in country where the “wild” isn’t necessarily and understandably compromised by being in the middle of an urban setting.
This is also the stretch of the river that gets the most use by both families and from civic events. We are very fortunate to have access to this open space in the heart of Alice.
The manicured riverbank parklands in this picture are not riverbed, but they do offer the residents of Alice a wonderful space from which to enjoy an open view of the Todd River. If it’s decided that the exotics have to go, hopefully they will be replaced by acceptable trees with a dense canopy so we can continue to enjoy a shady park.
In the middle photo what appear to be young eucalypts are without understory and therefore have a good chance of growing to maturity without the danger of being burned down by itinerant arsonists. The open lawns at the Telegraph Station offer something similar but with older trees. There are about 200km of wild river south of Heavitree Gap where biodiversity reigns as the uncontested natural order. Nothing is being lost by claiming this short section for the town.
And finally to the money shot, the bottom photo, and what a magnificent, hoary old man he is! And so vulnerable. When the pictured understory dries off, hopefully the private citizens mentioned, or the Town Council if necessary, will remove it before it builds up into an ignitable fuel load that an arsonist could send roaring up into all those character revealing dead limbs.
I think it was along this stretch of river that one of the pictured tree’s equally venerable and vulnerable companions didn’t make it through this year’s fire season. The arsonists struck, the fire took hold and the tree either fell or had to be pushed over. When I last rode down that bike path I didn’t notice the carcass so unless I missed it, I assume it has been removed.
This debate brings the story of Pandora’s Box to mind. Alice will never again be what she was. By denying that we merely prevent her from becoming all she could be.

Hal Duell Also Commented

The risks in taming the river
I keep coming back to the middle photo. It intrigues me, the way it’s framed, what it shows and what it leaves out. It’s a bit like asking if the glass is half full or half empty.
As seen, it would appear that a copse of young trees is growing on an expanse of mowed lawn bordered in the background by a city street. The area looks manicured and inviting, offering a soft and shady seat on a hot summer day. And prickle free, another good service from an oft-maligned Town Council.
And yet if taken from the other side, the same copse with its mowed and prickle-free lawn would be bordered by a pedestrian / bicycle path (again thanks are due to our Town Council), then a strip of shoreline with an apparently healthy variety of eucalypts in various stages of maturity and then the Todd River as it winds its way through town. The lawn has become native growth and buffel.
Two sides of the same coin.
Taken from a slightly different angle again, would it be possible to get the old-man river gum featured in the bottom photo in frame? He’s not far off, biodiversified understory and all.
Continuing downstream, under the bridge and around the point of Myers Hill is the Olive Pink Botanic Garden with its 16-hectares of plants native to central Australia. Some 300 species are cared for ensuring a vigorous biodiversity will always remain a living part of urban Alice Springs.
The companion to the old-man river gum I mentioned before might be the tree down in front of the Desert Palms. We’ve lost so many in this year’s brutal fire season it can be difficult to remember exactly where I saw the last one go down. He was grand, now he’s not. Hopefully someone will be allowed to clean up the mess.


Recent Comments by Hal Duell

Open doors, not flogging, will reduce juvenile offending
If only it were so.
As much as I respect the years’ long dedicated work this author has contributed to youth issues in Central Australia, foremost among which being his largely successful work in eliminating the scourge of petrol sniffing out on the Homelands, here I think he is glossing over the issue. “Naughty” not only doesn’t begin to cover it, but is both misleading and trivializing.
The kids in question here are not naughty, but actual criminals engaged in criminal activities.
I, too, have seen Tangentyere Day Patrol on our streets this summer engaging with youth on the streets, and I applaud their efforts. And I have long supported the Gap Youth Centre as a community effort to engage and support youth in the Gap.
But once it and other dedicated outreach centres close for the night, what happens then?
Many go home to what homes they have, but a significant minority do not.
They roam the streets knowing full well that any interaction with the NT Police will be one-sided in their favour.
The police are obliged to back down once any confrontation with under-aged youth takes place. And don’t the kids just know it!
The sad truth is that the line of departing families is growing, while those of us who are staying rely on tall fences, locked gates and barking dogs to ensure out safety and well-being. And until someone, anyone and I don’t care who, can deal effectively with this current and local scourge, the fences, gates and dogs will remain.


What REALLY goes on in our streets: Youth worker
As happens so often these days, Jacinta Price stands tall as an example of a concerned Australian talking common sense. Family responsibility seems to be her mantra when discussing the social ills bedeviling Alice.
And we all know she is right, all that is except for those denizens of the politically correct swamp who would rather further fracture as opposed to heal. They remind me of nothing so much as baby chicks still in the nest, impotent little wings flapping, beaks open and a chorus of gimme gimme gimme gimme.
Walking around town, especially through the shopping centres and the hospital, and the conclusion that this is an Indigenous town is inescapable.
No problem there, but what this means is that the way forward not only has to come from them, but it can only come from them.
Our Town Council would do well to recognize this. Otherwise they risk being consigned to the status of an irrelevant elite watching from behind their fences as our town burns.
And let’s not even talk about Darwin. They may hold immense power over us, but without question they are as useless as teats on a bull.


Lasseters private enterprise beacon in stagnant town
I’m with Scotty on this one. If New Year’s Eve was anything to go by, Animal Bar is putting it mildly.
If Lasseters is having trouble coping with its clientele, they might think about taking a page out of the Gap Hotel’s playbook. Multi-ethnic, multi-racial and zero humbug. An example well worth considering.
And as to John Bell’s suggestion that an irresistible offer from China for Uluru is not far off, if the Vietnamese can gain a 99 year concession to run Angkor Wat, which I was told was the case when I visited Cambodia a couple years ago, then this might not be such a far fetched idea.


Local government: A lot of action beyond the 3Rs
@ Leigh Childs, Posted December 18, 2017 at 8:05 pm: Yes, but not for some years now. And I agree that Broken Hill’s size, history and location make it a much better fit for comparison to Alice than does Murray Bridge.
What I remember is an interesting town on the road between east and west (Alice is between north and south), a hub for the surrounding area, a sculpture park on the top of a hill, the uncanny familiarity of nearby Mutawintji National Park, and marveling at how the local government managed to build all the infrastructure even a small town needs with steep hills and a hard rock base to work with, at least in the central area.
Good point. They seemed to be in the process of reinventing themselves in the years when I was passing through, and it’s good to think they have kept going.


Town still upset with Stuart statue, say researchers
Long live Stuart the Explorer and Two-Up the Bunny! Long may they stand with the Undoolya Perenti as monuments to Alice Springs’ artistic identity.
More would be better. Where is the Indigenous hero to join Stuart along Stuart Terrace? We all know Council would fall over themselves to balance the story being told there.
Mark Egan has created a couple of outstanding examples up the track at Aileron, but whether he would again willingly venture into the hotbed of PC naval gazing that seems to be the default atmosphere here is another question.


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