I didn’t attend this meeting. Like most people, I’m sick …

Comment on Is the town over all the talk? by Alex Nelson.

I didn’t attend this meeting. Like most people, I’m sick to death of the incessant chatter and next to no resolution of all the problems we face. But another reason I didn’t attend last night’s forum is because I had to go to work at a local supermarket in the CBD.
I left my home in the Old Eastside and walked down a laneway at the rear of my address to Sturt Terrace, I crossed Wills Terrace along the bike path and then proceeded down an old bush track along the east bank of the Todd River. There were a number of Aboriginal people I encountered along the way, most had been drinking. They didn’t bother me, although one woman from Yuendumu greeted me and spoke about her home for a short while. I proceeded across the bed of the Todd River and onto the west bank opposite the ANZ carpark, along Parsons Street, through the Post Office and then to the Yeperenye Shopping Centre.
While I was at work filling shelves at Woolies, I was twice informed that my comments on ABC radio earlier that afternoon concerning media headlines (actually from almost 40 years ago, specifically November and December 1974) were mentioned at the public meeting.
I finished work just before midnight. I exited the Yeperenye Shopping Centre into Hartley Street and made my way back home exactly the way I had come in. The only people I saw were a few young backpackers at the YHA opposite the ANZ carpark.
That’s the way I go to and from work four nights per week. I’ve been taking this route (except for when the Todd flows) for more than two years.
Prior to that, when I was working at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden, I walked or rode along the much-feared Todd River bank every morning and evening (frequently after dark) to and from work, from the time I shifted to my current address in February 2006. At no time has anyone threatened or bothered me. (There were a few occasions when camp dogs came snarling after me but I just stopped and calmed them down, and after awhile they didn’t bother me, too – but that was a few years ago, and the council rangers have long been on top of that problem).
But then again, 21 years ago when I was living at another address in the Old Eastside, I was walking home one evening on the Wills Terrace footbridge when I was approached by a jogger from behind who kinghit me in the face, breaking my nose, because he wanted to take my money. Too bad! I wasn’t carrying any!
A decade later, I was living at a friend’s place in Lindsay Avenue (south of Undoolya Road) and I had commenced working as a nightfiller at Woolies at that time, too. As usual, I walked to and from work at night. One night, about 12pm, I walked home to find police with torches doorknocking and searching for clues in the park opposite my residence. Turned out a young German woman had been abducted from the Wills Terrace causeway an hour or so earlier, dragged all the way to the park near my home and viciously beaten and raped. She had screamed for help but apparently nobody heard her; something I find very difficult to believe.
I was born in this town and grew up here; however, for most of the first half of my life I lived in the rural area south of town and never personally witnessed or experienced all this kind of crime and antisocial activity. Yet I can 100 percent guarantee that I can pick out editions of the newspaper randomly from anytime since the early 1970s and find stories about crime, alcohol abuse, petrol sniffing, police numbers (or lack thereof), truancy – you name it, it’s all there.
This town and region is classic Jekyll and Hyde, and the formula that has created this dichotomy is well known to us all – it’s called alcohol.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Pine Gap and the Nobel prize the Oz government ignores
@ Robert Hall (Posted October 19, 2017 at 10:20 am): In October 1983 the annual Alice Art Prize was held at the Nurses Lounge at the Alice Springs Hospital. The NT Government sponsored a special category, The Golden Jubilee Award, to mark the 50th anniversary of the official renaming of the township of Stuart to Alice Springs.
The controversial winning entry was by Dr Jenny Gray, whose work of “a nine-panel quilted piece in satin” depicted the progression of a nuclear explosion behind Mt Gillen.
In the front page story (November 2, 1983) about this award, Dr Gray was described as “a member of a world-wide organisation of doctors, the Medical Association for the Prevention of War.
“She said its main aim was to inform the public of the medical consequences of nuclear war, in the hope that people would urge governments towards disarmament.
“World-wide membership stood at 35,000 with 1000 members in Australia. Eight medical practitioners in Alice Springs belonged to the association.”
This event occurred more than a month prior to the women’s protest at Pine Gap that year and clearly shows that Robert Hall’s claim to be the sole representative of MAPW in the Northern Territory at the time appears to be incorrect.
As it turns out, the greatest moment of danger from nuclear conflict during the entire Cold War occurred on September 26, 1983 – probably about the time Dr Gray was stitching her quilt for the Alice Art Prize – and it had nothing to do with Pine Gap or the Americans.
A Soviet spy satellite alerted a military command centre in Moscow that the US had launched a few nuclear missiles towards the USSR. The officer on duty, Stanislav Petrov (who died a few months ago), chose to regard this warning as a false alarm thereby averting a nuclear catastrophe.
It turned out that the offending Soviet satellite had interpreted sunlight reflecting off clouds as missiles that had just been launched from America.
Nobody in the West knew anything about this event until after the collapse of the Soviet Union nearly a decade later.


Pine Gap and the Nobel prize the Oz government ignores
@ Steve Brown and @ Hal Duell: I don’t know the personal circumstances and timing of Russell Goldflam’s family leaving Nazi Germany; however, historically Jewish people were fleeing or being expelled from Germany prior to the commencement of the Second World War in September 1939 and long before Japan’s entry into the Pacific theatre in December 1941.
Some of those refugees made it to Australia before the war or very early in that conflict. A notable example was the British passenger ship Dunera which transported German and Italian “enemy aliens”, including Jewish refugees, sailing to Australia from July to September 1940, a period of time that saw the fall of France and the Low Countries to Nazi Germany and the onslaught of the Battle of Britain – this was more than a year before the USA and Japan entered the war.
One person on board that ship was Doug Boerner, who came to Alice Springs during the war and made his home here (he passed away in 2000).
Russell Goldflam has written an eloquent contribution for the Alice Springs News Online and provides a very interesting perspective which isn’t personally familiar to me. I don’t agree with all that he has written but I see no need to respond with the vicious rudeness expressed by at least one correspondent to this story.


CBD planning: The vibrants are at it again
Last weekend (Saturday, 14 October) was the 30th anniversary of the official opening of the full pedestrian Todd Mall.
Interesting to read what was published on the Centralian Advocate’s front page about Todd Mall on that occasion: “After a long and tedious 12 months of noisy machinery, frustrating dust and some inconvenience to the public, the new-look Todd Mall opens officially today. And what a mall it has turned out to be!
“It has ushered in a new era in the town’s development and growth. Some people may have had some misgivings on the outcome of a project they believed was unnecessary.
“But we are happy to say that the mall has assumed an essentially Centralian character which has pleased most people – and the tourists seem to love it.”
The editorial opined: “This newspaper has always maintained that Alice Springs needed a full mall to give the town a lively centre. Today that mall is a reality.
“Big problems were predicted when a full mall was mooted. Some traders felt they would lose business if people could not park in the street and deliveries would be made very difficult.
“While the matter of service lanes has never been properly addressed, customer parking has been provided in adjacent areas and through a good-sized car park within the Ford [now Alice] Plaza.
“There is also a big car park in the Yeperenye Shopping Centre opening next Tuesday – and that is only a short stroll to the mall.”
The editorial went on: “So early in 1986 council commissioned the architects to design and document the project.
“The wisdom of council’s decision to use a local design has been proven – the end result is suitable for our unique area.
“Today locals enjoy the traffic-free ambience of the mall almost as much as the tourists.
“It is fitting that the International Malls Conference is being held in Alice Springs this week. We hear that, generally, the delegates also think our mall is just great.”
Ouch!!
@ Bob Taylor (Posted October 17, 2017 at 10:05 pm) – The Post Office was relocated to its current site in 1977, prior to then it was on the corner of Railway Terrace and Parsons Street. At that time Todd Street was undergoing reconstruction to become a semi-mall with a one-way street from south to north (opened in 1978).
Historically the proximity of the Post Office to Todd Street was unnecessary; and indeed would have been most undesirable as it would have worsened the traffic and parking problems then being experienced in an extremely busy and chronically congested main street in the commercial centre of town. That is simply unimaginable today.
Your suggestion for a multi-storey car park south of the current Post Office has been made before at least twice as I recall (in the 1980s and again in 2001); and I suggested Hartley Street have one-way traffic with angle parking in a submission to a town council commissioned CBD traffic study in late 1987, exactly three decades ago. There was no response.
Alderman Les Smith made a similar suggestion about a decade later.


Master plan for town, reconciliation plan for Australia Day
@ Domenico Pecorari and @ Steve Brown: The first site chosen for the Anzac Memorial was to be an area set aside at the (then) new cemetery established west of town in 1933 – today’s Alice Springs General Cemetery on Memorial Drive.
There were objections to this location, mainly that it was a considerable distance out of town and access was via a very rough track.
According to an account published in 1952, a veteran by the name of Jack Novice suggested that the top of View Hill (or Stott Hill) next to Wills Terrace would be a good location for the memorial. This idea was challenged on the basis it would be too difficult and costly to transport materials to the top of the hill but Novice claimed he had been able to drive his vehicle to the summit easily enough although there was no track at the time.
Dr D R Brown tested this claim by driving his A-Model Ford to the top of the hill without difficulty whereupon the decision was taken to proceed with construction of the war memorial on that site.
The energetic Reverend Harry Griffiths became the driving force behind this project, designing the obelisk and presiding over its official dedication on Anzac Day of 1934 on the top of what now became Anzac Hill.
I’m unaware that any Traditional Owners were consulted about this project – this was an era and time when such considerations just didn’t arise; moreover, Aboriginal people required permits to enter the town area at the time and had no right to be present within the town at all after sunset each day.
If there is permission from TOs for the Anzac Memorial now, it’s almost certainly been obtained long after the fact of its existence.


Master plan for town, reconciliation plan for Australia Day
The flags were installed on Anzac Hill in 1989 as part of a major upgrade of the memorial. It was late that year the Central Land Council first suggested the Aboriginal flag also be flown there but this was rejected by the Alice Springs Town Council and met with local opposition.
It’s relevant to recall the long-running heated debate over Aboriginal affairs at the time, with many contentious issues such as the replacement of the Sacred Sites Authority with the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority, excisions for living areas on stock routes, agitation for separate smaller land councils, and control of the Strehlow Collection.
All of this controversy generated public enmity that wasn’t favourably disposed towards the suggestion of the Aboriginal flag flying on Anzac Hill that was first made 28 years ago.


Be Sociable, Share!