In response to both Russell Guy and Rex Neindorf, there …

Comment on A car wreck’s tale of bureaucratic incompetence by Alex Nelson.

In response to both Russell Guy and Rex Neindorf, there is no doubt in my mind that the long entrenched and growing social problems we endure in our society can be directly attributed to our country’s multi-tiered system of governance and administration. Our nation’s federal political structure is not just outmoded, it is archaic and hugely inefficient. We have had politicians, especially at federal level, pushing reform of industry and the economy on us for a long time now, and they are continually arguing for greater productivity from the private sector, but the same does not apply to bureaucracy at all three tiers of government.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the Northern Territory, which I believe must be the most over-governed jurisdiction on the planet. It’s well worth comparing the NT’s statistics and performance with that of the Australian Capital Territory; we have long indulged in the sport of “Canberra-bashing” but we’re not so keen to pluck the log out of our own eye before telling others to take the sticks out of theirs. The ACT actually provides some very (potentially) useful material for a much better standard of governance than what we must endure in the NT. Charles Dickens wrote “A Tale of Two Cities” a long time ago; Australia could easily provide material for a new classic called “A Tale of Two Territories”.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

A car wreck’s tale of bureaucratic incompetence
Hello Dave, your mention of the brand new, and deeply troubled, Aquatic Leisure Centre raises an interesting point. The value of history comes from the lessons that we can learn from past mistakes (and successes) which can be applied to decisions being made for the present. Do you remember the ill-fated Red Centre Rapids waterslide site of the late 1980s? That was a highly controversial development from beginning to end, when the area it occupied was eventually redeveloped as Mercorella Circuit (ironically right next door to the YMCA). It’s worth recalling that private development was opposed by the Alice Springs Town Council (under late Mayor Leslie Oldfield) from the outset – and the town council’s fears were (ahem) rapidly proven correct. Not just once but twice! (There were two attempts by private developers to make it work, before it was abandoned for several years). Did anybody, not least the Alice Springs Town Council, learn anything from this debacle? Obviously not.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

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.


Hundreds of empty plastic wine bottles in Todd
@ Laurence (Posted October 10, 2017 at 4:45 pm): Your comment reminds me of an anecdote from 1969 about a major shopping centre development project for the Todd River bank beside the town centre proposed by a South Australian business consortium.
The proposed development was discussed at a meeting of the Town Management Board which was attended by the managing director of the company Allumba Development who was seeking approval for this project.
District Officer Dan Conway inquired about the origin of the name “Allumba Town Centre” for this development proposal, to which the company’s director responded vaguely that “he thought somebody looked up the name and it had something to do with water in arid places.”
TMB member and prominent local businessman Reg Harris quipped in reply: “Why don’t you call it Tintara Park after all the flagons in that part of the river?”
Ah huh, that’s almost 50 years ago.


Saving, reopening Pitchi Richi: another step forward
Pitchi Richi certainly deserves to be restored as a significant visitor attraction for its historical and natural values.
It’s worth noting this site in its former role as a nature sanctuary predates Olive Pink’s Flora Reserve (as it was) by one year – both places are contemporaneous and outstanding for their importance to the character of Alice Springs (not least for their connections with the Indigenous people of this region); and in my opinion are complementary to each other, both sharing locations on the east bank of the Todd River either side of the main range.
William Ricketts’ sculptures are immensely important for one very significant reason, in my opinion, as with some of them he captured the faces of elderly Indigenous people who had witnessed changes in their country from the earliest European encroachment to the onset of modern technological advances which in essence still remain with us. As far as I’m aware there is no other place on Earth where people witnessed and experienced such massive changes within a single lifetime – that gives those sculptures and Pitchi Richi a significance of international stature.
Pop Chapman’s significance shouldn’t be overlooked, either. For example, it was at this site he established a citrus grove and table grape vineyard and was the first to promote the potential of a viable horticulture industry in Central Australia.
Chapman was a tough man of his times but he was undeniably a visionary, and proven to be a man ahead of his time.
One correction to note, however – Chapman’s House isn’t the first double-storey building of our town, that honour goes to Adelaide House in 1926 followed by the original Catholic presbytery in the early 1930s.


Home from the fire front
A special hello to Miss Tourism 1967, Central Australia’s first tourist queen!
Wow, two months of sunshine without rain during the summer in Vancouver – meanwhile, last week we had a tantalising sprinkle of rain in Alice Springs for the first time since the beginning of February.
I bet that brings back some memories for you, Ursula.
Great to hear from you.


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