3-4 years ago my daughter and I, and a couple …

Comment on After years of under-achieving, tourism promoters say they are getting cracking by Ian Sharp.

3-4 years ago my daughter and I, and a couple of her mates, one from Melbourne, the other from Germany, did a winter 4WD trip out along the Mereenie loop to Watarka, then on to Uluru, Docker River, Giles, Wingellina and the Corner Post, then up the Sandy Blight track to Kintore and home via Papunya and Glen Helen.
Great trip, permits not a hassle but not done overnight, swags under the stars, campfires, some great camping (a couple of beautiful desert oak sandhill sites plus Curtin Springs, Uluru and Warakurna camp grounds (hot showers much appreciated!).
Docker River was a highlight for the visitors, the interaction with local people, the dog proof gate at the store, the goats, and the great campground a few kms out of town, fireplaces and dunnies, and of course camels. It was fantastic experience for all of us, one I’d like to share in again. And one that many locals and visitors would revel in. Self-drive tours are a great experience and give a sense of adventure. I know that the NT Tourism industry is promoting this soort of experience, but perhaps we need to do more to make this type of adventure travel more accessible to visitors (knowledge/permits/gear, maybe guides?) I think there is huge potential here.
A favourite shorter trip of mine with visitors is down to Old Andado via Mac Clark Reserve, onto Mt Dare and then Dalbousie and maybe Purni Bore and beyond, then return via Charlotte Waters, Aputula, Rainbow Valley. Shorter still, down to Ewaninga petroglyph site, on to Chambers Pillar and back via Titjikala and the art gallery, then across to Rainbopw Valley.
Always a hit with the visitors, and never fail to enjoy them too. And up to Newhaven, great self-drive tracks there with interpretative notes … and the Binns Track north to the Davenport Ranges.
I think Steve Brown is right on this, enormous potential if we can get it right.

Recent Comments by Ian Sharp

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
The hill has been Untyeyetwelye to the Arrernte people for thousands of years. According to Peter Donovan (who wrote ‘Alice Springs, its history and the people who made it’ for the Town Council, published 1988) in the early days of European settlement the townspeople called it ‘View Hill’, and later ‘Stott Hill’. The RSL was granted ‘rights’ to the hill in 1934 by government, not by the Traditional Owners. The RSL then named it ‘Anzac Hill’.

Of course this was done at a time when Aboriginal people were unwelcome in the town, they were shunted down to ‘The Gap’, or confined to missions. Surely we have moved on since then? Is it so hard to envisage that the hill could serve both as war memorial and a symbol of the changed relations between our Indigenous people and our European settlers? It is more than strange that the capital city of The Centre, the heartland of the desert peoples, does not fly the Aboriginal Flag from the hill the overlooks our town.


Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
Crikey, what a whacky decision. Makes Alice look just like how many people in our country perceive it. And makes the Council look like drongoes. But I live in hope, been re-watching ‘Grassroots’ lately, the Mayor always meant well, but became known as Col ‘U-turn’ Dunkley as ‘circumstances changed’ Let’s hope circumstances change here too. Hopefully not everyone positioning for preselection for higher office.


What will our cultural celebrations look like in a generation?
John, I think you are seeing the issue in black and white, two extremes.
There is a lot in between. We have not always seen ourselves as an independent nation, we used to see ourselves as citizens of The Empire, many people called Britain “home”. Things change.
We are no longer the country we once were. We don’t turn a blind eye to domestic violence anymore, cops do not go ‘poofta bashing’, pedophile priests are no longer just moved to another parish, Carlton can no longer buy premierships.
And change continues with each generation. We will in fact have a stronger national identity when we get rid of the colonial flag, when we have an Australian Head of State (not just an Australian representative for the British monarch), and a day that ALL Australians can celebrate as their national day.
Of course we won’t get there through reasoned argument, we will get there the same way we got rid of the White Australia Policy, the older generation of believers will pass away and a new national identity will be forged.
So we can say weare no longer the country we once were, and our great grand kids will say this too in their turn, about “our” Australia. That tide of history just keeps on.


What will our cultural celebrations look like in a generation?
An excellent article. On the money for mine. The tide of history will wash the current flag and Australia Day (Jan 26) away.


Hazardous waste facility near Alice recommended by EPA
For those interested in the Tellus proposal: http://www.tellusholdings.com/project_chandler_fact_sheets.html


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