Thank you, David THE Lone Dingo. The “We of the …

Comment on Home at last? by Russell Guy.

Thank you, David THE Lone Dingo. The “We of the Never Never” statues opposite the Mataranka pub are also worthy and life-like with appropriate inscription. Yvonne (?) did those and Mark Egan told me that she traveled the NT for many years in a Coaster. I hope to check out Penola one day.

Russell Guy Also Commented

Home at last?
There have been some interesting comments posted over this statue of Stuart, including the use of land, which at the time of British Settlement became Crown Land.
Since then, Government Reserves have become Christian Missions and they in turn have become Aboriginal communities and various forms of Land Rights have ceded title to what were once, and are today, Traditional Owners, according to Dreaming apportioned parcels of land, contributing to a cultural schema which enriches our country beyond measure.
Stuart’s journey of exploration brought pastoralists, miners and others into central Australia, including the Overland Telegraph Line, linking to the rest of the world, the railway and transport.
It has been so in the history of colonisation of Indigenous peoples and the post-colonial process is on-going, but in the postmodern deconstruction, we need to understand how the past has contributed to the present intergenerational inheritance of Indigenous people. Stuart’s story, as told by John Bailey, gives some insight into the man and his, sometimes dubious supporters who set the modern period in train.
There is a debate about further division of land titles, well-reported by the AS News Online, allowing Aboriginal interests to trade in lease and freehold title and this will require a change of legislation, but if it helps us to achieve productivity, hopefully, learning by the example of other states where the mining industry is monolithic in its take-over of land that is and can be used for other purposes, e.g., tourism, agriculture and living without mining, then bring it on.
The Freemasons did not anticipate the public art scuffle when they commissioned Mark Egan, nor did the sculptor imagine that his statue of Stuart would incur such debate and I wonder what went through Stuart’s mind as he lay dying, penniless, in England.
I hope that all heads will cooperate and, even in losing face if that be the case, that Stuart will be given the respect he deserves. It seems to me that an historical reserve would be best, given the controversy over a public place and that in the future, those who view this statue can be reminded of Stuart’s towering place in the history of central Australia and how the present owes his trail-blazing, notwithstanding those Indigenous cultures who observed the movement through their lands, including the events at Attack Creek, where he recoiled.
I find historicity to be a fascinating thing and one of the reasons why Australian history is more than just a personal hobby. Wisdom in hindsight owes its existence to it.

Home at last?
In the interests of keeping the record straight, I would like to clarify my comment below where I noted that “historically, the gun wasn’t an issue.” This was intended to directly refer to Stuart, lest his reputation be besmirched by those who used the gun to slaughter Aboriginal people in the multiple instances of massacre recorded in history and folklore, e.g, the Kalkadoons of Mt Isa.
I have given another example in the case of Ludwig Leichhardt where I believe there was goodwill existing between the inevitable incursion by Europeans into Indigenous lands, something which Native Title has, belatedly, but importantly, sought to redress with established freehold remaining inalienable.
In his recently published book about Leichhardt, John Bailey wrote “Leichhardt believed that a hundred miles beyond white settlement the Aboriginals were more likely to be curious or frightened than aggressive. It was only through contact with settlers who took their land, abused the women and ran drays through their sacred sites that hostilities arose” (2011: 152).
[ED – It’s land rights, not native title, which created inalienable Aboriginal freehold.]

Home at last?
Bob@August 25. Thanks for clarifying your position on the Stuart statue in terms of the appropriateness of its public display in contemporary Alice Springs.
Recent, illegal gun culture activity in Western Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Darwin is certainly of major concern. Lawlessness is increasing in the USA and Australia in relation to guns. Howard’s move against automatic weapons was notable. I commented that at the time of the Port Arthur tragedy which, from memory, occurred after Howard’s move, one person with a weapon may have shortened that rampage and that’s the essence of the American defence. It helps explains the level of violence coming out of Hollywood, which seems to enthrall our own film industry at times.
In reply to your concern about the Stuart statue’s presence in Alice Springs, I haven’t taken a position on where or if it should be displayed. I noted that historically, the gun wasn’t an issue, but since your clarification, I agree that it sets a militarist example as opposed to a pacifist.
At a time in our society when I believe we should be sending better messages to youth in alcohol supply and promotion, gun control is right up there with pornography and other drugs.
It’s the height of hypocrisy for society to sanction alcohol and allow it to be sold seven days a week, while trying to uphold a value structure that holds water.
I’m sure there are a lot of people who would disagree on manhood and guns, but the detail is in the State empowerment of weaponry for armed enforcement and appropriate licensing.
What defines a man is a debate which is sorely needed as are role models willing to stand up and engage with it. Thanks for expressing your truly noble sentiments.

Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Man in a hurry, surrounded by people who were not
It was about a quarter of a century ago – how time flies – a few years before I undertook a postgraduate Master of Social Science degree in sociology, anthropology and cross-cultural psychology (JCU, 2000), published the core of my thesis as BAPTISED AMONG CROCODILES: A History of the Daintree Aboriginal Mission 1940-1962 (Boolarong Press, Brisbane).
And it was before I did a further five years, primarily in alcohol dependency mentoring at a remote Central Australian community, this after 15 years of working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations around the country, mainly producing recordings and events for indigenous dance bands, that I thought that Alice Springs would become a kind of New York.
People from all over the US move to the Big Apple in search of greater opportunity for their dreams and aspirations and it’s no different among the Indigenous of Central Australia.
But I wonder if local town planners have factored this movement into their vision for the future?
Not so long ago, the too-often criticised police were talking about moving youth back to their communities, but the word is out that the purposelessness and abuse associated with these desert satellites is causing enough concern to render assisted passage to somewhere else.
These problems were first mooted, to my knowledge, by R M Williams in the 1930s who noted that the desert tribes were on a collision course with liberal alcohol supply.
Fast forward to the Gunner Government acting on most of the Riley Report recommendations (with the notable exception of banning Sunday takeaway).
It’s no coincidence that one of the most troubled neighbourhoods in Tennant Creek, where Sunday takeaway is currently under emergency extension, is referred to as “the Bronx.”
It’s early days in the implementation of various supply reduction measures, but 40 years of critical mass in the alcohol supply infrastructure cannot be exonerated for the Shakespearean tragedy of progressive Western values.
Beyond the alcohol plague, assuming that it will be reeled in, governments will have to give thought to how remote community families and former alcoholics will be accommodated in towns like Alice Springs, with attendant social support and employment opportunity.
The concept of safe or dry, no grog houses or Mandatory Rehabilitation Centres, will need to be extended to entire neighbourhoods, rising above the refugee or migrant settlements of yore.
This type of housing estate requires considerable financing, planning and input if it is to be built and assisted to succeed above the expectations of many of those who are complicit in causing the tragedy of lost generations and future opportunity.
It will transform the current vision of Alice Springs, but first of all, it needs to be put on the drawing board.
Ursula Le Guin, the novelist who passed away a couple of months ago, recently said: “I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope.
“We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality.”
Tracker was one. Surely, we can learn from what defeated his vision or the Enlightenment has bitten the dust.

Man in a hurry, surrounded by people who were not
I spoke to Tracker a few times during the Robert Tickner period. One of his more infamous quotes was referring to Aboriginal people as a farm for whitefellers to manage and be well paid for producing the current tragedy.
Quite a few informed commentators are now talking about assisting those who want to move from remote communities into towns where employment and education opportunities either exist or could be set up to end the hopelessness and various forms of abuse that can go with a purposeless life on a remote community.
More than one is talking about overcrowded housing as a major cause of dysfunction. I’m stating the obvious.
If Alice was to be a centre for remote community refugees to retrain, restart and realise a future, who would build the houses and where would they be built?
Who would pay the electricity bills while the transition is fostered?
Would Tangentyere and other organisations be resourced to manage this situation?
Could it even be done?
Tracker seemed to think so.
The Federal Government did it to resettle migrants.
I recall Bob Beadman saying a couple of years ago that alcoholism would bankrupt the NT, or words to that affect and finally, we have a floor price, but in moving from generational alcoholism to the provision of basic housing, it appears that there are too many hard questions not being asked or acted upon.

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: it’s not over yet
@ Fiona: There’s some kind of irony in appealing for symbolic unity under an Aboriginal flag when Kittles, an Aboriginal-owned company is continuously trashed by children of Native Title holders.
It suggests that there’s some other law at work and that trying to construct a body of politically-inspired law has limited chances of changing anything.
Whilst I don’t doubt the sincerity of your attempt to unify, I make the suggestion that the practical method of law enforcement, alcohol supply reduction and housing in Alice Springs for those who may wish to leave remote communities for education and employment opportunities in town has better prospects than adding to the divisions on the hill.

Chamber of Commerce in a grog Catch 22
@ Paul Parker, posted 1st March, 2018 at 6:49am: How appropriate was ‘Sit-down money’ and the ‘Two kilometer law’, Paul?
Do you absolve the critical mass of take-away outlets in the 5km radius of the CBD as having any impact on the situation you describe?
Generational alcoholism has something to do with the present historical ennui and the police have stated that they can’t arrest their way out of it, so we’ll have to agree to disagree on failures to deal appropriately with intoxication and disturbing the peace.

Bush foods: how can wild harvesters get a piece of the pie?
Good one.

Be Sociable, Share!