There have been some interesting comments posted over this …

Comment on Home at last? by Russell Guy.

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.

Russell Guy Also Commented

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.


Home at last?
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.


Recent Comments by Russell Guy

Gallery business case far from ‘well underway’
I remember when Nyinkka Nyunyu, the Warrumungu-owned art gallery / cafe / dancing space opened in Tennant Creek some years ago, just after I’d been living there, on and off, from the mid-80s to the mid-90s.
It was a cool place to hang out and buy art / artifacts / coffee / lunch, etc, but the non-rhetorical question I have is, how come Alice Springs doesn’t have its equivalent?
“Eugene’s Mate”, here’s an invitation to beguile us again.
And another thing, if the Gunner Government wants economic modelling, why can’t it commission figures from Nyinkka Nyunyu?
The TC building and space are adequate for the town and climate and it attracts tourist blog compliments.
There are a number of integrated community, climate-sensitive buildings in Outback small towns and centres, e.g. Muttaburra, without having an “iconic, once-in-a-lifetime” art mausoleum erected in Alice.
My third question is, how is it that Aboriginal organisations in Alice invest in supermarkets and car dealerships, yet they, to the best of my limited knowledge, haven’t said more than where they want the proposed art gallery / culture centre project(s)?
For some time, Territorians up and down the track have considered Alice to be a dysfunctional basket-case of a town.
“Once-in-a-lifetime” has just about passed its use-by-date.
Where is the vision?


Gallery business case far from ‘well underway’
@ Hal Duell. Posted 20th August. 2:51am
If politics really is the art of the compromise, then you might expect some attention be paid to my post of August 17, below.
Not just because it’s mine – others have said much the same – but because it suggests that the government has the economy in mind by investing in Alice Springs’ commercial heart.
Such a Keynesian gesture must ultimately survive on market forces and this is not the Museum of Modern Art.
A compromise such as I have alluded to aims to limit considerable taxpayer exposure while creating employment opportunity. Add in Trevor Shiell’s Yirara-style hospitality / cafe arm and it’s cooking.
However, as you comment, there’s more at stake than the economy.
All I can see is another court house on Anzac Oval and not from the government that gave us the first one.
All hail confusion!


Gallery business case far from ‘well underway’
The government assessed the original proposal, but didn’t act on its recommendations, so now we have another in the making.
Long-term viability, based on artworks is a risky business. Art cannot be made to serve a purpose, especially one designed by a government committee.
A compromise by blending art with a culture centre at the old Melanka site would give an architect and curatorial staff a brief that just might result in something out of the box – interesting, informative, entertaining and meeting the economic criteria.
It could involve music and theatrical performance in a multi-level, living space.
The way this predictable project is going, it will end in expensive tears.


Lambley gets hype not dollars on gallery
The Gunner Government recently stumped up for a full-page advertisement (with the ACT) demanding “rights” to legislate euthanasia, but that Bill was defeated yesterday by Senators changing their minds after consultation with the medical profession.
One wonders if the Gunner Government consulted similarly, before spending the dollars.
Maybe, like the Greens who also supported the Bill, they expected doctors to fall in line or be outed according to conscience.
Meanwhile, we read the same political pork-barrelling dished out in accusations to Jacinta Price.
At least, we have equality.


Beer and the tax man’s triple tipple
@ Alex Nelson. Posted 13th August, 2018 at 10:18pm: There is a considerable difference between Mr Gorbachev and Mr Putin which suggests that reform is whimsical.
I could go on about Mr Giles and Mr Gunner, but perhaps, Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” should be the tune at the next Cavenagh Street May Day march?


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