Following on from Hal Duell’s comment, in yet another example …

Comment on Alice singled out in German Foreign Office travel warning by Alex Nelson.

Following on from Hal Duell’s comment, in yet another example of how history repeats in Alice Springs, I remind everyone of the case of two young German women in 1988 who unwisely accepted a lift just south of Heavitree Gap who were pack-raped by a gang of young men. This case went to court early in 1990, and the perpetrators of this vicious crime received quite light sentences which prompted uproar from the public and an appeal against the sentences by the NT Government. The victims even went public in the local media, such was their disappointment with the way their case was handled. It generated a lot of adverse publicity for Alice Springs, which also coincided with a period of stagnant economic growth and a severe downturn in tourism.
Nevertheless, the record shows that the tourism industry in Central Australia boomed right throughout that period of the 1970s and ’80s when crime rates were also sharply increasing. The local tourism industry is influenced far more by other extraneous factors than a poor local reputation for crime. All the same, if a permanent reduction in the level of crime and anti-social problems in Alice Springs can be achieved, that surely would be of great benefit to all of us, locals and visitors alike.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Alice singled out in German Foreign Office travel warning
The irony is that Alice Springs is considerably safer now than it was in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, most particularly in the period of 1989-91 when the Alice gained the dubious distinction as the “Murder Capital of Australia”. There were 11 homicides in the Alice in 1990, which worked out statistically as 48 murders per 100,000 (nationally it was 2 per 100,000). A similar situation existed in 1995, when Deputy ATSIC Commissioner Charles Perkins publicly noted there had been 12 murders in 11 months in Alice Springs.
In 1991, according to Mayor Andy McNeill (as reported in 1994), there were over 13,000 cases of protective custody cases recorded for Alice Springs alone; equating to over 55 per cent of the (then) resident population being found drunk on the streets at least once per year. That’s the highest figure I’ve found so far in the history of Alice Springs.
A decade later the figures had plunged by comparison but the year 2001-02 was another peak for protective custody cases, numbering 7813. That calculates to the equivalent of 27.7 per cent of the town’s population being found drunk on the streets at least once per year.
I don’t know what the recent figures are but what I can say with assurance is that the current law enforcement program being implemented in Alice Springs is the most effective I’ve ever witnessed (I’ve lived in Central Australia almost 50 years, and been resident within Alice Springs for the majority of time since 1989).
It is not true for anyone to claim that the current crime situation (which is still a serious problem) is the worst it’s ever been; a claim that has been made by a number of prominent individuals in this town in recent years.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
@ 5 Minute Local (Posted June 14, 2018 at 5:41 pm): Definitely living up to your pseudonym. Your suggestion is not a new idea – it’s been raised several times since the early 1970s.
The last occasion was when the construction of the railway north to Darwin was being finalised in the late 1990s-early 2000s when there was significant lobbying of the NT Government to re-route the railway around Alice Springs, including by the Alice Springs Town Council.
I also took up the cudgels on this issue as an individual and was publicly criticized by a local CLP member, notwithstanding the same member several years earlier had himself advocated the removal of the rail yards out of the town centre and to re-route the eventual railway to Darwin via west of the town.
These pleas were rejected by the government as being too late or too expensive (it would have added about three per cent to the overall cost, from memory). There’s no prospect of this happening now.


Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
@ John Bell (Posted June 13, 2018 at 7:51 pm): John, the only sacred trees on the Melanka site would be (or are) two old river red gums near the southeast corner adjacent to the intersection of Stuart Terrace and Gap Road.
None of the other trees I’m aware of on that site are local native species nor predate the construction of the Melanka Hostel.
This includes the towering lemon-scented gums of which the majority are now dying or dead as a consequence of lack of care and the extended dry conditions.
Consequently the trees don’t pose any significant issues for redevelopment of most of that area, at least as far as sacred sites are concerned.


Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
@ Hal Duell (Posted June 12, 2018 at 7:59 am): Hal, I’m still in the process of collating information. Gathering the history pertaining to this location is rather like measuring a piece of string but it all adds up to demonstrating the considerable heritage value of this site, the extent of which I think will surprise many people.
The nomination for heritage listing of the oval and school will definitely proceed.
The fact that this issue has blown up in the NT Government’s face demonstrates the stupidity of over-reliance on advice from vested interests (with no regard for anything except their bank accounts) and overpaid outside “experts” who have no background in local knowledge.
Once again we see the consequences of the corporate amnesia that afflicts this town and Territory, and history shows it makes no difference which party is in power.


Cemeteries could be turned into parks
There is another method of burying the dead which is also held to be environmentally friendly, it is called “promession”.
According to the Wikipedia entry on this subject, it’s a system of disposal of bodies of much more recent origin (two decades ago) than alkaline hydrolysis (19th century).
It involves cryogenic freezing of bodies in liquid nitrogen to -196°C (in effect, crystallising them) after which vibrations are applied that shatter them in minutes into fragments.
This material in turn is freeze dried and all metal or other non-natural components (eg. fillings, artifical joints) are removed.
The final stage involves “the dry powder being placed in a biodegradable casket which is interred in the top layers of soil, where aerobic bacteria decompose the remains into humus in as little as 6 to 12 months.”
Invented in Sweden, it’s a method already expressly adopted in South Korea and has expressions of interest from up to 60 other countries.
I think promession also deserves consideration as an option for burials.


Buffel grass legacy started under Canberra rule
Rolf Albrecht’s previous article “Early pasture work inspected” (NT Rural News, December 1983 – January 1984) – to which Dr Friedel alludes – also reviewed the progress of buffel introduction in the Barkly Tablelands and Tennant Creek district.
A short item followed on the final page of Albrecht’s report, titled “Gamba grass seed now available.”
It goes on to state: “Gamba grass seed is now available through agricultural seed suppliers.
“The quantities available this year are certified and have been grown by the Department of Primary Production, Mount Bundy Station and Koolpinyah Station.
“Gamba grass is a tall, tussock-type perennial grass suitable for the high rainfall region of the Territory.
“It can produce green feed early in the Wet season when it is capable of feeding large numbers of animals on relatively small areas.”
In light of subsequent history, the article rather ironically notes: “Gamba grass can be very susceptible to weed invasion so it is recommended to grow a companion species with it such as Pangola or Signal grass.
“If weeds such as Sida or Hyptis start to invade your new pasture, control them with 2,4-D and do this before the plants become tall and woody.”
Gamba grass was declared a noxious weed in the Northern Territory in 2008 and is listed as a Weed of National Significance.
The minister who declared it a noxious weed in 2008 came not from the Top End but rather from Central Australia – it was Alison Anderson.
Will leave others to contemplate the ironies.


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