Riot in the shadow of Ayers Rock

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

The school was trashed and community staff were in fear of their lives when a sports weekend at Mutitjulu turned into mayhem that lasted till Wednesday last week.

 

A local worker speaking on the condition of not being named says the population of 300 swelled to 800, many of them drinking alcohol, taking drugs and sniffing petrol.

 

The mob was making violent threats to locals, demanding money.

 

The worker in the community at the base of Ayers Rock (Uluru) says police reinforcements were pulled out after the weekend, after which the rampage escalated.

 

The damage to the school (pictured) occurred on Tuesday night. The damage is estimated between $100,000 and $200,000. Furniture and computer equipment were trashed.

 

The worker says the visitors to the football and softball carnival came from Territory, WA and South Australian communities.

 

The worker says the community employees were stretched to their limits, are still frightened, and many are now thinking about leaving.

 

UPDATE 1:50pm

 

Alice Springs detectives are investigating two incidents which occurred in Mutitjulu on the night of 28 October.

 

It is alleged a group of male youths aged between six and 13, unlawfully entered the school causing a significant amount of damage. It is believed the youths damaged windows to gain access to a classroom.

 

Once inside it appears they have smashed a number of computers, electrical items as well as tables and books. It is believed a fire extinguisher was discharged within the room, as well as a quantity of red paint thrown around. Another classroom was also entered and damaged in a similar manner.

 

It is alleged the same group unlawfully entered the respite centre next door and stole a quantity of food and other items. It is believed the group caused approximately $100,000 worth of damage.

 

Four youths have been dealt with by way of youth diversion. One youth was released back into the care of his parents and the other two, believed to have been involved, have returned to their interstate homes.

 

– MEDIA RELEASE from Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Malley.

 

UPDATE 5:30pm

 

There are two officers stationed at Mutitjulu and three officers at the nearby community of Yulara.

There has been no request for reinforcements or information suggesting there has been unrest in the community with the exception of the school incident.

 

– POLICE MEDIA

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11 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Ian Sharp
    Posted November 10, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I see Nimby at it again, bravely badmouthing others from behind a non-de-plume. Backbone Nimby, grow one.

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  2. Nimby
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Nothing new except publicity, which is welcome.
    Kids in isolation have little outlet and this area is very isolated.
    An approach to resolving this sort of childishness would involve material provision of a pathway out of poverty as well as penalty for those that choose the free lunch.
    If you teach your kids in Pitjantjatjara to be useless anti-authority racists then all you will achieve is nothing for your people. Wake up!
    It’s a hard life in isolated Aboriginal communities and high time that we stop pandering to tribal obstruction to a better life for youngsters that see and want a way out.
    Nor should we pander to the legal parasites, who wish to impose themselves as gatekeepers to freedom.

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  3. Ralph
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 5:50 am

    I hope the teachers at Mutitjulu don’t read that post, suggesting the trashing of their school could be their fault.
    There is nothing more disheartening for bush teachers than having your school broken into and damaged.
    The community will be lucky to keep them after this and if they leave attendance will fall until the students get to know their replacements.

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  4. Sam Harrison
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    … or possibly the teachers are slack and have no accountability with regards to assisting student attendance. Last I heard there were 40+ students in the community but only about five kids are being educated. Therefore the students have no respect for the teachers and gave them just deserve.

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  5. Dr Duncan
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    Want Crime Busters? Bring in QUEENSLAND coppers!

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  6. Yellow Haze
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Looks like the boss of education in Alice has been doing little to get things sorted.
    According to what the AEU NT has been saying there is an expectation for teachers to clean up. I notice there has been no comment from DoE in Alice.
    As for the individuals who did the damage it just says heaps. Got no future, let us smash everything and no doubt engage in drug taking.
    Cardfightback on this mess.

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  7. Terry
    Posted November 7, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Does any of this surprise me? Not a bit.
    It is only another indicator of the demise of the outback NT brought on by the mishandling of crime by the Government (Local, State and Federal) over the past 20 years or so. Time to be hard on crime, and time to bolster the NT police and give them the power to act. They have been hamstrung for long enough.

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  8. Colin
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    More loose security at schools by the government. Teachers should not have to clean up this kind of mess, the Regional Director should have been on to this ASAP!
    If more people cared about schools out bush then this kind of stuff wouldn’t happen as often.
    That cardfightback mob must be spewin’.

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  9. K Everett
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    Four youths have been dealt with by way of youth diversion. One youth was released back into the care of his parents and the other two, believed to have been involved, have returned to their interstate homes.
    What a joke, perhaps if I did the same would I be sent home … I don’t think so.
    Drag them back, at least make them clean it up back to the way it was.

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  10. Paul
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    It ought to be quite a simple matter. Seven kids involved and they’ve been identified. They’re minors so can’t be held responsible so their parents ought to be. Damages per kid or family work out to be $14k – $28k, depending on the actual cost.
    A combination of Centrelink deductions, salary deductions and commitment of a portion of royalty payments over a couple of years should see each family clear their debt. If things are really desperate they could get a job at the resort to help pay the bills.
    And heck, if mum and dad feel the pain in their pocket they might even discipline the kids and the kids might learn they have done the wrong thing.
    And if they have to do without a few things because of their kids’ bad behaviour, mum and dad might come to appreciate the value of the money in their pocket.

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  11. Sandra Hinschen
    Posted November 6, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Well nothing has improved in the six years since we were abused and belted at Mutitjulu. Why am I not surprised?
    I don’t think that anything was done to the youth who did this (and his mother). I do know that the elders got him out of the community that night and over to Warburton in WA. No justice for anyone if they keep getting away with all their rubbish. It makes it all so bad for the good Aboriginal people and we met dozens who just want to get on with it.

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