In the cool space of “Maximo of Mparntwe” I wander …

Comment on Step into this song of praise by Fiona Walsh.

In the cool space of “Maximo of Mparntwe” I wander as if amongst friends – the birds and plants who “people” my backyard, Alice streets, our wider country.
Mike’s luminous photos evoke diverse memories, facts to clarify, new biological insights and many grains of sensory delight.
“Ah, there’s the precious golden puff of Callitris pollen I once saw in a reverie of grief.”
“Was it a silk tent or communal bag in which he photographed those itchy grub caterpillar pupae?”
“Where’s Maximo in that billowing fabric of birds?”
“All those cute woodswallows huddled for warmth in a frosty morning.”
Walking home, I pass the Office of Northern Development. I imagine its images of cleared parched ground, highrise buildings looking inward, corridors of bitumen and concrete, oil developments and more.
The consequences of such “progress” typically kill and displace the animal and plant characters that Mike shares with us.
I hold onto the hope offered in his images, Adrian’s soundscape of our lands, Maria’s partnership and those who wisely funded their exhibition.
I will contribute to a crowd-fund so his books can inspire new generations.

Recent Comments by Fiona Walsh

Alice has hottest day on record
What do you do to help yourself, family and others cope with risks from extreme heat?
What strategies are available to people with less money, poorer health, less robust housing, failing air conditioners or scant infrastructure to help them cope?
How do we reduce risks of wildfire and environmental catastrophes?
Our own strategies should be shared and summaries of strategies used elsewhere need to be modified for central Australians.
Climate refugees from Central Australia is a possibility. Some people might have options to migrate to cooler regions. Others don’t.
It is important that the Alice News documents weather stories.  
Weather is the day to day events whose patterns are described as climate. Your readers’ comments (below) about where and when temperatures are recorded are relevant at small scale but understanding the trends is necessary and better actions are vital.
It is the trends that reveal climate change. It is the actions that may help us survive it.
Maximum temperatures are rising and the numbers of hot days in a year are increasing.  
This is evident in many national reports, the regional report with link provided below (publicly available on the CLC site) and the temperature graph included below.
Climate analyses done in 2013 need to be updated with analyses of data from the last five years (since the closure of CSIRO in Alice Springs, this has to be done by others). 
Cumulatively, weather and climate have powerful effects upon the natural and human environments of Central Australia. People and wildlife are and will be greatly stressed by the continuous high temperatures. Let’s expand public discussion about both reductions of emissions and coping strategies.
Mooney, M., F. Walsh, R. Hill, J. Davies, A. Sparrow and Central Land Council Lytentye Apurte Rangers (2014) Climate change: Learning about what is happening with the weather in Central Australia, A3 35 pp report by CSIRO with Central Land Council, Alice Springs Australia.
Thank you.


[ED – The graph below starts in 1943 and ends in 2013.]


Backtrack Boys: lessons in hope and perseverance
This film screens Araleun 7pm tonight. I recommend it for those who feel concern for young people, dogs and better lives. If your work relates to local people or intergenerational connections or ‘youth policy’ then see it. Deservedly, the documentary has won national awards. In some ways it emanates from Central Australia, The title holds a deep meaning that is wisdom learnt from Warumungu men. I hope their families hear the credit given – let them know. The Backtrack program reveals alternatives to costly punishment, detention and jail-dominated approaches.

Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: it’s not over yet
Of course the Aboriginal flag must fly on ANZAC hill (aka Atnelkentyarliweke). In my view, it should so as to:
– show respect to the modern Aboriginal population that those who are Other Australians live amongst
– remind us that the lands of Alice Springs were occupied and cared for by thousands of generations of Aboriginal people before European colonisation
– recognise we all live on or nearby legally-determined native title lands
– acknowledge the Aboriginal people who have died on the slopes and surrounds of Anzac hill
– honour the Aboriginal servicemen and women who died in defence of Australia and their country

These are sufficient reasons for the Aboriginal flag to continuously fly on top of a hill that is a sacred site, a memorial site and a major focus for locals and visitors. Both symbolic and practical actions are needed in Alice Springs.
The link to a petition is here –

No-brainer # 2
There are many reasons why I love trees especially River red gums.
This recent burn is less than 400m long and 100m wide but about 38 River reds have been damaged (more than “several”).
My adoration is unfortunate as it hurts deeply to walk amongst the carnage of amputated limbs.
Some of those trees were older than my great great great grandfather and certainly each of us.
These trees overlooked explorers, pastoralists, cameleers walk through Ntaripe (aka The Gap) and the Ghan line built.
Yes, a few River reds may re-sprout. But some wear scars from more than five fires. They are tiring.
Over the past few days, the fire brigade bravely poured more than 3,000 liners of water into one of several trees they’ve treated. But its roots, heartwood and sapwood still burn today.
It will soon fall down dead too. If you have trees nearby – pull the buffel grass weeds away; be careful with fires. Don’t burn other people’s country. Please look after this country.

They must be joking!
‘Rabbit With Yellow Mustard’ and a ‘Camp Oven Court’ seem a suited combination. See an excellent recipe from Milner Meats and a comment on earlier article that the courthouse reminded reader of a camp oven. Perhaps when Adam Giles’ government are celebrity chefs they could cook and eat that rabbit on the top floor. All in all, a costly insult to current and future Central Australians and our townscape.

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