In 2011, as I recall, I put forward the suggestion …

Comment on Cultural centre – think big! by Alex Nelson.

In 2011, as I recall, I put forward the suggestion of the Melanka block as a site for an indigenous cultural centre.
My thoughts were that it is located exactly in line between Billygoat Hill and Meyers’ Hill at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden, both locations long recognised as significant / sacred sites to the local Arrernte people.
It’s also immediately adjacent to the town centre and on a major route (Gap Road – Todd Street) into town. (Incidentally, there was an attempt in the late 1980s to establish a local indigenous cultural centre on Gap Road).
I’ve been dubious from the start about the prospect of the “Melanka Towers” (and other previous high-rise proposals) being a viable development option for Alice Springs.
As I’ve mentioned several times previously, proposals for high-rise developments in Alice Springs always coincide with the onset of economic downturns, and I’ve no reason to believe that’s going to change now.
(Incidentally, last year I read with interest the recommendation of the 1969 HKF Report into future tourism development in Alice Springs and Central Australia that the proposed redevelopment of the old Stott House site into a much larger hostel accommodation complex should be relocated to another site. That recommendation was ignored, and construction of the new Melanka Hostel commenced in 1971).
However, while we wait for something to happen, it’s interesting to observe that two of the large Eucalypts (non-local species) on the Melanka site have perished, and others are in serious decline.
So whatever development may eventually occur there, it’s unlikely that most of the existing trees will be in a condition to be incorporated within the design and landscaping of that site.
I had a long conversation yesterday with a senior TO in Alice Springs, and she favours the Desert Knowledge precinct for the location of an indigenous cultural centre.
Her reasoning is that in the past (pre-European settlement) it wasn’t possible for people to enter Mparntwe (Alice Springs) through Heavitree Gap without first gaining the consent of the local Arrernte custodians.
Locating the cultural centre south of town would be an acknowledgement of that old custom.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

From mud, dust to grass: The beginning of Anzac Oval
@ Dr Ongo (Posted February 14, 2019 at 8:08 pm): You raise an interesting point; however, your observation applies equally well to other listed heritage sites, eg. such places as the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, Alice Springs Heritage Precinct (including Stuart Park, old hospital, old Alice Springs Gaol, and several houses in Hartley and Bath streets), and the Hermannsburg Historic Precinct.
There are histories, stories or law applicable to all of these places since time immemorial but other than to acknowledge previous Aboriginal occupation or use of such sites, I’m not qualified or knowledgeable enough to comment about them.
In regard to “untyeye that once grew there” at the Anzac Oval site (referring to corkwood trees – Hakea divaricata), only one still survives just inside the boundary near the Senior Citizens Club. It’s the same tree on the right of the photo, framing the new school, taken by Prue Crouch’s father in the early 1950s.
The heritage statement for the nomination of Anzac Oval does state: “The Anzac Oval Precinct contains several sacred sites.”
Thanks for your comment.

 

Corkwood


Home owner bonus: New build sector bleak, says CLP
The situation generally in the Northern Territory is giving every indication that it’s rapidly spiralling out of control.
I suspect the NT Government’s reactions are too little, too late; and this latest scheme will likely end up being home owner bogus rather than bonus.


West Macs fire mitigation critically inadequate: Scientist
Such a shame, Steve, that we’re unable to harness your sprays to put the wildfires out.


Government fails to protect major tourism asset
My recollection is that the major wildfire years in the earliest period of this century were 2002-03, and again in 2011. Both of those periods closely followed years of exceptionally high rainfall (2000-01 and 2010 respectively).
This isn’t unusual in itself – there were significant wildfire years in 1968 (following the breaking of the drought in 1966) and in 1975 (following 1973-4, the wettest period on record in Alice Springs).
What’s different now is that this major wildfire event has occurred after a very dry year, with a record set at Alice Springs in 2018 for the longest period without rain being recorded, although (as I recall) this wasn’t the case further west of town.
In the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel west and east of Alice Springs a number of times and also to fly frequently to Darwin and back with clear views of the area around town.
The clear impression I’ve gained on every trip is the extent and dominance of the spread of buffel grass in the ranges.
It’s like a blanket hugging the ground as far as the eye can see. It’s spread is overwhelming, and the ecology of this region is forever changed.
There are often comments about the need for protecting Alice Springs from major floods but that’s the least of our worries.
It is major wildfire that poses the most serious risk to our town, and the recent disaster in the West Macs demonstrates this risk can occur at any time.


Don’t mess with our treasures, says Alice
@ Gavin Carpenter (Posted February 6, 2019 at 4:25 pm): Not the case, Gavin, the original structure overall is in remarkably good order, even down to one of the old projectors still existing on site inside the front entrance.
Neither is it the case that management or maintenance of other heritage-listed sites is too difficult or complicated “and eventually fall down anyway”.
Suggest you contact the chairman of the Heritage Council, Wayne Kraft, for a full explanation.


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