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

Preaching ‘treading carefully’ then sending in the bulldozers
@ Russell Grant (Posted September 24, 2018 at 11:00 pm): Quite so, Russell, and that area included the property of the Arid Zone Research Institute of which the area now occupied by Kilgariff was once a part.
The original dust control effort at AZRI was divided between the Soil Conservation Unit of the former Conservation Commission of the NT and the Institute’s farm management of the Primary Industry Branch/Department. It was the farm management of AZRI that undertook the dust control work in the southwest area of the property, including Kilgariff.
What’s happening there now is taxpayer-funded, government sanctioned vandalism on a grand scale that beggars anything we’ve seen (and criticised) for years on private rural properties.
The hypocrisy of contemporary NT government policy implementation is simply staggering.


‘Save Anzac Oval’ motion defeated
The current government continuously attempts to mask or deflect attention of its ineptitude by making constant reference to the previous CLP regime. It doesn’t wash – it’s just business as usual, regardless of which party is in power.
Right now there is significant evidence across the nation of most people fundamentally disillusioned with government at all levels, party politics, and (most worrisome) even with democracy. The behaviour we’re witnessing from the NT Government now (and from its predecessors) amply illustrates why this is happening.
Most people have had enough. Large numbers in parliament will not provide sufficient buffers against voter anger anymore.


Town planning farce: Lawler dodges the hard questions
This encounter instantly reminded me of a passage in George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” when Winston Smith followed an old man into a pub with the intention of finding out from him what life was like before the revolution that led to the rise of Big Brother.
Yet no matter how earnestly he asked the old man to recall the early years of his life, “Winston had the feeling they were talking at cross-purposes.”
He kept on prodding the old man for information but “a sense of helplessness took hold of Winston. The old man’s memory was nothing but a rubbish-heap of details. One could question him all day without getting any real information.”
Plying the old man with beer, he tried one more time but failed: “Winston sat back against the window sill. It was no use going on. He was about to buy some more beer when the old man suddenly got up and shuffled rapidly into the stinking urinal at the side of the room. The extra half-litre was already working on him. Winston sat for a minute or two gazing at his empty glass, and hardly noticed when his feet carried him out into the street again.”
Welcome to the Big Brother reality of honest accountable government in the Northern Territory!


Student boarding funding restored – for now
Isn’t that something? A minister of the NT Government has listened to concerns about a government decision, and reversed it in a day.
Little aggravation, and great relief for many, I should think.
Minister Selena Uibo has set a fine example – now, if only certain others of her colleagues would take notice of public concern about the NT Government’s poor decision-making over the location of the proposed National Aboriginal Art Gallery…


Remains of missing man found near Yambah
@ John Bell (Posted September 20, 2018 at 10:21 pm): The skeleton was identified, a young man only recently arrived in Alice Springs in 1965. It’s believed he was a victim of an accidental discharge of his rifle, not a suicide.


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