Earth Sanctuary inspired by long time Territorians

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Below right: Marie Petery (left) and June Noble. PHOTOS by Rebecca Punton Photography

p2328-Territorian-dinner-2By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Two hundred people who’ve lived in The Alice for at least 25 years sat down together for dinner last night.

 

The Territorian Dinner, the hugely popular annual event and a major service project of the Rotary Club of Stuart, was a milestone for the place where it was served: the ambitiously named Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre.

 

Sixteen years ago brothers Tom, Dan and Ben Falzon arrived in The Alice to do something big for the planet.

 

They had a prominent show biz career in Europe and Australia (Neighbours) behind them.

 

Now they wanted to translate the theory of climate change into action.

 

Their father, Joey, joined them.

 

They took up 50 hectares of bush on airport land and, by the sweat of their brows, carved out a complex where visitors can see, touch and marvel at a range of renewable energy equipment, learn about itsĀ use, look at the stars, and have a meal.

 

Joey lives in a geodesic dome they built. A second one, its coloured lights shining though the skin, is used as a classroom.

 

“We want to help people understand more about living sustainably,” says Dan.

 

There are two bars built from bush timber alongside the outdoor dining area, partly under a roof, partly under The Centre’s legendary star sky.

 

For much of the time the brothers worked as paramedics for the St John Ambulance to raise the cash for their dream.

 

And like all they touch it turned to gold: Their often dangerous, sometimes distressing work in the streets of Alice Springs was turned into a documentary for the Nine Network.

 

It has already had an audience of more than a million, says Dan. The network has a contract for five more screenings.

 

He says the documentary made sure that not only the town’s troubles were shown, but also the region’s beauty, giving it the “respect it deserves”.

 

And of course it gave the sanctuary a powerful plug: It now has regular visits of around 60 people from big tour companies such as Expanding Horizon and AAT Kings.

 

Territorian Dinners have been every year for more than half a century. Rotary Stuart took over about 10 years ago, and last night’s was arranged by co-president Denise Brooks.

 

Dan says it was not only one of their most ambitious functions, in terms of size, but a big honour for them, to have as their guest people who have so resolutely made The Alice their home.

 

They are clearly an inspiration for the Falzon family. Dan and his wife Alana (nee Naismith) have a little girl. Tom and his wife Anna (nee Schneider) have a little boy. Ben is engaged to Michelle Anderson.

 

And so another dynasty of high achievers is taking root in Alice Springs.

 

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School children learning about the environment at the Earth Sanctuary.

 

 

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3 Comments (starting with the most recent)

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  1. Ben Crawford
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    Work hard in the Alice and the you can do anything, its true. Well done, what a brilliant thing to promote sustainable living and the Red Center (A Town Like Alice).

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  2. Phil Walcott
    Posted May 16, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Such a sensational enterprise that focuses on sustainable living and creating opportunities for preserving our precious environment. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working with Dan and Tom in various capacities over their 16 year connection with the Centre, beginning with their roles in the Alice IS Wonderland initiative through to their hosting the most recent Tourism Central Australia Awards night.
    Their talents and skills are far-reaching from the essential roles as paramedics to their creative energies with the Earth Sanctuary.
    Such a wonderful addition to the rich community fabric of Alice Springs and Central Australia, the family is wished every on-going success in all that they seek to achieve.

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  3. Marli Banks
    Posted May 15, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Well done Joey, Dan, Tom and Ben. You are a credit to our community. So wonderful to hear positive stories of a sustainable future for the NT.

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