Here’s another thought to gnaw upon – the Wild Dog …

Comment on NAIDOC celebrates the Wild Dog Story of Alice Springs by Alex Nelson.

Here’s another thought to gnaw upon – the Wild Dog story on face value cannot be ancient, given that it’s known from fossil records and other sources that wild dogs or dingos were introduced to Australia about 5,000 years ago.
That’s comparatively recent; and Aboriginal people would have been living here in the Centre many thousands of years prior to dingos turning up on the scene.
There’s at least one very old rock art site in the Top End which illustrates this point nicely, as it clearly depicts not dingos but thylacines (Tasmanian tigers). These animals, along with Tasmanian devils, were displaced across the Australian mainland by dingos (which in turn never made it to Tasmania).
So it begs the question, what was the original Dreamtime creation story for the Alice Springs area? Is today’s Wild Dog story an adaptation of a Thylacine story?
Recent research into Aboriginal stories along Australia’s east coast relating to changes in sea-level rises has proven to be remarkably accurate, giving an account of events that occurred at the end of the last Ice Age some 11,000 years ago.
In light of this, it seems to me there is a potentially rich field of inquiry into a similar aspect to the Creation stories pertaining to Mparntwe, which to my knowledge, hasn’t been given any consideration.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

NAIDOC celebrates the Wild Dog Story of Alice Springs
The question posed for the “Dog Rock”: “How can the disrespectful situation at Akngwelye Thirrewe be tolerated?” could be turned around as “how has it managed to continue to exist there”.
It’s in the vicinity of where the Central Australian Railway passenger terminal once used to be, which for decades was the principal transport hub servicing Alice Springs.
When you take into account the war materiel and tens of thousands of Allied troops that passed through this site during World War Two (up to 56 trains per week at one stage) and that the Alice railhead was actually one of Australia’s busiest in the 1950s, handling the bulk of the NT’s cattle exports transported to South Australia – all at a time when Aboriginal sacred sites simply didn’t register in the public consciousness, it’s astonishing to me that this little outcrop of rock avoided being demolished through all of this time.
Inconspicuous as it is now, Akngwelye Thirrewe for the last 30 years is safe as it’s ever been since the railway arrived here in the late 1920s.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

No youth detention facilities in residential areas: MLAs
It’s only in comparitively recent times that we’ve developed an abhorrence to gaols and juvenile detention facilities within or near suburbia.
There are two heritage-listed old gaols in or close to the CBD area of town. The old gaol in Stuart Terrace – now the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame – was built in 1938, simultaneously with the old Alice Springs Hospital and the Royal Flying Doctor Service, all neighbours along the same street frontage facing Stuart Park.
There was also new housing on the other side of Stuart Park (now a historical precinct) where the top bureaucrats and civil servants of the day lived, all in close proximity to the gaol. Nobody minded.
In the early 1960s more housing was built between the old Alice Springs Gaol and the new Traeger Park oval. Our family moved into a new residence on Telegraph Terrace on the block between the gaol and Traeger Park, living there for three years.
There was also a new motel (Midlands) and primary school (Traeger Park) built within a short distance of the old gaol – again, nobody was fussed about it.
In 1977 the first juvenile detention facility in the NT, called Giles House, was officially opened by Senator Bernie Kilgariff on the corner of South Terrace and Kempe Street in the Gap area.
I’m unaware that anyone objected to its presence in that suburban location.
There were many escapes from the old gaol and Giles House over the years, it’s nothing new.
It wasn’t until the new Correctional Facility was opened in 1996 that the practice commenced of putting gaols well outside of the town area. Now many of us think that’s a normal situation but, from a historical viewpoint, it’s quite unusual.
If a juvenile detention facility is established near the Desert Knowledge Precinct, it’s still a considerable distance from the nearest suburban area of Kilgariff.
Seems to me some people are considerably overstating the risks and simply giving vent to their prejudices.


Independents now ineffective?
Alice Springs has a long tradition of CLP members becoming independent representatives, starting with Rod Oliver (Member for Alice Springs) who lost preselection to Denis Collins in 1980; Denis Collins (Member for Sadadeen) who in turn lost preselection to Shane Stone in 1987 and was twice re-elected as an independent; and likewise Loraine Braham (Member for Braitling) who lost CLP preselection in 2000 but went on to win two subsequent campaigns.
One might include Ray Hanrahan (Member for Flynn) who resigned from the CLP in mid 1988 and continued as an independent for about three months before his resignation from politics. By the standards outlined by Steve Brown, Hanrahan took the honourable course but the subsequent by-election on September 10, 1988, didn’t work out too well for the CLP – the party came last out of three candidates with a swing of over 21% against it, and it was CLP preferences that enabled NT Nationals candidate Enzo Floreani to take the seat.
And then there was Alison Anderson (Member for MacDonnell) who resigned from the ALP and ricocheted from the CLP to Palmer United Party to independent (I forget the exact order).
One can go back over half a century, when independent Member for Alice Springs, Colonel Lionel Rose, announced in the NT Legislative Council in August 1965 that he was the leader of a new political party, the North Australia Party – and he was strongly supported by Non-Official Member, Bernie Kilgariff, who worked in close association with Rose.
The NAP didn’t last very long – it was wiped out in the elections of October 1965, with only one candidate, Tony Greatorex, winning the seat of Stuart. Greatorex, in turn, joined the Country Party when it was established in July 1966.
Whatever one may personally think about elected members changing their allegiances while in office, there’s never been a legal case against anybody (and that goes for other parliaments, too) obliging a sitting member to resign because they’ve changed their minds about party memberships. It’s up to voters to decide their fates whenever elections are called.


Anzac Oval will be site for gallery: Gunner
Twenty years ago Alice Springs found itself in a remarkably similar situation.
The NT Government was determined to demolish the old gaol in Stuart Terrace and replace it with infill development (all the rage at the time). The NTG was CLP and, under Chief Minister Shane Stone, had been returned to power with an overwhelming majority of 18 members.
There was resistance from local residents determined to save the old gaol as a heritage site. The arguments we’re reading and hearing today over the old Anzac high school and oval site for the NAAG are markedly similar – nearly identicial in many respects – to the bitter dispute that raged for months those two decades ago.
What was the outcome? The NT Government lost on two counts; first, the old gaol was saved; and second, the CLP lost office at the next general elections in 2001.
The CLP had been in power for 27 years but the current Labor government, behaving in exactly the same fashion as the CLP 20 years ago, is only halfway in its first term.
We live in a time where political party allegiances are evaporating, and voters can and do switch their support in no uncertain manner.
Given the astonishing high handed arrogance of the Gunner Government, it seems fairly clear it will suffer at the hands of the voters at the next Territory elections.
History – and contemporary politics – unequivocally demonstrates that big margins provide no protection in the polls anymore.
The inference is obvious.


Four charter flights from Japan to Alice Springs
The concept of Alice Springs Airport serving as an international flight arrival and departure facility is an old one.
It’s typical of the difficulties this region faces with major infrastructure developments of this kind; consider, for example, the histories of constructing the north-south railway (well over a century from its original conception), the sealing of the south Stuart Highway (this took decades), and the still awaited sealing of the “Outback Way” and Tanami Road (first called for by new Member for Stuart, Tony Greatorex, in 1966).
Nothing new in any of this; and it’s telling that progress on these issues is no faster under self-government of the NT (or, in the case of the airport, under private ownership) than it was when the Commonwealth had direct control of the Territory.
Some of us may live long enough to see the completion of all of these major transportation infrastructure developments for Central Australia.


Planning an Aboriginal art centre without Aboriginal people
What everybody seems to be avoiding here is that Doris Stuart has made a serious allegation of being misrepresented as a part of the “group preparing for the gallery” without her knowledge or approval.
She also raises serious questions about the operation of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.
Many years ago, when working as the storeman for Woolworths Alice Springs, I was confronted with an allegation of theft of a consignment of seafood (about $2000 worth, as I recall).
The docket acknowledging receipt of the consignment was signed in my name – except the signature wasn’t mine.
Whoever was responsible for the theft didn’t even bother to attempt to mimic my actual signature but the store management equally couldn’t be bothered to check that fact, too.
I never heard another word about it despite the fact an inhouse crime had been committed.
So I have some understanding of what Doris Stuart is complaining about, and I would consider that she is a victim of an act of corruption.
This should be formally investigated, in my opinion.


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