With regards to the river gums on the site and …

Comment on Trees on Melanka block no longer sacred? by Alex Nelson.

With regards to the river gums on the site and adjacent to the carpark opposite the Memorial Club, it’s worth recalling that many decades ago they were saved from being cut down due to popular protest from Alice Springs residents, long before there was any general notion of them being regarded as sacred sites.
Local Aboriginal people comprised a significant part of the municipal workforce in NT Administration times, and sometimes were involved in the removal of such trees – this was simply the work they were tasked to do.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Trees on Melanka block no longer sacred?
@ Ian Rennie (Posted December 7, 2016 at 10:38 pm): Well Ian, your “old bloke” informant is simply wrong, at least in regard to the river red gums on the site, as any aerial photos of Alice Springs from the 1930s will prove without a shadow of doubt.
Further westwards, only a short distance, the river gums gave way to a decent stand of coolibahs, a few of which exist in the streets behind the old gaol and in the railway corridor.
However, the “old bloke” is correct about the other trees on the Melanka site.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Federal study casts light on future source of town water
Our family visited the Rocky Hill lucerne operation in the early 1970s when an open day for the public was held there. It continued to operate throughout the 1970s but was long abandoned by the mid 1980s.
I still have in my possession the Primary Industry flow charts for the development of the horticulture industry in Central Australia from the mid 1980s onwards, courtesy of permission from then Horticulture Senior Technical Officer, Frank McEllister.
One aspect stood out for me, there was no mention of potential horticulture development at Rocky Hill.
I inquired of this with Frank, and he told me that area was excluded from consideration because it was reserved as the future water supply for Alice Springs.
This was at a time when it was still expected the town’s population would reach 50,000 by the turn of the century and the NT Government had officially announced the development of a satellite town on Undoolya Station would proceed.
All of this is now forgotten but history always comes back to bite us in the end.

Cops hush up dangerous joyride
I witnessed a similar incident that evening too, which I think was the same vehicle.
I was walking on the footpath next to the ANZ Bank along Parsons Street when this utility came screeching around the corner from Todd Street and raced towards the Leichhardt Terrace intersection.
The utility turned left and charged up towards Wills Terrace where I lost sight of it.
When I got to the corner of Leichhardt Terrace, I observed the utility speeding over the Wills Terrace Causeway where it spun around the Sturt Terrace roundabout, tyres screeching, and then charged back along the causeway onto Wills Terrace past the Todd Tavern, when I again lost sight of it.
Despite being a block away from most of the action I witnessed, I had no difficulty hearing the young hooligans yelling and shouting. They were clearly defiant and rebellious, and deliberately challenging authorities.
Presumably they felt they had nothing to lose by indulging in this behaviour and were heedless of the possible consequences of their actions.

A good spot for the art gallery?
Hal, this is just the latest attempt to re-purpose Anzac Oval as a village green, first proposed by the Alice Springs Town Council in 1979 and firmly resisted by the rugby codes (and especially by John Reeves, then ALP Alice Springs branch president, rugby league president, elected as alderman on the town council, and not long afterwards elected as Member for the Northern Territory. He is now a Federal Court judge.).
The village green concept was tried again in 1994 when the ASTC attempted to relocate the rugby codes to the Ross Park Oval, enticed there by the promise of lighting to facilitate games at night; and stoutly resisted and defeated by local Eastside residents, led by the Eastside Residents’ Association of which I was then a committee member.
And now here we go again …
Quite apart from the old high school complex, Anzac Oval itself is of considerable historical value as it is the first turfed sports oval in the NT and it was established entirely as a community effort over the summer of 1951-52 – no government assistance involved.
Part of that work was done by the town’s children who were organised by the new Youth Centre into an emu parade on one weekend that cleared the whole area of rocks and sticks.
Ah yes, the bad old days of Commonwealth control.

A good spot for the art gallery?
A follow-up to my previous comment, I’m informed that the asbestos has been removed from the old Anzac Hill High School complex so that is not an issue for the use of those buildings.
I’ve no doubt that old school site is of considerable historical importance to Alice Springs. Nothing should be done to remove them until that history is assessed. There should be no return to the situation that existed in our town in the 1980s, which in fact was the origin of heritage protection legislation in the Northern Territory.

A good spot for the art gallery?
@ Hal Duell (Posted March 10, 2018 at 10:53 am): It probably is the case there is asbestos in the buildings, Hal, but the place has been in use for a variety of roles since its construction in 1952 and I’ve never heard of anyone contracting asbestosis from that place or any other of similar age in Alice Springs.
I’m rather suspicious that asbestos is suddenly being raised now, it’s strongly reminiscent of the “concrete cancer” that became the excuse for the demolition of the legendary Hotel Darwin in 1999.
Hmm, are we witnessing history repeating – the old CLP regime overseeing the destruction of a city centre landmark in Darwin almost 20 years ago, and the current Labor government seeking to do the same for a historically valuable education landmark in Alice Springs? (Maybe it’s relevant to note the CLP government in 1999 had 18 members, as does the current Labor government. Warning! That big majority didn’t save the CLP from losing office for the first time at the next Territory elections in 2001).
The fact is the old Alice Springs Upper Primary School cum original Alice Springs High School cum Community College of Central Australia cum Anzac Hill High School complex is in remarkably good – and I note there is some use being made of it at present, too.

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