Erwin’s probing comments: The current state of affairs of the …

Comment on Millions spent, youth gets four hours a week by John Bell.

Erwin’s probing comments: The current state of affairs of the Youth Centre is sad testament to the demise of a once-great Alice institution.
The Centre and its matriarch, Mrs Joan Higgins, quietly emerged over the years as the gold standard model promoting family youth sporting and recreational activity for the holistic Alice community.
The Centre’s big fundraising day, the jewel in its crown, the Bangtail Muster Sports Carnival, brought the whole town together, crossing all cultural boundaries.
For 30 years, 1972-2002, I made sure I was in Alice on that day for the May Day Mile. Every year Mrs Higgins rang me, wherever I was, to encourage me to return.
Every year Mrs Higgins would greet me on my return and discuss the changing town circumstances that began to threaten the Centre’s big day with dwindling crowds. We also discussed the social dynamics.
First it was the rise of an increasingly affluent society’s “Sport of Kings” at Pioneer Park and other money spinning pursuits. Finally, the insidious burden of public liability proved to be the final straw.
Greeting me at the gate at Anzac in 2002, Mrs Higgins had tears in her eyes and her voice wavered as she sadly broke the news that this great community day could no longer continue.
As the small group of runners in the May Day Mile that day ran down the back straight in the final lap for the very last time, it was overwhelmingly sad, but at the same time uplifting, to see a solitary, happy young Aboriginal family cheering from the embankment … and then turning into the final home straight to be urged home by the sport’s day’s small group of faithful stalwarts, all the way to the finish line.
It is an Alice community tragedy, a monumental example of lost direction, a sign of skewed social priorities and political correctness gone mad, that in 2017 the Centre has now come to this, where a respected journalist is not even allowed in the door to talk about the Centre and its problems.
Mrs Higgins would be heartbroken.

Recent Comments by John Bell

Wakefield insists on Anzac Oval, ignores majority
Seems to me as a former Stott House rezzie long ago that the Melanka block is the perfect tourist spot for a gallery.
But what about the sacred site trees on the Melanka block? Would a space be left for them in the middle of the gallery?
Or have they been cut down? I confess I have not seen the block for a few years.


Martin Luther King III ‘disheartened’ by what he saw in Alice
@ Evelyne Roullet. I am not sure that your reference to this Latin phrase fits the critical grog problem social situation in Alice.
The full Latin phrase is “Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam”. Roman statesman Cato the Elder 200 years before Christ was reported by Livy and other historians as saying “furthermore, it is my opinion that Carthage should be destroyed”.
Carthage was Ancient Rome’s major enemy, sitting on its doorstep about three days’ sail away in what is modern day Tunisia. Long after Cato’s death, the Roman army on the Third Punic War left not a stone upon a stone of its rival city, decreeing that nothing was to be built on the site thereafter.
I don’t think anyone envisages the “tap being turned off” completely, leaving not a keg upon a keg in the pubs and takeaways of the Alice.
We have learnt the lesson. Grog is entrenched in the DNA of every race in human culture throughout the world.
We found that out in the western world with Prohibition that will never be revisited in Alice or anywhere else after the failed experiment in the USA of the 1930s.
The trick will always be now to wisely navigate the perils of over-indulgence, especially in our young people of all races and colour who are hammering themselves for whatever reasons with the added beast of drugs.
Like Ancient Rome, the grog solution in Alice will not be built in a day. We just have to keep looking for answers.


Large number of cars vandalised at Araluen
@Josh Davis. Josh. You are being a tad unfair, quite harsh, in fact, on 99.9% of people who have been expressing serious concerns about escalating property and increasingly violent youth behaviour.

No fairminded person has been “heaping endless vitriol” on these kids. They are simply distressed and fearful of what may well happen in the very near future if this massively destructive behaviour does not stop, no matter what the root cause is.

There has to be a balance between opportunities to rehabilitate/reconnect and getting these kids to take responsibility for their own actions.

They have to be taught, if they do not know already, that the consequences of their anarchic behaviour cause serious hurt and deep stress to victims and their families. Invariably.

In many cases the nameless victims they target suffer far more than the kids who are doing the damage.

Taking personal responsibility and growing up to be good citizens knows no cultural boundaries. All cultures must apply the same standards to be met by their youth.

If these kids can simply be taken back to talk to the victims they have hurt, every time, I believe the light will eventually switch on for all except the smallest minority in every culture who may never wish to change or give a toss.

It would also be comfort for the victims and conducive to better understanding and better relations between the feared and the fearful.


Large number of cars vandalised at Araluen
Is the Alice a very sad place now, or am I just imagining it?
So many locals and former locals of the Baby Boomer generation have been saying to me that these are the most depressing and awful of times compared with the Alice of the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
It seems to me that racial issues now take second place to the sheer lawlessness of Alice youth out of control.
The relevant authorities, both black and white, appear unable to stem the overwhelming tide of youthful social anarchy, let alone define and isolate the real reasons, far less coming up with any answers.
Where to now, Alicians?


A life in flowers: new account of the extraordinary Olive Pink
In a letter of thanks to Dan Conway and the staff of NTA District Office in Hartley Street in 1969 for remembering her birthday on St Patricks Day with a bunch of flowers, Miss Pink fondly recalled her favourite flower from when she was a little girl in Tasmania.
Primrose forget-me-nots.
Miss Pink used the term “Alician” to describe herself.
Thank you, Ms Ward, for this lovely tribute to a great Alician, a true Lady of the Red Heart who loved all flowers.


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