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

Sleeping on the floor in over-crowded juvie
In Victoria, stats released last week show that the 15 to 19 age group has the highest rate of violent crime.
If juvie detention centres in the NT are bursting at the seams with teenagers who assault guards, surely this tends to suggest that around the country, this age group is in serious danger of breaking down the sovereign borders of restraint and authority’s control.


Remains of missing man found near Yambah
@ Alex Nelson. Thank you Alex. It was a very sad situation. I have often wondered about the two young lads who found him and how they must have felt.


Remains of missing man found near Yambah
This brings to mind the finding of a human skeleton in the early 70s.
Up on the cliff face of the MacDonnell Range near Heavitree Gap, stuck in a cleft, an old .22 by his side, ragged remnants of clothes, with pre-decimal currency in the pocket.
He had been looking out over Sadadeen for quite a number of years, discovered by young lads climbing.
I cannot recall if identity was ever established, whether it was suicide or an accident.


Business group may establish ‘federal’ prison in The Centre
@ Carly. Your rather crass comment is perhaps better suited to the Twitteratti social comment medium, rather than in this respected cyber news medium?


Business group may establish ‘federal’ prison in The Centre
Strewth. A Federal prison in the Alice. The mind boggles. It could be filled immediately with Feddie ratbags and bushrangers for whom warrants are still outstanding from Traeger Park days of the 60s, 70s and 80s.
I can think of a few lads to be cell block chiefs. And then there are the Eover boys, the Pioneer lads, the Soupies … the place will be chockablock in an eyeblink.
They will have to throw away the keys.


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