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

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@ Concerned Arrernte, @ Evelyne Roullet, @ Kathy: At the heart of the issue is the ceremony on Anzac Day.
Until all of us can come to an amicable agreement on how many flags to fly – and lower – at the dawn service, then perhaps the traditional Aussie ceremony can be transferred to say outside the Council Chambers. The Arrernte people then have a choice. They could continue with the one on Anzac Hill, or join in with the one on the lawns.


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Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
@ Evelyne Roullet. Yes. Could not agree more.
Used to meet Mrs Higgins at the gate, every year, at the sports on Bangtail Muster Day and at the gate at Traeger Park, for 31 years.
Wonderful memories of a great lady who put her heart and soul into all the kids of Alice. The Youth Centre and the Gap Centre. Great places.


Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
@ Evelyne Roullet. I bet that the late Mrs Joan Higgins, a WW2 nurse who nursed the wounded in Alice, and whose Youth Centre sits under the shade of ANZAC Hill where so many town kids came together for sport, would be looking down and smiling on your beaut idea.


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