A major reason why we enjoy so many old river …

Comment on Old tree danger: council was told two years ago by Alex Nelson.

A major reason why we enjoy so many old river red gums in our urban environment today is due to a command forbidding Arltunga-bound miners and prospectors, camped on the flood plain that was destined to become our town, from cutting them down.
That order was made by Mounted Constable Bill South, based at the old police station next to Heavitree Gap.
Often described by historian Stuart Traynor as Alice Springs’ first greenie, Bill South is appropriately remembered by the road that bears his name along the west bank of the Todd River from Heavitree Gap up to the intersection with Stott Terrace (also named after a benevolent early policeman).
Many years later trees such as the Parsons Street river red gum beside the Stuart Arms Hotel and those opposite the (then) new Memorial Club were saved from destruction through protest by local residents of Alice Springs.
The NT Administration decided these trees posed a significant hazard to traffic (the Parsons Street tree, and also one in the middle of Todd Street, were nicknamed The Silent Policemen as they were uncannily efficient at abruptly halting drunk drivers) and determined that they should be cut down.
Some were lost but not all of them. That work was performed by the municipal branch of the NTA, and many on the labour force were Aboriginal.
In the days of heavy local overgrazing, dust storms and no air-conditioners, the big trees dotted around early Alice Springs were highly valued for their shelter.
Not only that, but many more river red gums were planted as street trees, especially along Gap Road where most continue to grow to this day.
In fact, in 1963 Olive Pink lobbied to have the name “Gap Road” replaced with “Van Senden Avenue” in honour of former Municipal Officer Dudley Van Senden (he left the Alice in 1954) who oversaw the first widespread street tree planting scheme in Alice Springs.
So let’s not have so much of this bunkum that settlers in the early history of Alice Springs didn’t care for or respect this country.
Undoubtedly most didn’t have the same perception or understanding of this country as the traditional owners of this land but it’s far too easy for the new chums of today to re-interpret recent local history to uncritically suit their own preconceived notions of what they think occurred here.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Liquor Commission: Lawyer, social worker represent Alice
It’s easy to be cynical and, yes, there have been many reviews, reports, commissions and the like into alcohol abuse, anti-social behaviour and crime, and associated morbidity over not just years but decades, indeed, long before we got self-government.
I was in my early years in primary school when the Member for Alice Springs, Bernie Kilgariff, initiated two major inquiries in the NT Legislative Council – one for the liquor industry, the other into the NT Police. That was in 1972-3.
The liquor industry inquiry was the first major one of its kind in the NT, and also the first to investigate the impact that alcohol abuse was having on Aboriginal people.
Its findings were appalling, especially for Alice Springs; and one of its many recommendations was the creation of a Liquor Commission to take primary responsibility of this problem from the NT Police. Bernie Kilgariff introduced the Bill for this initiative too but it didn’t come into force for several years.
Given the scale of the problems we continue to face to this day, which has generally increased commensurate with population growth in the NT, one has to question the efficacy of any measures that have been tried and failed over the years.
Where I take heart with the return of the Liquor Commission is the calibre of the new appointments to that commission, certainly those from Alice Springs.
Russell Goldflam and Blair McFarland have the runs on the board, and both have had to endure heavy public criticism at times for their stances.
They have the right qualifications, first-hand knowledge and experience.
They are eminently suited for their new roles; and, if there was such a thing, they would both be worthy recipients already of the Graeme Ross Award for Social Welfare (anyone who’s been here any length of time would know what I mean).
If their new colleagues on the Liquor Commission are of equal merit then I think there is at last some cause for confidence. We at least owe them a chance to make the changes all decent members of our society crave.


Liquor Commission: Lawyer, social worker represent Alice
Two of the worthiest individuals in our town I can think of to be appointed to the new Liquor Commission. I’m delighted by this news.
Both Russell Goldflam and Blair McFarland have been battling away on the intractable issues of alcohol abuse and related harm for many years, and very much deserve the opportunity they’ve been given to make a difference.
It will be very interesting to see how matters progress but I think this news is a very promising start.


Road Transport Hall of Fame is saved
This is great news to start the day. The lingering question in my mind is why the situation was allowed to get to the point where this major attraction was under imminent threat of being significantly reduced, and possibly under threat of closure.
Why endure the aggravation of crisis and emergency before action is taken to achieve a reasonable and satisfactory resolution for all involved?
Surely this outcome could have been negotiated in a more congenial and reasonable manner than apparently was the case.
However, at least this asset for Alice Springs looks set to be saved and for that we must be grateful.


Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill: the nays have it 
@ Steve Brown (Posted February 16, 2018 at 10:02 am): I’m interested to know, Steve, when it was that TO’s dedicated Anzac Hill for the purpose it now serves as a war memorial? The memorial was first dedicated on Anzac Day, 1934, and as far as I’m aware local Aboriginal people had no involvement in it. Is there a subsequent occasion when this matter was addressed?


Jacinta Price reneges on council undertaking
If Jacinta Price does win preselection to stand as a candidate in the next Federal election campaign, she will not be the first to do so.
On his third attempt, John Reeves was elected in a triple by-election as an Alderman of the Alice Springs Town Council in April 1981.
He was the Labor candidate for the seat of the Northern Territory in the Federal election campaign of February-March, 1983.
Reeves was successful, and his departure from the Council contributed to another multiple by-election in April that year (this was the occasion when Leslie Oldfield was first elected as Mayor after the retirement of George Smith).
Alderman Bob Liddle resigned from the town council in 1987 to run as a candidate for the NT Nationals in the Federal election campaign in July that year. He was unsuccessful.
The NT Government had earlier changed the law so that resignations by council members who stood as candidates for NT and Federal elections were not reinstated as council members even if the candidates were unsuccessful (at present they are).
Alderman Di Shanahan had stood as a Labor candidate in the NT elections of March 1987 and was also unsuccessful. The law being what it was at the time, a double by-election was held for the Alice Springs Town Council. Neither Liddle or Shanahan chose to run again.
The NT Government subsequently reversed this law to the current situation now prevailing.


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