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

NT tourism turbocharger out of gas as Feds eye off Kakadu
A cash splash of $216m versus $220m for Kakadu/Jabiru as the race commences for this year’s Federal election campaign.
Hmm, is it Tweedledum and Tweedledee, or Heckle and Jeckle? Cartoonists could have fun with this double act.


Traditional owners unite to dump Anzac as gallery site
It’s worth keeping in mind that the council-owned lease for Anzac Oval extends over the car park area in front of the school.
The NT Governent-owned lease starts from the front of the main school building and extends through the rear of the campus, so it’s not as big an area as many probably assume.


National Indigenous Art Gallery future in doubt: Gunner
This utter debacle should mean that several heads will roll, from the Chief Minister down.
If this happened anywhere else in Australia, that is what would happen.
An absolutely disgraceful performance, and I predict it will get worse before this matter is terminated.


The financial crisis in the Northern Territory
While we navel-gaze at our own dire financial situation in the NT, a report just posted on the ABC News site states: “Since its recent peak in late-August, the local market has plummeted by about 12% — as investors grow increasingly concerned about an unresolved trade war, slowing global economic growth and the United States raising interest rates too quickly.
“Sentiment is as bad as I’ve seen it for a long, long time … the negativity is absolutely rife,” Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone, said.
“Ultimately, the market is concerned if we do see a resolution between those two nations [the US and China] … the damage has actually been done to the global economy and we’re hurtling towards a recession.
“Equities is a confidence game, and if it goes down in China, Japan, Europe and the US, we are going down as well — there’s no doubt about that situation.”
That “we are going down as well” is us – Australia as a whole.
If recession is now on the cards, I think we can forget about assistance for the NT. The money is just not going to be there.
In my article “The forgotten lesson” I stated near the conclusion “currently both national and world circumstances appear decidedly tentative at best. We’re likely to find ourselves overtaken by events well outside of our control.”
At present it appears those events are now starting to overtake us.


Alice has hottest day on record
@ Fiona Walsh (Posted January 2, 2019 at 3:12 pm): Thank you, Fiona, for your most informative post.
The closure of the CSIRO in Alice Springs is, I consider, one of the most short-sighted and regrettable decisions ever made as far as Central Australia is concerned but typical of the myopia that afflicts contemporary coast-oriented bureaucracy.
Maintaining the presence of the CSIRO in the Centre would surely have been as vital in these times of worsening climatic conditions and consequent impacts on the environment as it ever has been in the past.
However, the loss of the CSIRO in Alice Springs is symptomatic, and certainly symbolic, of the lack of concern and real regard for so much of the real Australia.


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