I was at the mass when Fr Adrian Meaney took …

Comment on Alice Easter 88 years after the altar arrived by Alex Nelson.

I was at the mass when Fr Adrian Meaney took Chief Minister Paul Everingham to task over the prospect of a casino being established in Alice Springs. This happened one Sunday in 1979 as I recall, and Everingham was in the congregation.
Fr Meaney was a staunch opponent of the casino and didn’t hold back his criticism during his sermon; however, Everingham was having none of this and stood up and gave as good as he got.
The argument raged to and fro for several minutes until someone else had enough and yelled out to shut up and get on with the mass.
That would have to be one of the most memorable church services I’ve ever attended.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Alice Easter 88 years after the altar arrived
@ Jim Brown (Posted April 22, 2017 at 12:10 pm): You must be referring to another occasion, Jim. The event I witnessed was long before the casino was operating, and what I described is what occurred. You were not the person to speak out on the occasion I witnessed.
Here are some facts: Fr Adrian Meaney departed Alice Springs on Sunday, March 15, 1981; the Alice Springs Federal Casino was officially opened on Thursday, July 9, 1981, and amongst its attractions on offer were the first poker machines in the town.
This shows your claim that “the casino was already in operation for some time” when Fr Meaney lectured the congregation on the evils of gambling cannot possibly be correct.
On the day prior to the casino’s opening a letter from the local Ministers Fraternal was published in the newspaper entitled “Casino will hurt many families” and amongst the signatories were three Catholic priests, they were Fr Kingston Summerhayes, Fr Pat Dodson (now a senator for WA), and Fr Dennis Murphy (who replaced Fr Meaney earlier that year).
There was much opposition to the introduction of pokies in Alice Springs including from the Town Council (notably Mayor George Smith, who feared their spread to other clubs in town); and a citizen at the time who also strongly opposed their introduction was Fran Kilgariff.

Alice Easter 88 years after the altar arrived
@ Careful with that $, Eugene (Posted April 18, 2017 at 5:18 pm): As far as I know, Fr Meaney is still going strong. The last time I saw him he was a co-celebrant of the state funeral for Bernie Kilgariff in April 2010.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

‘Bring back school based constables’
Oh, I don’t know about that, Evelynne – I recall there were a lot of ratbags during my time at school, and quite a number of them were the students 😉

‘Bring back school based constables’
@ Phil Walcott (Posted March 17, 2018 at 2:55 pm): Interesting comment, Phil, because when I was a student at the Alice Springs High School in the late 1970s there was a school counsellor employed there. Her name was Glynnis McMahon, if my memory serves me right, a highly regarded person who worked at the high school for many years.
She passed away in 1989 as I recall, and maybe wasn’t replaced at a time of increasing budgetary constraint. That’s speculative on my part but given you arrived here in 1993 not long after massive cutbacks to public expenditure including significant attrition of staff positions, that’s probably the reason there were apparently no school counsellors employed here by that time.

Federal study casts light on future source of town water
Our family visited the Rocky Hill lucerne operation in the early 1970s when an open day for the public was held there. It continued to operate throughout the 1970s but was long abandoned by the mid 1980s.
I still have in my possession the Primary Industry flow charts for the development of the horticulture industry in Central Australia from the mid 1980s onwards, courtesy of permission from then Horticulture Senior Technical Officer, Frank McEllister.
One aspect stood out for me, there was no mention of potential horticulture development at Rocky Hill.
I inquired of this with Frank, and he told me that area was excluded from consideration because it was reserved as the future water supply for Alice Springs.
This was at a time when it was still expected the town’s population would reach 50,000 by the turn of the century and the NT Government had officially announced the development of a satellite town on Undoolya Station would proceed.
All of this is now forgotten but history always comes back to bite us in the end.

Cops hush up dangerous joyride
I witnessed a similar incident that evening too, which I think was the same vehicle.
I was walking on the footpath next to the ANZ Bank along Parsons Street when this utility came screeching around the corner from Todd Street and raced towards the Leichhardt Terrace intersection.
The utility turned left and charged up towards Wills Terrace where I lost sight of it.
When I got to the corner of Leichhardt Terrace, I observed the utility speeding over the Wills Terrace Causeway where it spun around the Sturt Terrace roundabout, tyres screeching, and then charged back along the causeway onto Wills Terrace past the Todd Tavern, when I again lost sight of it.
Despite being a block away from most of the action I witnessed, I had no difficulty hearing the young hooligans yelling and shouting. They were clearly defiant and rebellious, and deliberately challenging authorities.
Presumably they felt they had nothing to lose by indulging in this behaviour and were heedless of the possible consequences of their actions.

A good spot for the art gallery?
Hal, this is just the latest attempt to re-purpose Anzac Oval as a village green, first proposed by the Alice Springs Town Council in 1979 and firmly resisted by the rugby codes (and especially by John Reeves, then ALP Alice Springs branch president, rugby league president, elected as alderman on the town council, and not long afterwards elected as Member for the Northern Territory. He is now a Federal Court judge.).
The village green concept was tried again in 1994 when the ASTC attempted to relocate the rugby codes to the Ross Park Oval, enticed there by the promise of lighting to facilitate games at night; and stoutly resisted and defeated by local Eastside residents, led by the Eastside Residents’ Association of which I was then a committee member.
And now here we go again …
Quite apart from the old high school complex, Anzac Oval itself is of considerable historical value as it is the first turfed sports oval in the NT and it was established entirely as a community effort over the summer of 1951-52 – no government assistance involved.
Part of that work was done by the town’s children who were organised by the new Youth Centre into an emu parade on one weekend that cleared the whole area of rocks and sticks.
Ah yes, the bad old days of Commonwealth control.

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