It’s ironic enough that a women’s museum finds itself in …

Comment on The gaolers and the gaoled: new exhibition by Alex Nelson.

It’s ironic enough that a women’s museum finds itself in an old gaol but it’s all the more so given its appearance previously in an old courthouse.
The NPWHF’s occupancy of the Old Gaol highlights the long term chronic incoherence of the NT Government’s approach to heritage issues in Alice Springs, regardless of political persuasion.
When the NT Government (then CLP) announced in 1991 that a new gaol would be constructed south of Alice Springs, the initial intention was to preserve the Old Gaol. I suggested that the Spencer and Gillen Museum might be relocated there (subsequent to my earlier suggestion it be moved to the Araluen Centre complex), given that the NT Government had announced its imminent closure at the (then) Ford Plaza in April that year. My idea was enthusiastically supported by Roger Vale, the Minister for Tourism.
During the NT election campaign of 1994, the ALP promised to build a new home for the NPWHF at the Araluen Centre (reported in the Alice Springs News).
The CLP had a change of heart about the Old Gaol, deciding to demolish it to make way for hospital extensions and real estate infill development that had become all the rage in Alice Springs during the 1990s. While controversy raged over the fate of the Old Gaol, the NT Government also made plans to relocate the Spencer and Gillen Museum to the Strehlow Research Centre at the Araluen complex. The new Central Australian Museum was officially opened in August 1999, in conditions that have compromised the integrity of both the museum and the SRC.
Amongst those prominent in the clash to save the Old Gaol were Labor MLA, Peter Toyne, and then Alderman Fran Kilgariff (she was elected as mayor in 2000).
Yet when another heritage controversy erupted a few years later over the fate of the heritage-listed Rieff Building they were conspicuous by their absence.
Notwithstanding that the NT Heritage Council not once but twice affirmed the heritage significance of the Rieff Building, the Labor Government overturned its listing which was enabled by legislation passed by the previous CLP administration in the wake of its failure to destroy the Old Gaol.
The Rieff Building was destroyed in 2006, the same year the NPWHF was relocated to the Old Gaol (much to the dismay of its founder Molly Clark, I’m told). The opening of the NPWHF in its new home was supported with great fanfare from the NT Government, which announced that “The hall of fame will be the centrepiece of a first-of-its-kind tourism marketing plan for Central Australia” – a plan which subsequently fell into obscurity.

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.


Be Sociable, Share!