Quite apart from the obvious implications of disruption for sports, …

Comment on National Indigenous gallery process hijacked? by Alex Nelson.

Quite apart from the obvious implications of disruption for sports, Masters Games, concerts and the like at Anzac Oval, are also the heritage aspects of this area which (except for the Totem Theatre) have been completely ignored but are substantial.
I won’t go into great detail here but the whole area of Anzac Oval and associated nearby buildings might best be summed up as a youth precinct in the history of Alice Springs; for example, the Alice Springs Youth Centre and the former Anzac Hill High School are obvious, also the Senior Citizens Club which was previously the Natalie Gorey Preschool, the first purpose-built facility of its kind in the Northern Territory.
The former Anzac Hill High School began as the Alice Springs Upper Primary School built in the early 1950s which morphed into the original Alice Springs High School. One of its students, David J Tacey, was dux of the school in 1969 and studied in the first matriculation class of 1970 – he has become one of Australia’s foremost intellectuals of international stature but in Alice Springs we have no idea about that record. Ironically he could tell us a great deal about the depth psychology that lies behind all the arts.
That school also hosted annual pet shows in the 1950s – these events inspired the first Alice Springs Annual Show which was held at Anzac Oval in 1960.
That old high school building is every bit as important to the town’s history as the old Hartley Street School, which it ought to be recalled was hard fought for its preservation in the early 1980s against “visionaries” that wanted to bulldoze it in favour of redeveloping the town centre.
It might also be recalled that in the early 1980s the Alice Springs Town Council sought to have Anzac Oval repurposed as a “village green” with its associated sports codes required to look elsewhere for their bases.
Here we go again – the “visionaries” charging in with scant regard for heritage because they think their concepts will enrich our local economy, notwithstanding they have no evidence and certainly no track record of success from all their previous development disasters.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

National Indigenous gallery process hijacked?
@ David Nixon (Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:47 pm) and others: Calls for relocating the railyards out of the town centre area have a long pedigree.
In July 1973 the Member for Alice Springs, Bernie Kilgariff, was quoted: “The Commonwealth Railways seem willing to look at the idea of having the Alice Springs marshalling yards south of the Gap.”
His comment was in reaction to the news of a meeting earlier that year between the Alice Springs Town Council, Chamber of Commerce, Commonwealth Railways and the Department of the NT which “resolved that the Railways examine alternatives to the marshalling yards in their present location.”
This was followed up in November 1973 with a motion by Mayor Jock Nelson and passed by the ASTC calling for the relocation of the railway marshalling yards to south of the town; Nelson observed that in the long term there was considerable scope for the CBD and housing to expand westwards into that land.
This issue was debated at length in 1975 but ultimately Commonwealth Railways refused to budge.
The issue was revived by the Lands Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Ray Hanrahan in May 1987 when he told the NT Legislative Assembly: “Moving the railway yards would solve expansion problems in the Alice Springs central business district for the next 30 to 50 years; however, the chances of moving the yards were small because Australian National Railways was a law unto itself.” Hanrahan expressed regret about the failure to resolve this issue in the 1970s.
In December 1991 then local architect David Keeler also weighed into the issue: “The Alice Springs railway station, yards and corridor should be moved away from town to make way for priority medium-density housing” with the freed up land able to “provide accommodation for up to 10,000 people.” Keeler was critical of the then draft Alice Springs town plan, blasting the “disastrous ad-hoc style of development that had created an urban sprawl in Alice Springs.”
There have been other calls to free up the railway land in the middle of Alice Springs but the only substantial change is the development of some of that area for light industry that proceeded from the late 1990s.
Given this history, it seems unlikely that this option will be given any consideration at all.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

From mud, dust to grass: The beginning of Anzac Oval
@ Dr Ongo (Posted February 14, 2019 at 8:08 pm): You raise an interesting point; however, your observation applies equally well to other listed heritage sites, eg. such places as the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, Alice Springs Heritage Precinct (including Stuart Park, old hospital, old Alice Springs Gaol, and several houses in Hartley and Bath streets), and the Hermannsburg Historic Precinct.
There are histories, stories or law applicable to all of these places since time immemorial but other than to acknowledge previous Aboriginal occupation or use of such sites, I’m not qualified or knowledgeable enough to comment about them.
In regard to “untyeye that once grew there” at the Anzac Oval site (referring to corkwood trees – Hakea divaricata), only one still survives just inside the boundary near the Senior Citizens Club. It’s the same tree on the right of the photo, framing the new school, taken by Prue Crouch’s father in the early 1950s.
The heritage statement for the nomination of Anzac Oval does state: “The Anzac Oval Precinct contains several sacred sites.”
Thanks for your comment.

 

Corkwood


Home owner bonus: New build sector bleak, says CLP
The situation generally in the Northern Territory is giving every indication that it’s rapidly spiralling out of control.
I suspect the NT Government’s reactions are too little, too late; and this latest scheme will likely end up being home owner bogus rather than bonus.


West Macs fire mitigation critically inadequate: Scientist
Such a shame, Steve, that we’re unable to harness your sprays to put the wildfires out.


Government fails to protect major tourism asset
My recollection is that the major wildfire years in the earliest period of this century were 2002-03, and again in 2011. Both of those periods closely followed years of exceptionally high rainfall (2000-01 and 2010 respectively).
This isn’t unusual in itself – there were significant wildfire years in 1968 (following the breaking of the drought in 1966) and in 1975 (following 1973-4, the wettest period on record in Alice Springs).
What’s different now is that this major wildfire event has occurred after a very dry year, with a record set at Alice Springs in 2018 for the longest period without rain being recorded, although (as I recall) this wasn’t the case further west of town.
In the last few years, I’ve had the opportunity to travel west and east of Alice Springs a number of times and also to fly frequently to Darwin and back with clear views of the area around town.
The clear impression I’ve gained on every trip is the extent and dominance of the spread of buffel grass in the ranges.
It’s like a blanket hugging the ground as far as the eye can see. It’s spread is overwhelming, and the ecology of this region is forever changed.
There are often comments about the need for protecting Alice Springs from major floods but that’s the least of our worries.
It is major wildfire that poses the most serious risk to our town, and the recent disaster in the West Macs demonstrates this risk can occur at any time.


Don’t mess with our treasures, says Alice
@ Gavin Carpenter (Posted February 6, 2019 at 4:25 pm): Not the case, Gavin, the original structure overall is in remarkably good order, even down to one of the old projectors still existing on site inside the front entrance.
Neither is it the case that management or maintenance of other heritage-listed sites is too difficult or complicated “and eventually fall down anyway”.
Suggest you contact the chairman of the Heritage Council, Wayne Kraft, for a full explanation.


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