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

Ring a bell?
Is it just me, or is it the case that the “Boundless Possible” embarrassment has suffered a swift death, consigned quietly to the wheelie bin of history?
Ah yes, a government elected into office that promised us all greater standards of honesty and accountability; but no, it’s just business as usual, that we’ve long endured for decades in the Northern Territory.
It really makes no difference who’s in charge.


Four dogs suspected poisoned with 1080
@ Ruth Weston (Posted September 7, 2018 at 1:08 pm): Sodium fluoroacetate is the commercially produced 1080 poison, and is closely related to potassium fluoroacetate, the poisonous chemical found in a wide variety of plant species.
Both chemicals have the same effect, disrupting the Krebs Cycle (or Citric Acid Cycle) which disrupts the ability of cells to metabolise carbohydrates, fats and proteins for energy production.
It was biochemist Ray Murray, based in Alice Springs with the Animal Industry Branch from 1954 to 1966, who first identified the naturally occurring 1080-based compound that occurs sporadically in poison Gidgee (Acacia georginae) which plagued the beef cattle industry in the east of Central Australia and across the Queensland border.


Stagnant CBD; industrial land, rental shortage; houses hold
The photo caption “The ANZ Bank has relocated from this prime Todd Street North site, opposite the Visitor Centre, to Gregory Terrace” serves – perhaps inadvertently – to emphasise the “moving of deckchairs” in the CBD, as the Visitor Centre itself was relocated to its present site a few years ago from its former Gregory Terrace location adjacent to the Civic Centre … and that particular building, the former Queen Elizabeth II Infant Welfare Clinic, that was heavily modified and opened to great fanfare in 1997 as the new Visitor Centre, remains steadfastly vacant.
Aside from the shift of the ANZ Bank (which, incidentally, opened its doors on its former Parsons Street site in August 1962, exactly 56 years ago) and the recent Wicked Kneads shop on the opposite corner now up for sale, there has also been the closure recently of two nearby hairdresser businesses, too – one of which was for sale for a long time but obviously attracted no serious interest.
Just yesterday, walking along Gregory Terrace, I was shocked to see “For lease” notices plastering the windows of La Casalinga restaurant, a long-standing business in this town and even something of an institution.
This town has weathered significant economic downturns on previous occasions – the mid 1970s, the late 1980s and early 1990s – but I’ve never seen the relocation of so many businesses (the “shifting of deckchairs”) on such a scale as has been occurring in recent years. It’s quite a phenomenon.
This situation is concurrent with the only significant new developments – the Green Well Building in Bath Street and the multi-storey Supreme Court building in Parsons Street – being occupied by government departments and instrumentalities, to the detriment of existing commercial lease stock in town. These developments, along with the re-opening of Todd Street North to traffic again, have done nothing to arrest the decline of the CBD, notwithstanding all the hype and propaganda of government and the private sector arguing in support of them.
Recent history quite clearly shows that the proposed National Indigenous Art Gallery will prove NOT to be the economic nirvana for this town. Exactly the same rationale was given for the developments of the casino almost four decades ago, the major hotel developments in the 1980s and the Alice Springs Desert Park in the 1990s – clearly none of these institutions, either on their own or altogether, have assisted in averting the current decline of our town, and there is no reason or evidence to show that the gallery will prove to be any different.
On the contrary, it will be yet another expensive long-term burden for the taxpayer to bear.


Town Council riven by conflict, lack of leadership
@ Alex Hope (Posted August 15, 2018 at 11:43 am): You may not be aware just how true is your remark “party politics have always been a part of the town council.”
Here is the slogan for one candidate in the first town council by-election (for two vacancies) for March 24, 1973: “THIS IS YOUR … ALP CANDIDATE IN SATURDAY’S COUNCIL ELECTION. VOTE 1 HADDON, D.J.”
As it turned out, Dennis Haddon came third in the poll on that occasion; however, when Alderman Paul Everingham resigned from the town council in early July 1973, instead of going to another by-election it was decided to appoint Dennis Haddon to replace him.
Anybody who knows the history of Territory politics will appreciate the irony – but wait, there’s more: When Paul Everingham stood as a candidate for the first town council election campaign in June 1971, his election advertisements were authorised by “Peter Edward John Gunner, Stuart Highway, Alice Springs”. Yes, it was current CM Michael Gunner’s grandfather.


Town Council riven by conflict, lack of leadership
Councillor Matt Paterson was nominated by Jamie de Brenni for the position of Deputy Mayor, which was seconded by Jimmy Cocking. Matt Patterson has stated this on ABC radio.


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