@ David Nixon (Posted November 6, 2017 at 8:47 pm) …

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

@ 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.

Alex Nelson Also Commented

National Indigenous gallery process hijacked?
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.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Why aren’t people listening to us? 
I attended the public rally held on the lawn outside the Civic Centre but initially wasn’t going to stay for the council meeting. I changed my mind and am glad I did, for a good deal of what I heard last night was a revelation to me.
My position on this issue is obvious but it was most reassuring to hear the strong opinions voiced by many people who made it clear and unequivocal that the NT Government – and whoever it is that has persuaded the government – has got this issue well and truly wrong.
This is the third attempt in four decades to repurpose the use of Anzac Oval as a “village green” cum open space, and relocate rugby to another oval.
Both previous attempts were made by the Alice Springs Town Council.
In 1979-81, rugby league was going to be moved to the new Head Street (Rhonda Diano) Oval; and in 1994-96 there was a protracted struggle between the town council and the Eastside Residents Association (of which I was a member) over relocating rugby league to Ross Park Oval.
On both occasions there was overwhelming public opposition to the town council’s plans, and the council lost.
Now it’s the turn of the NT Government attempting the same arrogant approach – well, all that the government has succeeded in doing is to stir up the hornets’ nest once more.
History convincingly shows how this struggle will end.


Preaching ‘treading carefully’ then sending in the bulldozers
@ Russell Grant (Posted September 24, 2018 at 11:00 pm): Quite so, Russell, and that area included the property of the Arid Zone Research Institute of which the area now occupied by Kilgariff was once a part.
The original dust control effort at AZRI was divided between the Soil Conservation Unit of the former Conservation Commission of the NT and the Institute’s farm management of the Primary Industry Branch/Department. It was the farm management of AZRI that undertook the dust control work in the southwest area of the property, including Kilgariff.
What’s happening there now is taxpayer-funded, government sanctioned vandalism on a grand scale that beggars anything we’ve seen (and criticised) for years on private rural properties.
The hypocrisy of contemporary NT government policy implementation is simply staggering.


‘Save Anzac Oval’ motion defeated
The current government continuously attempts to mask or deflect attention of its ineptitude by making constant reference to the previous CLP regime. It doesn’t wash – it’s just business as usual, regardless of which party is in power.
Right now there is significant evidence across the nation of most people fundamentally disillusioned with government at all levels, party politics, and (most worrisome) even with democracy. The behaviour we’re witnessing from the NT Government now (and from its predecessors) amply illustrates why this is happening.
Most people have had enough. Large numbers in parliament will not provide sufficient buffers against voter anger anymore.


Town planning farce: Lawler dodges the hard questions
This encounter instantly reminded me of a passage in George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” when Winston Smith followed an old man into a pub with the intention of finding out from him what life was like before the revolution that led to the rise of Big Brother.
Yet no matter how earnestly he asked the old man to recall the early years of his life, “Winston had the feeling they were talking at cross-purposes.”
He kept on prodding the old man for information but “a sense of helplessness took hold of Winston. The old man’s memory was nothing but a rubbish-heap of details. One could question him all day without getting any real information.”
Plying the old man with beer, he tried one more time but failed: “Winston sat back against the window sill. It was no use going on. He was about to buy some more beer when the old man suddenly got up and shuffled rapidly into the stinking urinal at the side of the room. The extra half-litre was already working on him. Winston sat for a minute or two gazing at his empty glass, and hardly noticed when his feet carried him out into the street again.”
Welcome to the Big Brother reality of honest accountable government in the Northern Territory!


Student boarding funding restored – for now
Isn’t that something? A minister of the NT Government has listened to concerns about a government decision, and reversed it in a day.
Little aggravation, and great relief for many, I should think.
Minister Selena Uibo has set a fine example – now, if only certain others of her colleagues would take notice of public concern about the NT Government’s poor decision-making over the location of the proposed National Aboriginal Art Gallery…


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