Today (December 21) just happens to be the summer solstice …

Comment on Santa’s big day: Hot and maybe wet by Alex Nelson.

Today (December 21) just happens to be the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere, the longest day of the year.
This means we can all now look forward to blazing hot weather for the next two or three months – just what you all wanted to know, I’m sure!
Of course, the situation is the reverse in the northern hemisphere; and indeed the winter solstice is the actual original date and reason for celebration in pre-Christian times, before being replaced by Christmas Day.
So, merry solstice, everybody!

Alex Nelson Also Commented

Santa’s big day: Hot and maybe wet
@ John Bell: You might like to check out “How December 25 Became Christmas – Andrew McGowan” (google it) which provides a very interesting account of the rise to dominance of this particular date. It’s much more complex than the commonly held belief that the Emperor Constantine was responsible for this choice.
You’re right – the actual birth date of Christ doesn’t matter which is exactly what the earliest Christians thought, too.
Originally Christ’s birth day wasn’t considered important and that is why nobody is even certain what year it was, let alone the date.
You say that Christmas “celebrates coming out of darkness into everlasting enlightenment, love and hope” but in fact that was the purpose behind the Resurrection of Christ which was the primary focus, indeed the core, of early Christian belief – without that, everything else was irrelevant.
There’s nothing wrong with going around in seasonal circles, that’s our planet’s reality. As a life-long gardener and nature observer, I cherish the seasons – we know of no other place in the universe that is as benign as our own world.
And as for history repeating, one has only to look at the overwhelming dominance of crass consumerism masquerading as “gift giving” to realize that Christmas these days is as pagan as it ever might have been in ancient times.
So yes, I prefer to ignore Christmas and downplay the significance of birth days (especially as I get older) and accept every day I’m in good health, alive and breathing, to be just as significant as any other day.


Santa’s big day: Hot and maybe wet
@ John Bell: I retrieved my copy of the Good News Bible (Catholic Study Edition), blew the dust of the top, and opened it to the very first story in the Book of Genesis, “The Story of Creation.”
Here I find the tale of how God created the universe and the world in six days; and with each day after He had created some aspect of the world as we know it, “God was pleased with what he saw.”
It was on the fourth day that God created the sun, moon and stars “to separate day from night and to show the time when days, years, and religious festivals begin; they will shine in the sky to give light to the earth – and it was done.”
So, according to the Catholic version of the Book of Genesis, it was on the fourth day of Creation we can take it that God made such events including solstices and equinoxes.
Yep, sure enough, at the end of the fourth day we’re told: “And God was pleased with what he saw.”
Seems to me it’s kind of hard to be critical of the pagans of long ago celebrating these perfectly natural occasions as religious festivals.
Incidentally, I stand to be corrected on my first comment, this year the actual solstice occurred at about 2am Australian Central Standard Time on December 22.
OK, so we have confirmation that the Bible approves the natural events like solstices because “God was pleased with what he saw.”
How about Christmas as Jesus Christ’s birthday? Well, from a recent posting “What history really tells us about the birth of Jesus” (google it) I obtain this quote: “Firstly, the actual birth day of Jesus was not December 25. The date we celebrate was adopted by the Christian church as the birthday of Christ in the fourth century. Prior to this period, different Christians celebrated Christmas on different dates.”
Oh dear, methinks the pagans have it. Ho! Ho! Ho! indeed.


Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

CLP propaganda courtesy of a Senate office?
Lobbying for sealing the south Stuart Highway began in 1953 when the Alice’s first tourism association was formed.
Bob Rumball raised the subject and former Brigadier, Noel “Tommy” Loutit, made the first representation to the Federal Government about it.
The south Stuart Highway was finally sealed in 1987, so it took 34 years to achieve.
To my knowledge, the first call for upgrading and sealing the Plenty Highway and Tanami Road was made by the newly elected Member for Stuart, Tony Greatorex, in July 1966.
In the following month a similar call was made for the Petermann Road (now in part the Lasseter Highway) by a touring party from WA.
So that was 52 years ago – over half a century – and still counting.
The current “Outback Way” effort was preceded by the “Reef to Rock” campaign that began in 1984 and carried on into the 1990s, especially under former Mayor, Andy McNeill.
The Member for the Northern Territory was granted full voting rights in Federal Parliament in 1968 (that was Sam Calder in his first term) and we got two senators in 1975.
Seems to me a case can be made that getting this increased Federal representation has not resulted in any significant advantages for Central Australia over this time.


‘Anzac Oval not for sale’: govt under pressure on gallery plans
I will simply point out to everyone concerned that the old school complex at the north end of Anzac Oval has by far the greatest heritage value of any school campus in the Northern Territory – repeat, the Northern Territory.
I have come to this conclusion after months of gathering information, commencing well before the end of last year.
It would be unconscionable for the NT Government to proceed with any development on this site without first undertaking a properly independent and professional assessment of the history and heritage values of this location, including genuine public consultation.
This has not happened.
If this Government decides to proceed with this developnment in disregard of the heritage values of the old school site, it will lose all credibility that it may currently have and demonstrate it cannot be regarded as any better than its predecessors in office.


Youth crisis: broken window of tolerance
This is a brilliant article, Rainer, a valuable contribution to public discourse that will stand the test of time.
Much of what you have written has been observed before, and much of what you describe is instantly recognisable from the time of my own childhood here in Alice Springs.
However, when I was young there was a sense of the corner having been turned when the NT achieved Self-government and there was great hope for the future. Things were about to change for the better for everyone.
I feel a sense of deep disappointment combined with great anger that nothing has improved for so many people in the Territory, and generation after generation of young people born here find themselves “coping” in life conditions no better – and, in many cases, far worse – than the supposedly “bad old days” of Commonwealth control.
It’s equally profoundly disappointing that the energy and intellect of young people such as yourself, Rainer, are left to pick up the pieces of a failed legacy of earlier generations.
But it’s wonderful that you are doing so, and that’s why hope survives.


Alice may follow Wadeye’s lead on street kids
This seems to me to be precisely the concept that Maya suggested and I supported for the old high school at Anzac Oval.
Today comes the news of increased GST cutbacks to the Northern Territory but the NT Government seems hell-bent on spending taxpayers’ dollars it’s not going to have on capital works projects both here and in Darwin that are not supported by the majority of people (VOTERS).
In the NT election campaign of 1977, virtually a referendum on impending Self-Government, Labor’s slogan was “First things first – statehood comes later.”
In this year of the 40th anniversary of Self-Government, I say “First things first – focus on the kids.” Forget about underground carparks for public servants, four-lane boulevards cutting through public parks, a new museum to compete against MAGNT, or a national indigenous art gallery on the wrong site.
We all need to get our priorities straight, not least the NT Government.


Art gallery: Door slammed on Desert Park
There are two old river red gums at the corner of the Melanka site near the intersection of Stuart Terrace and Todd Street. These trees are very old and probably predate European settlement.
The remainder, by contrast, are much younger.
They were most likely planted in the early or mid 1970s, after the construction of the Melanka hostel.
They are not local native species. Several are in poor health or have died, their decline due to their abandonment since the demolition of Melanka.


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