Such a shame, Steve, that we’re unable to harness your …

Comment on West Macs fire mitigation critically inadequate: Scientist by Alex Nelson.

Such a shame, Steve, that we’re unable to harness your sprays to put the wildfires out.

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.


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.


Kids from The Alice: When Malcolm met Menzies
This is a tremendously interesting article but I have a couple of quibbles.
First, W C (Bill) Wentworth is regarded as the first Commonwealth minister for Aboriginal (or Indigenous) Affairs, appointed by PM John Gorton in early 1968.
The official title was “Minister for Aboriginal Affairs under the Prime Minister” whereas Gordon Bryant was appointed as “Minister for Aboriginal Affairs” in 1972, so maybe that’s just hair-splitting on my part.
The second point relates to the meeting with PM Bob Menzies in 1963 where Malcolm Cooper “was enjoying a glass of whisky with the Prime Minister yet he wasn’t recognised as a citizen in his own land. Neither could he express his personal view, to either vote for the Menzies Government or against it.”
I don’t know about the situation in South Australia at the time but certainly it was the case that all “full-blood” Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory had the non-compulsory right to vote from 1962 onwards.
The first election in which they could vote was for the NT Legislative Council in December 1962 (people of mixed race descent could vote in the NT from 1953 onwards).
Ironically, there was no vote in the NT for the 1963 Federal election campaign as Labor member Jock Nelson was re-elected unopposed – the last occasion this occurred in a national election campaign.
In 1966 Aboriginal people in the NT got to vote in a Federal election for the first time and were the cause of a major political upset, as they were crucial for the election of Country Party candidate Sam Calder against the Labor favourite, Dick Ward.
While it was the case that Aboriginal people weren’t included in the national census, it needs to be kept in mind that people of mixed race descent were counted in the official figures – it was “full-blood” Aboriginal people who were excluded.
Notwithstanding that, bureaucracy can’t help itself – even “full-blood” Aboriginal people were recorded in statistics.
For example, in December 1962 there were 18,270 “full-blood” Aboriginal people recorded in the NT, and this figure was broken down into the following: 5,219 on government settlements; 5,956 on church mission stations; 6,139 on pastoral properties; 656 in towns and institutions; 300 are nomadic (The Inlander, No. 21, September 1963).
Smaller numbers were recorded for the other states.
Very much looking forward to more articles in this series.


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