Story Archive » Volume 18 » Issue 47 »

December 22, 2011

Revitalisation: will there be people as well as cars in the mall?

The revitalisation of the CBD is about a lot more than the opening of the northern end of the Todd Mall to traffic … but what exactly?

That people, including the media, find it difficult to say reflects the absence of any kind of everyday imagining about what it could and should mean. When the Town Council last Monday formally voted that it would proceed to spend the NT Government’s $5m allocation on the recommended works for the northern end of the mall and for Parsons Street, they did so without a murmur. That brought to a conclusion a process during which the council, who are the trustees of the mall, have really never been heard on the subject of its revitalisation.

All along Mayor Damien Ryan was the co-chair (with Minister for Central Australia Karl Hampton) of a steering committee involved in the planning. Whenever the Alice Springs News Online asked for a comment on where the process was at, Mayor Ryan said it was for the Minister to say – not his follow co-chair, but Planning Minister Gerry McCarthy.

When there was finally, right at the end of the process, a public meeting to present the projects developed by the design consultants, the Mayor was away on other business. The meeting was chaired by Deputy Mayor Liz Martin, who did make a few comments, but they fell short of expressing a ‘vision’ – an over-used word but nonetheless a necessary concept when it comes to thinking about and deciding where we, collectively, want to go.  KIERAN FINNANE comments. FULL STORY »

‘Soul of the whole past time’

Her name was Frieda Keysser. She was the wife of a famous man, mother of another, but The Tale of Frieda Keysser by John Strehlow, her grandson, will be more particularly her story and, we are promised, a widely encompassing one – this 1000 plus page book (a Volume 1) is sub-headed “Investigations into a Forgotten Past”.

I’m not usually quite so arrested by the book as an object but this one asserts itself beyond its obvious imposing size. The care that has gone into crafting it signals a particular approach – the story will be unfolded, taking the time and space it needs. Turn to the title page and the promise of the sub-heading is amplified: the author quotes Thomas Carlisle on books as holding “the soul of the whole past time … when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream”.

Turn a few more pages: there’s a photograph of a grave in the desert, that of Carl Strehlow, Lutheran missionary at Hermannsburg for 28 years. For 27 of them Frieda was at his side. She was an extremely emotional and passionate person with strong self-belief, a conviction, like that of her forebears, that her life would be purposeful. She found purpose through her marriage to Carl and her work at the mission, in particular with the women and children and combatting infant mortality. Her grandson John (pictured at right), in telling her tale, hopes it will lead to “a major reappraisal of the era”, in particular the role of Christianity in The Centre. He spoke to KIERAN FINNANE.

Photo of Frieda, crop of the original, courtesy the Strehlow Research Centre.
FULL STORY »

Getting that hot red dusty feeling

 

On a recent 40+ degree day, Max Bialek from Germany cycled out from town to the Alice Springs News home office in the rural area. He brought greetings from his father whom we’d met as a tourist and skydiver here before Max was even thought of. The hardy young backpacker is loving his time in The Centre. Right now he’s helping bring in the crop at Rocky Hill. We asked him to convey his first impressions of Alice.

 

“Alice Springs – what are you going to do there?”

“Now, in the middle of summer? You’re crazy mate!”

That is how my backpacker friends reacted when I decided to make my way – contrary to the mainstream – from Cairns over nearly 2500 kilometers to Alice Springs. With each new place you encounter certain expectations and demands. Considering Alice Springs, these were primarily influenced by prejudices that circulate among backpackers. It is hot there,  dusty and above all boring.  The truth was my part to find out about.

When I arrived it was a bit chilly and rainy. Of course, an unusual situation, clearing up the first  prejudice!  MAX BIALEK comments. FULL STORY »

OLSH student tops NT

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart student Jarrad Dickson is the NT’s top Year 12 student with a Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of 99.95, says Minister for Central Australia, Karl Hampton.
He says 1144 students will receive their Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training in 2011, an increase of 10 per cent.
“We have also seen 148 Indigenous graduates in 2011 which is a fantastic result and the Territory Government remains committed to improving this outcome in future years,” says Mr Hampton.
Students at Darwin High School, Casuarina Senior College, Taminmin College, St Phillip’s College, Our Lady of Sacred Heart and St John’s College make up this year’s Top Twenty senior students. [From a media release.] FULL STORY »