COUNTRY LIBERAL PARTY: THE DAY OF THE LONG KNIVES. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Now Central Australia knows it, too: a day can be a long time in politics. On Saturday evening, as Country Liberal Party supporters and Assembly candidates anointed by the local preselection "college" were arriving for their Christmas dinner at Pioneer Park, at the Red Centre Resort the CLP's Central Council was still in secret session.The Christmas revelers were well into their pre-dinner drinks while at the other end of town, the fate of their most senior political figure was being sealed. Central Australia's only minister, Loraine Braham, as well as her ministerial officer and political hopeful, Tony Bohning, were being dumped. Three of the five selections made by local branch functionaries were being overruled.During prawn salad entrees, well after the glorious sunset, when party president Suzanne Cavanagh finally walked up to the microphone to announce the entire CLP team for the next NT elections, she apologised for not having had time to change.She was still in the clothes she'd put on that morning, very early.When Chief Minister Denis Burke followed Mrs Cavanagh to the microphone he was still in the moleskins he'd slipped on some 14 hours earlier. It had been that kind of day for the party heavies, and a political lifetime for some.Mr Burke, who had returned from Japan the day before, got the predictable applause when he announced that he, Prime Minister John Howard and SA Premier John Olsen would be turning the first sod for the Darwin railway, in Alice Springs on December 19.He said this would follow "financial close" for the $1.2b project late this month, and the signing of contracts in the first week of December.But the buzz around the expansive outdoor dining area on Saturday night was all about those fateful events of earlier in the day, whispers and speculation now replaced by the official announcements.Ms Cavanagh told the Alice News that Central Council had done some "rejigging of our preselection process, making sure that the process was the most rigorous possible".She said: "I am not prepared to discuss that because the deliberations of Central Council are confidential."And final.Over the past weeks, in preparation for the next elections due by February 2002, 20 members – their identities a closely kept secret – from the four Central Australian CLP branches had come up with their choice of candidates. According to several well informed sources, the panel recommended Mrs Braham would stay in Braitling and Richard Lim in Greatorex.The high profile John Elferink would miss out altogether, and his seat of MacDonnell would be given to the multiple loser in Stuart, Mr Bohning.Political newcomer Peter Harvey would get Araluen.Aboriginal man Ken Lechleitner would get Stuart. His preferences as an independent had played a key role when Mr Elferink wrested MacDonnell from the ALP.Araluen hopeful Jodeen Carney would miss out despite a vigorous campaign.So far so bad, Central Council clearly thought.According to persistent rumours at the Christmas party, all bets were declared off when the council was presented with allegations that the preselection panel had been stacked.Mrs Braham, Minister for Central Australia, Housing, Local Government and Aboriginal Development, was sent packing and Braitling was given to Mr Harvey, a businessman.The stage seems set in Braitling for a re-run of the 1987 debacle when the CLP dumped sitting Member Denis Collins and preselected Shane Stone for Greatorex.Mr Collins, standing as an independent, got 41 per cent of the vote, followed by the ALP's Meredith Campbell with 24.Mr Stone got just 21 per cent, ahead of the Nationals' Lynne Peterkin with around 12. Both were eliminated after the first count. Mr Collins, best known for his pancakes and right-wing politics, was elected.Mr Stone moved to Darwin in a huff, went on first to Chief Ministerial glory and ultimately, fell from grace.Mr Collins, as a CLP Member, had won Greatorex with 70 per cent of the vote. Mrs Braham won in Braitling with 65 per cent in the last election.Ironically, Ms Campbell is now standing as an independent in Araluen which is shaping up as a three cornered, all women contest with solicitor Ms Carney the late choice for the CLP, and Liz Scott preselected for Labor. Mr Bohning told the Alice News he knew nothing about any " stacking" of the local preselection "college".He said: "Certainly not to my knowledge. "Some of my members didn't even front for the interview panel. "There was certainly no stacking on my behalf, and I'm sure not by Loraine, either."So, what happened in Braitling? "I have no idea," said Mr Bohning. "I've had no involvement in Braitling at all. I'm not privy to what took place in the [preselection] room today."There was nothing to say I was going to get MacDonnell. "Obviously I'm disappointed but I congratulate John Elferink on getting it back, and I'll do whatever I can to help him. "Tomorrow is another day and we'll see what happens."Dr Lim was preselected again in his seat of Greatorex, now enlarged to take in the Ross Highway-Emily Hills area at the expense of MacDonnell.Mr Lechleitner did get Stuart, now a seat the size of a small European nation, standing against Labor's high profile sitting Member Peter Toyne.Mr Elferink, although saved from oblivion which the local panel reportedly had in store for him, seems to have scored the booby prize, his own seat of MacDonnell instead of Araluen or Braitling, for which he is known to have expressed an interest.MacDonnell is now also minus the broadly conservative Ilparpa rural area, added to Araluen by the recent redistribution of electoral boundaries.The population in the southern-most seat is now about 80 per cent Aboriginal, traditionally Labor voters for the most part.The government's decision early in Mr Elferink's term to close down local government at Yulara was a blow to his popularity there.But he says he's not about to throw in the towel: "It's going to be a difficult seat."Last time they said it's impossible."This time they're saying it's impossible."Well, the last time I pulled a rabbit out of the hat."This time I'll pull a camel out of the hat."One thing I thing I have a reputation for is hard work."Aboriginal folk living in communities who see their local member as often as they see me will know there's somebody in there batting for them," says Mr Elferink.Asked whether there is again an independent candidate on the horizon, he says: "That's a strategic call and it's too early to work on strategies at this stage."Mr Harvey says the town should "seize opportunities" offered by the reconstruction of the hospital and the new railway.Alice has a "perfect climate" for building storage areas serving the railway, and he will "start lobbying in that direction straight away".Another issue where "maybe some fresh blood can turn something around and get people listening" is opening up the Alice airport for direct international flights.Mr Harvey says business in Alice Springs "is probably quieter than it normally is."What we're seeing is not so much a slump as a leveling out."We're not in a high growth period at the present time, and we're not perhaps enjoying boom times like we have in the last year or so."Asked whether local MLAs are disunited, don't work together and are seen as messengers from Darwin rather that the other way ‘ round, Mr Harvey said: "We need to be a lot more interactive with the branches, as politicians, and politicians need to be very interactive with the people of Alice Springs, be listening, and carry that message to Darwin, to get a better deal."How forcefully will he be representing his area? "As forcefully as possible," he says.And how possible is that?"Well, I guess I am a big fellow, and I've been around for a long time."I understand business very well, and I will be working as hard as I possibly can for Alice Springs."I'll be doing it from an interactive point of view."I want the people to tell me what they want to achieve and what they perceive we should be doing in government, and I'll carry that message forward."Ms Carney says the issues relating to Araluen are not dissimilar from the town as a whole: public drunkenness, mandatory sentencing, education and flooding.Where does she stand – as a lawyer – on mandatory sentencing?Says Ms Carney: "It's difficult to be a conservative lawyer in the NT. "I see mandatory sentencing as a tool. "Some say that Shane Stone was the father of mandatory sentencing. "The Burke government then reworked it, and I think as time goes on, it will evolve. "It will be a tool that will probably be used in conjunction with a number of other political tools."I think the bottom line is that the electorate, indeed all people in Central Australia, want to see less crime in our community, and any government that is brave enough to try all sorts of things is worthy of some respect," says Ms Carney."There may not be any simple answer."Is mandatory sentencing working?"I think it probably is, I know that some people would disagree with that, but, yes, I think it is."Ms Carney says she would see her role as an MLA "not unlike my work role. "As a lawyer I have been representing people all my legal life. "I am a fierce Central Australian. "I know about the Berrimah Line factor, unfortunately those in Darwin still seem to think it doesn't exist, but it does exist [although] it's improving over time."I see my role as fiercely arguing on behalf of the people [in The Centre] for issues about which they are passionate."I'm not going to roll over on issues."I will be a strong supporter of Central Australians." About the degree of collaboration between MLAs in Central Australia Ms Carney says: "Some people would say that's been missing in the last few years. "I don't know. I've not been really close enough to accurately assess that but for my part I'm looking forward to working with them."Mr Lechleitner, working for the Chief Minister's office as an Aboriginal development project officer, says his "main issue is that we've got to give the right kind of information to the [Aboriginal] people for them to make the right choices. "I think that's been lacking for a long time. "Most of our people have been put into a dark corner, like mushrooms. "It's about time that we went through a process of mental awakening. "The only way we can improve a lot of our situation is that we take some of the responsibility ourselves, embracing the information around, so we can move forward," says Mr Lechleitner. "We need to action sections of the Landrights Act to be able to determine what Aboriginal people can do with their own land, the ability to negotiate about business ventures, to tie up their own future, and use that as a collateral to change their economic situation. "Education plays an important role. "If you can't read and write than someone else is always determining your life. "Education is free, it's been there since the year dot. People are beginning to understand, we've got a school, so let's get our kids into it. "We've got to make some sacrifices. We've got to say, you, as young kids, have to finish school. "That's a huge sacrifice, but that's something that has to be done. "Maybe [through] the Aboriginal thought process ... we've got to encourage the school to become a rite of passage to manhood or womanhood, and that way we'll achieve the mainstream education, and also we can open it up for ceremonies where they can celebrate two ceremonies, a graduation in Year 12 and first stage of initiation," says Mr Lechleitner.
INDEPENDENT? MAYBE, SAYS BRAHAM.
Loraine Braham has not ruled out running as an independent in the next Legislative Assembly elections, after being dumped by the CLP last Saturday.She told the Alice News on Monday afternoon that it was too early to make a decision about her political future."If I made it now it would be an emotive decision, I'll have to wait until the dust settles," said Mrs Braham.She still had not spoken to CLP president Suzanne Cavanagh and so did not know the party's reasons for the shock decision.Mrs Braham (pictured) described rumours about her having "stacked" the preselection committee as a "red herring" and as having "no basis in fact".She said Mrs Cavanagh had chaired the meeting at which preselection procedures were decided and if she had had a problem she should have spoken then.She said the possibility of the Central Council overruling the local preselection committee was always available under the party's constitution and protocols, but their decision to overturn three out of five of the preselections was " disappointing". She said that she didn't know if the CLP had fully thought through the ramifications of their decision."My gut feeling is that there will be a bit of a backlash. Local people will see the action as not fair."Mrs Braham will now be on the back benches, where she says she will have more time to represent her electorate.Richard Lim was sworn in on Monday as Minister for Central Australia, of Housing and of Local Government.Mrs Braham's other portfolio of Aboriginal Development went to Peter Adamson.
BRAHAM IS IN UNTENABLE POSITION: ALP'S BROOKE.
Braitling MLA Lorraine Braham is in an untenable position as a CLP Member for Braitling, having lost the confidence of her party.This is the view of Labor candidate for the seat, Peter Brooke, commenting on the failure last week by Mrs Braham to gain renewed preselection for that seat."Will she be standing as an independent?"Alice in Ten now has many glossy brochures with the photo of the sacked Minister for Central Australia. What a waste!"Mr Brooke says he won't be making a decision on preferences until the full field of candidates is known.Meanwhile MLA for Stuart Peter Toyne says : "The Darwin CLP turned over the Alice Springs CLP's preselection."Mr Toyne says he is pleased that his newly announced opponent in Stuart, Ken Lechleitner, is "honest enough to admit this time that he's actually representing the CLP".Mr Toyne says he would like to know "how many jobs Mr Lechleitner's paid position in the Office of Aboriginal Development has created out there. "Almost nothing is up and running from the OAD process," says Mr Toyne.By contrast his own efforts have channeled $20m into the electorate.This includes a $15m joint venture to set up a digital communications network embracing 120 remote communities and including 12 Aboriginal groups as shareholders; the purchase of Ooratippra Station for traditional owners and to be run as a pastoral lease (not inalienable Aboriginal freehold land), and helping to raise $1m through the Sotheby's auction for a renal dialysis unit at Kintore."Mr Lechleitner should declare his position on the stolen generations and mandatory sentencing," says Mr Toyne."Is he aware that 40 per cent of property crime in the NT is now related to drug use?"Mr Toyne says Central Australia is going to have only one sitting CLP Member recontesting."If you're down to Richard Lim you're not going real well," he says. Meanwhile, Minister for Communications, Science and Advanced Technology Peter Adamson announced the signing of a contract with Cable & Wireless Optus to supply remote areas with improved telecommunications and internet services by satellite.The Electronic Outback Project has been funded by the Commonwealth Government's Networking the Nation program at a cost of $3m.Four pilot communities will have a "community display" comprising a personal computer, fax machine, payphones and a video-conferencing unit installed for six months.The communities are Milikapiti (Snake Bay), Wadey (Port Keats), Titjikala (Maryvale) and Aputula (Finke). Ten other communities, including Areyonga, Ntaria and Wallace Rockhole, will have infrastructure installed as well as payphones to provide voice, data and video-conferencing capabilities.
LEGAL AID TAKEOVER AVERTED, LIDDLE DEBT NOT DISCUSSED.
William Tilmouth, new president of Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service's council, says his nomination for the position was completely unexpected when he attended the organisation's annual general meeting last week as a visitor.The director of Tangentyere Council says he accepted the position because he believes that legal services for Aboriginal people could be improved.He says that there was "not really" a takeover bid at the AGM, as anticipated by CAALAS council vice-president Maureen Abbott who was returned to her position. (See last week's front page story in the Alice News.)"You could feel the tension at the meeting but that is very much the case in most AGMs of Aboriginal organisations," says Mr Tilmouth.He says that shows the interest that Aboriginal people take in their organisations and that democracy is alive and well, with everybody being encouraged to have a vote.He says John and Lorraine Liddle are not on the new council, which has a majority of fresh faces, and that he does not know who on the council may support them. There was no discussion of the Liddles' outstanding debt to CAALAS, arising from court costs totalling $83,840 awarded against them after a failed Supreme Court action contesting Ms Liddle's dismissal as CAALAS' principal legal officer.Mr Tilmouth says he will need to research and review that issue before he has a view on it.He says he does not know if it will be discussed at the first meeting of the new council: he will be setting the agenda for that meeting along with CAALAS director Pat Miller.In a media statement Mr Tilmouth says he wants to ensure that CAALAS offers an efficient and effective service. As president, he will also address "public housing issues and the daily injustices and illegal treatment [of Aboriginal people] at the hands of traders, taxi drivers, used car salespeople, second hand shops and art dealers". Mr Tilmouth also says he sees the position as an opportunity to work with other community leaders who oppose the Northern Territory's mandatory sentencing laws. "Mandatory sentencing targets offences more likely to be committed by poor and marginalised people as opposed to white collar crimes that Aboriginal people are most often the victim of."The real problem of course is that the NT Government is not democratic."I describe the current system in the NT as the tyranny of the majority – the very situation that human rights conventions were established to address," says Mr Tilmouth.
DON'T SHORT CHANGE ALICE: A BRIDGE, NOT CAUSEWAY AT CASINO.
Good as far as they go but they should go further: that seems to be the reaction to Lands Minister Tim Baldwin's package of works for the Todd River.Mr Baldwin said last week channel rehabilitation – clearing the riverbed of weeds, particularly couch grass, and sand, commencing upstream of Heavitree Gap – will be "the priority task", with work hopefully commencing early next year.National Heritage Trust project officer for the Todd and Charles Rivers Rehabilitation Project, Sunil Dhanji, welcomed Mr Baldwin's announcement as " a good start".But Mr Dhanji said there is "more to the weed issue than just couch grass". "What they are doing is channel management but it doesn't really form part of an integrated weed management program," said Mr Dhanji."We are concerned that there is no real long term strategy to manage the river for weeds."Apart from couch, there are a lot of weeds, including woody weeds, that are having a major impact on the river."A long term strategy needs to look at a broader range of species over a longer stretch of the river."The NHT project covers the rivers from the southern boundary of the Telegraph Station to the John Bateman bridge.The grant funding the project runs out in January, 2002. Mr Dhanji said that he hopes that the Department of Lands, Planning and Environment, which has been given management authority for the river, and Alice in 10, will take a more broadscale view of what needs to be done."For instance, if they were to take on a broader scope of issues in the river corridors, that would free the town council to do more work in the drains that feed the rivers," said Mr Dhanji.Arid Lands Environment Centre coordinator, Glenn Marshall, said ALEC wants to see funding ear-marked for the fire and weed management plans that have been developed by the environment sub-group of the Alice in 10 Todd and Charles Rivers committee.Mr Marshall says he understands these plans have realistic budgets and that ALEC would like to see them funded, rather than see all resources going into couch control in the Gap area, which "may or may not be the cause of sand accumulation there".Alderman Samih Habib says the casino causeway should be replaced by a proper bridge.Mr Baldwin said a review of the "functionality" of the causeway will be undertaken, with alternative designs being considered to prevent sand depositing upstream of the crossing.However, before any work on the causeway could commence an alternative all-weather access to the golf course area would have to be provided.Mr Baldwin said extending Stephens Road across the range to connect with Sadadeen Road is one option for such access.Ald Habib says he agrees with the NT Government's proposed flood mitigation measures but says the town "should not be short-changed" with respect to a river crossing just north of the Gap.Ald Habib says the Mt Johns and land along Stephens Road is Alice Springs' major residential growth area.Some 2500 to 3000 people will ultimately live there, with 500 to 600 houses due to be built, as well as possibly a supermarket, a small shopping centre and sporting facilities, including an extension of the golf course.The present causeway will also provide access to the proposed convention centre.Ald Habib says he agrees with plans for a connecting road between Stephens Road and Sadadeen Road – but this should be built as well as, not instead of the bridge.FLOODINGAld Habib says the present causeway is frequently blamed for flooding of the Gap area because it inhibits water flow, and must be closed during major floods.He says there would be serious traffic congestion if people in that area needed to rely on the Stott Terrace bridge via Sadadeen for access to the town.Ald Habib says "it's time for the NT Government to spend more money on capital works projects in Alice Springs".The other works project to be announced was the construction of a levee bank in the old Eastside area.The announcement came before the completion of MLA Richard Lim''s survey of residents' views on t he construction of the causeway. Deadline for responses to the survey was 5pm, last Friday.Dr Lim said he would inform the Minister of the results of the survey on Monday, after which he would disclose the results to Old Eastside residents.
RECONCILIATION NEEDS LEGISLATIVE MUSCLE. Interview with Sir Ronald Wilson by KIERAN FINNANE.
Sir Ronald Wilson, former High Court judge and author of the report on the national inquiry into the "Stolen Generations", titled Bringing Them Home, will be in Alice Springs next Tuesday as a guest speaker at Central Australians for Reconciliation's final meeting.The group is going to amalgamate with their Top End counterparts to form the Northern Territory Reconciliation Council.The Alice News asked Sir Ronald about what he sees as the next steps for the reconciliation process.He said the biggest challenge is to break new ground at the level of national leadership."The people have had their say this year with the bridge walks and the Olympics."It's time now for our politicians to really respond and set in place some legislative machinery to bring the process of reconciliation to a wonderful conclusion."Can reconciliation be legislated?Legislation could achieve a great deal, according to Sir Ronald.The establishment of a Healing Commission could bring justice for the Stolen Generations.The commission would go to communities, along with representatives of government and Aboriginal leaders in each state, "and sit down with them and discuss what that community has lost through the assimilation policies and then assess how much it would cost to restore those things".Examples of restoration would be to establish training in languages and parenting skills."Children were taken away from the love and care of their parents, they were brought up in institutions and they themselves then went on to become bad parents," says Sir Ronald."Many of them [told the inquiry] ‘I'm a rotten mother, I've never loved my children'."That goes from generation to generation and it can only be healed by offering parenting skills training to Aboriginal communities, by reviving culture and language."Would the commission consider individual compensation payments?Sir Ronald: "Whether any individual children would wish to make claims for money compensation is something that can be addressed in the second stage. "My experience has been that many Aboriginal people are forced into courts to claim compensation because no effort has been made to heal the community. "That effort should be made first ."It wouldn't cost more than a few million dollars. "The churches have said they are willing to contribute and, if you get the state governments and the national government contributing, the money is there. "All it needs is the political leadership. "I'm getting desperate about how we actually encourage that, short of an election and a change of government or a change of Prime Minister."The second focus of legislative action would be the negotiation of a framework agreement that would "tackle the ‘ unfinished business' as Patrick Dodson calls it".This would have to do with the development of Aboriginal institutions, the strengthening of culture, the place of Aboriginal people in the Australian community as the original Australians, and future sharing of the land in co-existence. "There's a lot that Aborigines and others sitting around the table could do to establish the feasibility and the ease with which the very modest aspirations of Aboriginal people with respect to the land can be shared with other Australians and their interest in the land," says Sir Ronald. "There's also a question of some recognition – only a limited recognition but it has to be talked about – of customary law because that is an important part of the culture, dignity and self-respect of Aboriginal people. "I think we've got to recognise that the strengthening of Aboriginal culture and the self-respect of Aboriginal people is entirely consistent with their growing participation in the leadership of the Australian community. "This doesn't mean apartheid, with Aborigines being shut away from the rest of Australia. "It means the full participation, so far as they wish to participate, in the life of the Australian community, as Aboriginal people with all the self-respect that that deserves."Sir Ronald says the plight of the Stolen Generations, rather than distracting the focus from these issues, is giving "an enormous push to grapple with them". What does he think of recent debate in some quarters, in the wake of the failed Federal Court test case for compensation brought by Lorna Cubillo and Peter Gunner, contesting the claims of the Stolen Generations? "I don't think there is a debate because the two sides are so disparate. "On the one side you have the testimony of over two thousand members of the Stolen Generations, the testimony of governments who acknowledge the process, who produced the laws, who have said it was a mistaken policy to take the children away forcibly, however well intentioned it may have been, and they are sorry."They've expressed their apology, everybody except the Commonwealth Government has."The churches have acknowledged the mistakes that were made and said they are sorry too."On the other side, what have you got? People like Bill Hayden who is the chair of the editorial committee of Quadrant which is the only body which is arguing against the message of the Stolen Generations, them and the Institute of Public Affairs. "Those people just say that our methodology was flawed, we didn't cross examine."The credibility of Bringing Them Home lies in what the governments had to tell us about their policies."What better credibility can you have than the governments fronting up the inquiry with Lever Arch files stacked up and being available to discuss it with us for days on end. "I think most Australians would want to be just and reasonable with respect to healing the hurts that are still there."Many of the Stolen Generations – there are thousands of them now in their forties and fifties – have lost a lot of their language, a sense of their culture and Aboriginality, and they are mourning that loss."The journey of healing is designed to bring them home for the healing of what is lost."In my opinion there has been no respectable argument advanced against that journey of healing."Is there still a case for demanding that the Prime Minister say sorry?Sir Ronald: "The important thing in saying sorry, if it is going to be genuine, is that there must be a commitment to address the need for healing."The clamour for the Prime Minister to apologise is no longer appropriate."It would be like Bill Hayden said, if it was him he would say sorry to get rid of it. That's not what sorry means. "I fear that if John Howard did change his mind it would be just words, and an apology has to be more than that."
SADADEEN SCORES FIRST TIME WIN FOR NT SCHOOL. Report by DOROTHY GRIMM.
The present is history in the making. Four Sadadeen Primary School students became acutely aware of this reality recently when their entry in the National History Challenge won both state and national honours, the first time an NT school has won at the national judging.The Year 5/6 students, Kai Foley, Shauna Stirling, Nicola Tomren, and Nathan Quan, accompanied by their teacher Sue Endean, are off to Canberra soon to receive their National History Challenge Award, along with the National Reconciliation Award from Commonwealth Minister for Education, Dr David Kemp.Their entry in the competition was a three-dimensional museum display, a quilt, depicting the theme, "Achievers and Achievements and Reconciliation", and linking heritage, landmarks, and cooperation between peoples."The quilt's centre shows Acacia Hill, which is a sacred site next to our school's boundary and part of the Yeperenye Caterpillar Dreaming track of the Arrernte people," Kai said."The corners of the quilt have pictures of the cameleers who camped on this side [the east] of the Todd River.""We went to to the libraries to do the research and went to the School of the Air to see their quilt," added Nicola."We had a meeting with Bobby Stuart [Aboriginal elder and traditional owner] and Marie Ellis [Aboriginal parent]."Marie did the design. She was so excited that she created the design the same night after talking to the students," Ms Endean said.With Acacia Hill as its centre, and the Afghan cameleers at the corners, the quilt also shows black and white footprints leading to and from the hill and to and from the cameleers."The footprints represent the children of Sadadeen Primary School, some of whom are direct descendants of the cameleers and the traditional Aboriginal owners of this region," Shauna said.The cameleers depicted in the quilt are Abdul Khalick, Sallay Mahomet, William Satour, and Saleh (Charlie) Sadadeen."Our school's sporting house teams are named after these cameleers," Nathan said."Charlie Sadadeen had a beautiful garden – people would come to look at it."William Satour had a lease on land in Sadadeen Valley but got into a bit of mischief and lost his lease."Sallay Mahomet caught and tamed camels. He even took some to Saudi Arabia as a gift to the king."And Abdul Khalick had his own camel train and transported goods from South Australia to the centre until the railway opened in 1929."The National History Challenge project took 12 weeks; Sadadeen‘'s ASSPA Committee helped fund the project."The sewing was fun," Nicola said."We even went to the teacher's house during the holidays. But the beads weren't easy," Shauna added."There are little beads over the heads and for the stars and Southern Cross."We stitched those by hand; the rest we sewed on the machine."And the students all agreed the feet,R esally the toes, were the hardest."The feet were ironed on." Nicola said."Then we dot painted the toes."The teacher was so stressed, we suggested she not watch."Now all the students are looking forward to their trip to Canberra; only Shauna has been to the nation's capital before.In addition to receiving their award in Parliament House, the group also expects to visit the National Archives, Regatta Point, the Treleur Centre, the War Memorial, and Questacon.All agreed that their participation in the National History Challenge has taught them many things, including patience and negotiating, especially when it came to taking turns to work on various parts of the quilt."It was also good discovering the past of the school and the people and the history that has been here," Nicola said."And I learned I am part of that history too."
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