February 20, 2002.


The McDouall Stuart branch of the National Trust (NT) in Alice Springs has saved an historic house by turning it into a rented office. And the group is now striving for financial independence by gaining responsibility – currently in the hands of the Darwin dominated National Trust NT – for the management of the Trust's properties around town, to be funded by the rentals collected for them. Alice branch chairman Domenico Pecorari says Les Hansen House is one of the two most important properties in the Heritage Precinct. They date back to the late 1930s and early 1940s. The property, corner Bath Street and Stuart Terrace, had been allowed to deteriorate and by mid last year was heavily vandalised, occupied by "itinerants" and the garden was strewn with drinkers' debris: "We were worried that one morning we would wake up and find the place had burned down," says Mr Pecorari. The National Trust (NT) initially resisted urging from Alice Springs members to halt the decay of the historic house, claiming there was no money for repairs and restoration. Mr Pecorari (pictured at right inside Hansen House) says an offer from the Alice branch for a $20,000 interest free loan was finally accepted by the Trust's council, with an undertaking that the amount would be repaid from rental income generated by the work. Late last year the house was made secure and the interior carefully restored to its original state, including the original 1940s colour scheme. It is now leased to a non-government organisation on a four year contract, earning commercial rent. In all the restoration so far has cost $32,000, including the installation of refrigerated air conditioning. The next phase will include repainting the exterior of all the buildings on the site in their original colour schemes. Les Hansen House still has its original outdoor laundry, garage and toilet which backs onto the laneway from where – prior to the introduction of sewerage – the "night soil" was removed. Mr Pecorari says the local branch is keen to further develop its financial independence. A business plan being drafted provides for the branch to use rents paid for the three National Trust properties in town. The others are the Old Hartley Street School and the heritage house at 86 Hartley Street, also rented as offices. This will "ensure the continued restoration and future care of some of Alice's most important heritage properties".


Noted anthropologist calls for massive change. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.

Aboriginal culture will have to make some changes if Aboriginal quality of life is to improve, and that change has to come from Aboriginal people as well as be reflected by policy-makers. This is argued by eminent anthropologist Peter Sutton in a paper titled The Politics of Suffering, written after a recent harrowing visit to a remote community Sutton has known well for "half a lifetime". The occasion was for a double funeral of old friends. Sutton catalogues the tragic recent violence in the community, which, as far as he knows, experienced only one homicide and one suicide between 1960 and 1985. A wet canteen was opened there, for the first time, in 1985.Since then eight people known to him have committed suicide, two of them women, six of them men, five of them young people.Thirteen people known to him have been victims of homicide, eight of them women, seven of them men.Twelve others have committed homicide, nine of them men and three of them women. Most of these, again, were young people. Of eight spousal murders in this list, seven involved a man killing his female partner. In almost all cases assailants and victims were also relatives whose families had been linked to each other for generations. As many in Central Australia are aware, "this remote settlement is not alone in its experience of recent decades".And although most of the homicides have been alcohol-related, he argues that alcohol alone "cannot carry anything like a full explanation for the dramatic deterioration in the people's quality of life over a rather short period".Believing that Australians generally carry a duty of care towards all citizens equally, and especially to the vulnerable, Sutton sets about challenging accepted ways of thinking about "Indigenous disadvantage", calling for "a politically nonpartisan and non-ideological approach".Aware that he "may rock the boat rather too roughly for some people" he nonetheless states his "unqualified position that a number of the serious problems Indigenous people face in Australia today arise from a complex joining together of recent, that is post-conquest, historical factors of external impact, with a substantial number of ancient, pre-existent social and cultural factors".He agrees with Indigenous leader Noel Pearson that the downward spiral in many remote Aboriginal communities coincides with the era of "passive welfare", but argues that there is much more to the story.Passive welfare came at the end of an era in which systems of control and repression were imposed on Indigenous people by church, state and private enterprises. Replacing these external controls, in the era of self-determination, has been "a covert policy of laissez-faire towards the quality of local community life". It may have been naively assumed that the old pre-colonial systems of social discipline would revive, but in most cases these had been thoroughly destroyed and displaced. In fact, many Aboriginal communities were left in a social discipline vacuum, spelling "the end of all formal marriages, either by church or by custom, … a period of major decline in household stability, and the start of the era of supporting mothers' benefits". "Domestic family life was in many places severely challenged and frequently transformed in many ways, or even fundamentally altered."At the same time came the collapse of pastoral employment, leading to large numbers of Aboriginal people becoming concentrated in artificial Aboriginal townships or attracted to fringe settlements. This period was for many, writes Sutton "an entry into the gates of hell". "Aboriginal people at times recall this era as being the most destructive in living memory. "In some places, the process began later, where increased access to alcohol was delayed, for example, by community decision."Ironically, welfare payments, while reflecting a reduction of economic disadvantage, played a significant role in the intensification of alcohol-related problems. Sutton stands by the "proper" and "inevitable" political and legal gains of Indigenous people in the last 30 years but questions the spread of separate service delivery: "The extent to which this really reflects ‘self-determination' or an emphasis on the ‘culturally appropriate' is variable and debateable given that most rules and structures for such bureaucracies are determined externally, many if not most key administrative and financial positions in them continue to be occupied by non-Indigenous staff or by staff of Indigenous descent but Anglo culture, and the ideological culture of the operations themselves is often thoroughly Western." He does not question services created for those in special need but does question special services created on the basis of identity:"… policy seems to continue to be built on a willingness to publicly ignore the profound incompatibility between modernisation and cultural traditionalism ..", he writes. Sutton goes on to scrutinise the language and concepts used to discuss the undisputed suffering of so many contemporary Indigenous people. He argues that culture is not limited to features like language, relationship to land, ceremonies, the Dreaming – features that are "among the great achievements of Indigenous culture, and of Australian culture generally". Features like patterns of ill health, youth suicide, and violence are also located within cultural frameworks, he says, and are not just "problems" inherited from the traumatic process of colonisation."… it is demonstrable that some behaviours such as high levels of interpersonal violence involving both men and women existed well before the impacts of colonisation, both in sanctioned collective forms (as in formal dispute resolution through duelling and warfare) and in forms less subject to such controls (as in the beating of women by their husbands)." Dispersal was a key means by which the impact of interpersonal violence was limited, but with settlement living that no longer operates.Powerful elements of classical traditions, Sutton writes, are also contained within contemporary child-rearing practices, the "demand sharing" of resources, kinship ties, long patterns of internecine feuding, resistance to delegating authority, the blaming of deaths on out-group sorcerers rather than on those involved in episodes of drink driving or wife-bashing. But while all these practices and patterns exist under conditions that differ significantly from those of the pre-colonial era, they are still aspects and products of a particular culture in its specific time and place. So, when people argue for support for traditional child-rearing practices but turn a blind eye to the impact they have on, for example, school attendance, all the while continuing with the rhetoric about the important role of education in the liberation of Indigenous communities from dependency, Sutton contends it is nothing short of irrational. "This is placing impossible and unfair burdens on a child's capacity for biculturalism.," writes Sutton."This is setting children up for failure. It is not done to non-Indigenous children. It is in that sense discriminatory." Sutton makes the obvious point that education is compulsory in Australia but the law is simply not applied rigorously in many Aboriginal townships: "… as a result, thousands of young people have now been disenfranchised and rendered powerless to engage with government or industry on anything like an informed and participatory basis." In face of the failure of local action, he calls for "the uncompromising, prompt, fair, and predictable application of ordinary Australian law". INACTION He produces compelling evidence of on-going silence and inaction in the face of known failures in other areas. He cites nation-wide research (by Paul Memmott et al) on Indigenous community violence and remedial programs implemented in the 1990s. Researchers found that of 130 programs only six had received reasonable evaluation. "There is in fact a total absence of discussion of program failure in the literature on the programs," notes Sutton. He argues that idealised thinking about the healing properties of traditional culture has led to support for "culture as treatment" programs for Aboriginal problem drinkers, irrespective of outcomes. Research by Maggie Brady has shown, by contrast, the effectiveness of brief verbal interventions by doctors with individual patients. These interventions, which apparently are also effective for non-Indigenous problem drinkers, work in the Indigenous context because the doctor is not kin, the intervention is private, and doctors are on the whole trusted, respected, and considered knowledgable."It is not because of any imitation of ‘traditional culture' in the method, but because of the way the intervention actually works in relation to some key culturally conservative values and practices, that it seems to be so successful."The basic point of this medical example is that it is not legitimate to reject ‘interventionist' strategies in toto, when it is demonstrable that some of them may be ‘culturally appropriate' from an Indigenous point of view. "The services of a uniformed police presence which are so often in demand from members of Aboriginal communities is another example – as non-kin they owe no obligations to disputing parties."Apart from more clear-headed, less ideological thinking and proactive policy development and implementation by governments, to which anthropologists' with their in-depth methodology can make a contribution, Sutton argues for a cultural redevelopment which essentially can only be accomplished by Indigenous people themselves. "Any truly significant shift in an Indigenous political economy, in a non-agrarian and technologically complex context like present-day Australia, is likely to involve much greater social integration with non-kin than occurs at present, even though this kind of integration may have long been advancing due to, among other things, urban drift. "So long as kinship remains a major basis rather than a mainly private aspect of the political economy of a people, it is unlikely they will pursue the desired benefits of the post-industrial world very effectively or at great speed." To those who argue for multicultural tolerance towards behaviour that is customary, Sutton responds: "Capital punishment for minor thefts, once ‘normal' in European society, is not suddenly acceptable now simply because it was once an old ‘tradition' of Europeans in another era. "That Captain Cook flogged 20 per cent, 26 per cent and 37 per cent of the sailors on his three voyages to the Pacific, respectively, was very ‘traditional' and has in no way cost him his reputation of today. "Yet would we allow him to do it now?"As for anthropologists, more and deeper research is required, and not all of it "narrowly directed at understanding disadvantage itself". "In particular, there is a conspicuous slightness about the available anthropological literature focused on the opposite of disadvantage, and how people achieve it in their own lifetimes," writes Sutton. Source: "The Politics of Suffering: Indigenous Policy in Australia Since the Seventies"Anthropological Forum, Vol.11, No. 2. 2001. pp125-173.

New broom needs to start sweeping! COMMENT by ERWIN CHLANDA.

The gain from native title agreements in Alice Springs may be a great deal more than the sorely needed 500 new blocks of residential land: the other prize may be peace in the streets. And that would not be before time: "It's getting worse," is a comment one hears too often, as more and more Aborigines are seeking relief in Alice Springs from the squalor in the bush communities, while too many local residents are talking about leaving town. Putting an end to "anti social behaviour" is something that eluded successive CLP regimes over more than a quarter of a century. Or maybe they weren't trying all that hard. Election after election, the mayhem in public places gave the conservative side of politics a handy and graphic backdrop to their claims. With little variation on the theme they went something like this: Labor is soft on Aborigines. Vote for us, because we're the party that will get tough. They never did, at least not in a way that worked. So what can the new Labor government do? Plenty – but they'd better get cracking in a hurry. The ALP can build on a long tradition of good relationships and empathy with Aboriginal interests. From the perspective of these interests, the good guys are now in power. The land deals finally under way will do more for the native title holders than providing them with some cash and commercial opportunities. These people will take their rightful place in our community, which after all is at least 25 per cent black. This opens up an exciting range of possibilities. Above all, the Arrernte's right to have a say in their country is receiving fresh and tangible recognition. That right may well include a say over how other tribes coming into this town must behave whilst here. The desecration of sites and the destruction of sacred trees in the Todd River has long been an issue with elders. The Martin Government, with the highly respected Peter Toyne as its public face in The Centre, can and needs to enlist the help of these Aboriginal elders and leaders, many of them Labor sympathisers from way back and a key element in the party's surprise electoral success last year. If these leaders back existing or future law and order measures their acceptance would be assured, not only here, but throughout the nation which constantly has its eye on Alice Springs. After all, no longer could the "southerners" clamour about redneck measures by a repressive regime. The story would now be the empowerment of traditional owners looking after their country with the support of an enlightened government. Labor has the right connections to achieve this. There is a question whether some long entrenched organisations will play ball. The public will take a dim view if they don't. If the new government can pull this off it will be in power for a very long time, and the town will prosper on the back of a booming tourism industry. If the government fails … well, that doesn't bear thinking about.

'Fortress' Alice - do you think you'll retire here? Column by ANN CLOKE.

After last week's column, "Another Farewell", and over a series of lunches with Lori, Julie, Kate, Wendy, Stephanie, Franca, Vicki, Francoise and others, not to mention the after dinner discussions with David and other friends, many of whom are also in business, and employers in the town, the pros and cons of retiring in Alice Springs have been aired. Most of our friends are planning for their retirement financially, but it's far too early to think geographically. Many haven't discounted the Centre, but add that if the current issues of anti-social behaviour haven't been resolved by the time they do wish to look at enjoying the fruits of their labours, then they will leave this place they have called home for however many decades. The power of choice. These are people who love the Alice, the climate, the lifestyle, the countryside. For many, Alice is the only home they've known in Australia. Some were born here, some are immigrants from afar, others, like us, arrived and were captivated.Many immigrants left their homelands because of racial tension, political unrest and social problems. Fear was a constant companion. Some of those people feel, especially of late, that Alice Springs is showing all the signs of turning into what they thought they'd left: an angry town where residents drop their standards to the lowest common denominator. They tell their children to ignore the disturbances, degradation, stabbings, beatings and violence, which are fast becoming the norm on our streets. I did a mall walk, without blinkers, last Thursday and talked to many people: "out of control" was one term used often, and "brutal", "brazen", "violent", "in your face" also. Two shop assistants told me that they do not feel safe in their workplaces. Someone asked if the incidents would be ignored if white offenders were involved. An international visitor commented that we, America and Australia, seem to have much in common regarding Indigenous anti-social behavioural issues. The urban drift of young Indigenous people, bored by a lack-lustre existence in the bush, into Alice Springs, is putting huge pressure on the town and resources and on Aboriginal people who are living in town camps and housing developments in and around the Alice. It is also creating a fresh wave of humanitarian and health problems, and turning some Indigenous people, already outcasts in their own communities, into refugees within their own country. No-one seems to have a solution. We've identified some of the problems: alcohol and substance abuse, acceptance of violence, health problems, lack of hygiene, lack of education because of rising school absenteeism, the hopelessness of a lost people. Indigenous leaders are now talking about handing the responsibility back to the people. Whilst this is good, no-one is grasping the nettle and facing up to the real problem which is where do these people, the first to inhabit Australia, "fit" into our social structure, or, for that matter, how do we fit into theirs, and how do we co-exist together? We are trying to encourage people to stay in the Territory by offering seniors incentives including discounts, rebates on airfares, better health services, top sporting and recreational facilities, but the one thing that everyone wants – a secure existence in a society that is fair to all its people – remains elusive. Is anywhere really safe these days? Is it that some places are more secure than others?Most seniors I know – Mummy and Dad included, and they reside in New Zealand – live with iron grilles and bars, locked windows and doors. It's becoming rough in Alice Springs, and many people are making sure that they don't have to come in to the town centre on pension days. When they do, they give the mall and sails area a wide berth. In fact, Sundays are always a great day to walk the mall, check out the markets, catch up with friends … It's hard to imagine a fortified Alice: residents living behind tall fences with razor-wire atop and automatic gates protecting caged homes patrolled by armed security guards with fierce dogs, trying to catch a glimpse of clear blue skies through mesh covered windows. People living in walled compounds today in many parts of the world – Asia, Africa and Papua New Guinea – never thought they would have to either. Federally, no government, Liberal or Labor, has managed to make the right decisions in the sphere of Aboriginal Affairs.We have entered a new phase of Territory politics. Clare Martin has to ensure her Cabinet, especially Peter Toyne, Minister for Central Australia, who has spent much time out bush and is aware of our particular issues, knows of our concerns: that the issue of anti-social behaviour is again aired; that Indigenous issues are tabled and acknowledged, and discussed with Indigenous leaders; that positive policing strategies introduced; and that policies for change are documented and put into practice. Those of us who live here know it's in our interest to help implement the changes, to stop ignoring the problems and make sure that Alice Springs is a town we'd love to live in, maybe even retire in.

What visitors are thinking. A letter from France.

The Alice News received this letter from French tourists. Surely, it's food for thought for our leaders – if impressions such as there are passed on to their friends by visitors to our town, what will it do for our international reputation upon which our tourism industry depends.
Sir,- Coming overland from France after more than 20 months of travel, we arrived in Alice Springs region. [This was] the opportunity for us to try to understand better the roots of Aboriginal culture which is so unknown in our country.But, what a shock!We've seen lost people, old women hanging around in the streets, sad eyes almost crying, beggars coming to our car asking for some food, groups drinking alcohol like only the desperate do. We've seen white people on one side and Aborigines on the other, loads of shops exploiting their cultural heritage, heard men terrified of being arrested by policemen who will drive them in cars looking like cages, but we haven't seen a pride, gone for so long … On Christmas eve, there were streamers wishing "peace, harmony, tolerance, respect, unity …" in Alice Springs – we think it is a joke!After having visited some of the poorest countries on earth, we feel like this situation is one of the most dramatic and terrifying we've been living, a bit similar to the Chinese behaviour with Tibetan people.We wish things are going to change. We met people who proudly fight for this. We wish them all the success they deserve, as well as the Aborigines.
Reno and Claire
France, December, 2001.


The Centre's heritage is going to the dump! These photos were found in a kitchen cupboard in a house that was changing hands and would have been thrown out except for last minute intervention. The well-meaning rescuer divided her find between several recipients, one being the Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame. Curator Pauline Cockrill says the splitting of the "collection" has also meant that some of its story was lost.The photos are known to have been taken by a Jack Perkins who was in Alice between 1929 and 1931 with the Murray River Commission. We see a stern-faced Daisy Bates (below) standing on the railway station platform at Ooldea, in South Australia.At right, we see Moses, one of the first converted Aborigines at Hermannsburg, and his wife Sofia. Moses eventually became an evangelist. The man in front of the donkey was Kamutu, a Pintubi tribal chief. Among the other photos safe-guarded by Pauline, there are several empathetic shots of Aboriginal people, some probably in the Centre, others in SA. Others show the first meeting of the Country Women's Association in Alice Springs; the government's Resident with wife, child and visitors; government buildings in the Outback; and some, at a guess, are of relatives. If all the photos had stayed together they may have given a more complete picture of Mr Perkins' wanderings and interests. Some have incorrect captions on the back, and some, no caption at all. This too is another way that heritage is being lost: Pauline urges people to caption their personal photos. Who knows what interest they may hold for a descendent or future researcher?We can all do something about this, but the lack of a proper archiving facility in Central Australia requires government attention, say Pauline and fellow heritage campaigners Judy Robinson and Barry Allwright. There is the Northern Territory Archives in Darwin, but that's not good enough, they say. Many locals are wary of their material leaving town, and there are examples of invaluable records being lost. Judy cites correspondence between her grandfather Sam Nicker and Breaker Morant, which her mother sent to Darwin but which now can't be found. Fortunately, Judy retains in her possession a poem written by "The Breaker" on the eve of his execution and sent to her grandfather. There is also the issue of access: travel expenses to Darwin, or Sydney or Adelaide, are a considerable barrier to research, whether it be personal or professional. Judy's house is crowded with important material, as is Barry's. The late Doug Boerner gave him, for example, Harry Birtwhistle's collection of photos. Mr Birtwhistle was a public works employee who photographed construction sites. The collection is an important visual record of the town's built environment. "But who's going to look after it when I'm gone?" asks Barry. The same question could be asked about his own photos, which he has been taking for 40 years. All three bemoan the loss of all the late Mona Minahan's personal photos and papers. As far as they know, relatives sent the whole lot to the dump. If there had been a local archives they feel confident that Miss Minahan herself would have made arrangements for the material. At present, there is a little-known air-conditioned holding room in a government building where material can be lodged with conditions attached, such as "never to leave Alice Springs". But with no staff, there is no access for researchers. This Year of the Outback is high time, they say, to get the ball rolling on an archives in Alice Springs. It needs to be a purpose-built facility, with adequate staffing: no doubt an expensive undertaking, but what price our history?"We are at the heart of Australia," says Judy, "but we have no heart if we lose our history." Minister for Central Australia, Peter Toyne, says he has asked the Department of Communications and Information Services to bring forward an options paper addressing the archival needs of the Centre. "The key need would appear to be personnel," says Dr Toyne. "It is easy enough to find a government building to house the facility, but you need someone to catalogue and maintain the holdings and to allow access." Dr Toyne says no action will be possible this financial year, but he is taking the matter seriously. "Meanwhile, people should hold onto their collections!" he urges. He and wife, Thea, have submitted photos taken during their 20 years teaching in remote communities to be assessed for archiving in the Territory Collection.


Alice Springs is groping in the dark when it comes to hard economic data that are up to date. A "public discussion paper" released by Alice in Ten in 1999 put the annual value of tourism at $287m in the region, including $159m in the "Alice Springs subre-gion" and the remainder in the "Uluru and Watarrka [King's Canyon] subregion". Mining was a close second with $241m and cattle a distant third with $17m. It does not appear these figures have been updated by Alice in Ten. The pastoral figues, for one, are likely to be at least double in the wake of a bumper season. CATIA's Craig Catchlove has now called for comprehensive annual summaries which indicate which industries – in the town of Alice Springs itself – are going up or down. He says there are raw numbers, but there is no financial information about Alice Springs in isolation.With respect to the tourism industry, "we have the number of people but not the dollars for Alice Springs itself," says Mr Catchlove. He says the latest data comparing tourism earnings in the town with other industries was in a town council publication, "Economic Profile", from 1998. "I would like to see figures as a whole, what is the relative worth of all the industries, are they going up or are they going down. "These figures may be out there in very disparate forms but I'd like to see them in one document that is an effective summary of our region." PLANNINGMr Catchlove says these data, which should be revised at least annually, are vital for any strategic planning for the town. He says popular wisdom is that tourism is the biggest private enterprise earner, closely followed by mining – each worth around $300m a year – but that tourism is by far the biggest employer and has a greater impact on the local economy than mining. Mining in the region is almost entirely confined to Normandy North Flinders Mines giant Granites and Tanami gold ventures, some 500 km north-west of Alice Springs. Manager Leigh Taylor says they will produce 600,000 ounces of gold this year, worth more than $300m. But the benefit of this vast income to the town of Alice Springs is difficult to assess. Many of the supplies are sourced from interstate. There are 600 people working at the two mines. However, 400 of them are spending their R&R in Darwin or interstate. If they're heading to the east coast and Adelaide they stage through Alice Springs. The mine has direct flights from the Granites to Perth and Adelaide. Only around 200 of the staff live in The Alice.


There was an air of seriousness at both Traeger Park and Albrecht Oval on Saturday as all four sides recognised that it was now the business end of the season. At Albrecht, the crowd was down, but with two neutral umpires centre stage and vital premiership points on offer, play was fair dinkum from the first delivery. Rovers, pitted against West, needed to show they were keen to be there on grand final day. They took to the willow first and were able to compile 190 runs. The mainstay of the innings was Peter Kleinig who scored a century, after coming off ducks in his last two appearances. While "Slats" put his head down and played each ball on merit, it was really only the ever-ready skipper Mark Nash who provided support. In a third wicket stand of 92 the pair gave the Blues score some sense of respectability. Matt Pyle didn't last long in opening, run out for seven. Partner Tye Rayfield consolidated a little to make 20 before returning to the pavilion, via the bowling of Jeremy Bigg. Peter Isbel, who has been a contributor to the Blues' success this year, didn't stay long when Ken Vowles had him LBW for a globe. With the score at 3/27 Nash and Kleinig took over, and the Blues looked to have things in hand. Drinks were taken 18 overs from stumps. They seemed secure at 6/160, with Kleinig on 84. Alas in the run to the line the wickets tumbled and only 190 runs were registered. Such are the vagaries of cricket however, that in the last overs of the day Rovers bounced back. In snaring two West wickets for 10, the Blues put themselves in a handy position for day two. The game at Traeger Park is one of make or break for both sides. Fourth place is at stake, and should Federal take the first innings points or better, the pressure will be on the Razzle, the current one day premiers. RSL had first use of the bat, and openers Graham Schmidt with 25 and Rod Dunbar with 35 provided a solid start. However Adrian McAdam, who loves the thrill of competition, took control with his pace attack and accounted for both openers and first drop Jamie Smith for a duck. Allan Rowe then joined the party and claimed the wickets of Jeff Whitmore for six, Scott Robertson for 29, and Troy Camileri for two. With RSL only 103 for the loss of six wickets, things didn't look pretty. However, Michael Chunys established some sort of order late in the innings to score a worthwhile 41 before falling to McAdam. McAdam cleaned up the tail and returned five for 68 off 17 overs. His skipper Rowe took four for 51 off 17. New comer Grant Giblet from Manjimup in WA, made his debut with 1/19 off six. The honours at the change of innings appeared to be in Federals' favour, but many a score of less than 170 has won matches on this track. Feds lost opener Rory Hood early, when he was caught by Luke Southam off Schmidt for nine. However, in the last hour Tom Clements and Jamie Chadwick consolidated with 20 and 16, respectively and both not out, to have the Demons in the box seat at 1/53 at stumps.


"Why wasn't I considered to captain Australia instead of Ricky Ponting?" The quip comes from the tongue of another keeper of the torch in Alice Springs, Peter Hoey. Hoey, accountant by trade, and assistant to the Ombudsman for years, is renowned for his repartee, be it at a Rotary meeting or discussing the punt at the TAB. In terms of community capital, he makes his contribution as the Chairman of the Masters Games Advisory Committee, a role he has had since Trevor Kendall vacated the chair in 1996. Hoey (at left in the photo) began his sporting life in Murrumbeena, Victoria, where he savoured the joys of kicking a footy around the mudbogs that southerners call ovals. Such was his prowess with the bag of leather that he represented East Oakley Central School. A legend of the then VFL, John Kennedy was his coach. Later, after a run with the Huntingdale Amateurs, Hoey realised that there was little value in becoming drenched and covered in mud in the name of sport, so he gave footy away. However he persevered with cricket and featured with the Oakley District A Grade, bowling his left arm orthodox spinners on a challenging matting surface. By 1980 he was in Alice Springs with his family and employed by Tube Makers. He immediately sniffed out the local Table Tennis Club, proving to be a good B grader, and very average in the As. He teamed well with Allan Hawkins and company, excelling in the post match warm down sessions. In 1984 Hoey became involved with the Swimming Club out of his daughter's interest in aquatics, and before he knew it he was on the committee; then President; and in his spare time, an assistant to coach Max O'Callaghan. In this role Hoey describes himself as the "driest coach of all time". In 1986, the inaugural year of the Masters Games, Hoey, became the Swimming Coordinator. He served in this role efficiently, upsetting only the Tasmanian contingent from whom he sought assistance in the belief that "two heads were better than one". In the same landmark year, Hoey also entered the world of athletics in an effort to reduce his weight. In time he ran a marathon, cross countries and the like. He beat Dr Jeff Thompson in one challenge, with Thompson subsequently copping a roasting from Dick Telford (former Australian marathon coach) for running on a newly reconstructed knee. Later, he was also challenged by one Richard Lim, who was beaten before the race started as he over trained and developed shin splints. In Hoey's words "fat power wins again". Hoey was appointed to the Masters Games Advisory Committee by the late Roger Vale and in time became Chairman. He holds a Gold Medal from 1998 in Table Tennis Doubles where he and Trevor Deans claimed victory in the 60-65 year old division (they had no challenges). He consults with the local community on the value of Masters competition on street corners, fish and chip shops, and even at the TAB. Most importantly he plans, prepares and promotes the Alice Springs Masters games from the Closing Ceremony of one through to the Opening Ceremony of the next. In October this year Peter Hoey will be expecting everyone in Alice to be there and involved in the Masters.


Anyinginyi Arts exhibition Bush Fruits, which opened at Araluen on the weekend, is the visual catalogue of a land of plenty, a garden of delight … if you know what to look for. The artists present talked with fervour about the bush tucker that they honour in the show, about where it's found and what you do with, what it's good for, how it tastes. Their visual representation tends to a well-chosen simplicity: strong colours, large simple forms of the kind made famous by one of their number, Peggy Napangardi Jones. Lady Dixon Nimara's work is more intricately composed, and it was impressive to hear one artist analyse the detail of an outstanding painting at the entrance to the gallery, naming every tiny seed represented. The show's accompanying catalogue provides some interesting information about bush tucker and how it's gathered, but it's a shame there aren't explanatory notes alongside the paintings. It adds to the pleasure of these delightful paintings, and to our appreciation of Aboriginal biological knowledge, to know what animals, plants and fruits are being described. Over 200 artists and craftspersons supply work for sale in Anyinginyi Arts' gallery in Tennant Creek. Manager Brenda Runnegar laments the overlooking of their output "in publications and discourse concerning Aboriginal art". She says that, for example, the work of Susan Nakamara Nelson and Penny Napaltjarri Kelly has until now been appreciated only by "a discerning tourist market". This show aims to acknowledge all of the artists' "contribution as ambassadors of the Barkly region". - K. FINNANE.

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