July 17, 2002.


Pick a fight with a black kid and you have his "cousins" to contend with. That's the reality on the streets of Alice Springs, a white teenager found out the hard way. A seasoned youth worker says that's the rules, but family mediation can end the violence. KIERAN FINNANE reports.

A schoolyard after hours: two white boys, 11 and 13, are playing basketball.
Suddenly they are surrounded by at least seven Aboriginal children, aged about 11 and under, who begin taunting them, threatening to take their ball.
The white pair want to stand up for themselves. They hang on to the ball and verbally give back what they get.
This lasts for about half an hour until one of the black lads jabs the younger white boy in the back of the neck with a stick.
The older white boy reacts angrily, starts swinging his fists but is careful not to hit anyone.
The black kids scatter.
Says the older boy, Daniel (not his real name): "The thing is, I could not hit them because I would have most likely suffered violent repercussions from their brothers, cousins and uncles."
Daniel and his mother have contacted the Alice Springs News in frustration, anger and fear. The type of incident described above, which occurred about two years ago, is becoming more frequent and threatening as Daniel grows older.
It is not the first time the News has been told about white boys having to keep a low profile because of "the cousins". Youth workers we spoke to, including Eddie Taylor who comments below, confirmed that they too hear of similar incidents.
Daniel doesn't take bullying readily. He says he could easily "drop" the often younger children who harass him but knows he hasn't got a chance once they call in help.
"There is a bullshit situation in Alice Springs where you can't touch someone who's black because you'll get bashed by all their cousins."
At a party earlier this year, he beat a quick retreat when he was grabbed and threatened by an Aboriginal youth Ð "drunk as" Ð who had gate-crashed with several mates.
Trouble has increased lately after he and a friend stopped a younger boy, let's call him Ben, from "double banking" another kid, in other words getting someone else to help him give the kid a beating.
They told Ben to do his own fighting, to make it fair. Ben didn't take it well.
Since then, says Daniel, he's been targeted by Ben and his connections. When Daniel goes up town he often hears his name called. When he looks around he sees Aboriginal boys slamming one fist into the palm of their other hand in a threatening gesture.
He says he won't go up town or to the skate park by himself for fear of confrontations and he's worried about going to parties because of gate-crashers.
He was recently walking to his neighborhood shops, listening to his Discman. Two Aboriginal teenagers on pushbikes approached him; the older one was wearing steel-capped boots.
"He asked me, ÔYou want to get your head smashed?'
"If they had wanted to start something, they were both on pushbikes, I couldn't have got away.
"I walked into the shop and they cruised.
"I've had to put up with this kind of thing for years now."
He has Aboriginal friends; there was an Aboriginal boy visiting when I went to see him. Some of them have spoken up for him and smoothed things over on different occasions, but he says there aren't enough of them to make a difference, or they can only take their loyalty so far Ð they have other over-riding loyalties to family members and relatives.
He says he wishes there were white gangs in town to "even things out" but there aren't because they could never muster the numbers.
So why does he think it happens?
"Because they're black and white man took their land. They're taking revenge.
"Some of their parents are stolen generation. They are passing on their anger to their kids."
He also says many of the boys who give him trouble are "homeless or living at a relative's house with several others like themselves".
Some of these incidents have been reported to the police, including to school-based constables, say Daniel and his mother.
They say there has never been any effective intervention.
Both feel the police should take complaints more seriously.
But more importantly, says Daniel's mother, "families should take responsibility for their children".
"I want them to know what they've been doing and how it has affected me and my family.
"Adults have to get involved because kids get into situations that they can't fix themselves."
Aboriginal youth worker Eddie Taylor agrees: "What I would suggest he do is find out who these young fellers' parents are, or their uncle or aunty, and have a talk to them."
What would the message to the youths be?
"You'd have to explain to them what the repercussions might be, that if anything happens to this other feller then they would be the first ones the police would be looking for."
Would the idea of fairness come into it?
"No. With black kids, if you fight one, you fight the rest.
"If he gives this kid a hiding, everyone will target him. If he gets a hiding, everyone will target him because he's shown he's easy prey.
"He may be able to buy his way out of the situation, that's one possibility.
"It's important to find out why the whole thing started, there must be a reason. Maybe he laughed at someone, it can be as simple and as stupid as that, but that can be fixed by a bit of talking. If you can't get through to the kids, then find the parents."
Calling in the relatives to fight his fight is not Eddie's way and he says it's not what he has taught his sons.
"I taught them if you're going to have a blue, let it be one on one and don't walk away until you've shaken hands. None of this doubling up, unless they're doubling up on you.
"If I give someone lip and he gives me a smack in the mouth, that's my problem.
"If you can't back it, don't give it."
Referring to the situation where Daniel intervened in Ben's "double banking", Eddie suggested "sometimes it's better to walk away".
"But he's probably like me, and if you put your nose in, you've got to put up with the consequences."
Superintendent Matt Hollamby, who is in charge of school-based constables in Alice, says bullying isn't confined to Aboriginal youths and happens to a degree in every town in Australia.
He says the police hear about Daniel's kind of situation from time to time.
If it happens at school and hasn't led to a criminal offence, it is dealt with by the schools, which each have an Aboriginal liaison officer.
He says if an incident were reported to the police, and especially if it concerned an assault, it would be treated seriously.
"It is a community issue. The police rely on information and support from the public to combat this type of situation," he says.
Says Daniel's mother: "I'd love to live in a town with more unity and harmony, where fear wasn't part of the equation and where you weren't worried if you'd said the wrong thing or looked at the wrong person.
"Wenten Rubuntja has said all kids born in Alice Springs are Yeperenye kids.
"We should be worried for all our kids.
"I worry about my own kids but I'm also worried about the kids perpetrating this stuff, what sort of path are they setting out on?"


Buffel grass Ð "the scourge of Central Australia" Ð has infested areas around The Rock and is covering some 20 hectares of the World Heritage listed Uluru - Kata Tjuta National Park. Buffel was planted in the park after major droughts during the 1970s, to stop erosion and loss of top soil.
"This was with good intentions and the best knowledge and practices at the time," says park manager, Brooke Watson.
"However, like many other introduced animals and plant species, buffel grass has now become a pest."
It has the potential to spread back into the park from surrounding pastoral leases, as well as via seeds carried in on people's shoes and car tyres.
The infestation has steadily thickened over the past three years with record rainfalls.
Mr Watson says buffel can increase density by up to 80 per cent following good summer rains.
Its presence in the park was identified through a commissioned report done by Bill Lowe in 1990-91.
"Buffel is an environmental threat to biodiversity and has been identified in our plans of management for the last 10 years, when it was noticed that the grass was beginning to exclude native plants in areas where it was growing thickly."
Traditional owners were consulted and agreed that it looked like a menace.
In 2001 a weeds specialist was brought in to work with rangers on a strategy to eradicate it. They looked at what was being done in other areas, including Alice Springs, Watarrka National Park and the Pitjantjatjara lands.
Its spread in the park is being carefully mapped, and its density classified on a scale of one to five.
It was resolved to hand pull "pioneer" plants to stop the spread and to try a variety of control methods on the thicker infestations: spot spraying away from water ways; chipping and burning in other areas.
"We are under-resourced to make a great impact but volunteers are helping," says Mr Watson.
Conservation Volunteers Australia recently removed the weed from an area of one hectare, which took about 500 person hours of labour.
Green Corps has also contributed and Yulara residents have offered to help.
Mutitjulu residents make up the majority of the park's day labour team and are sometimes assigned to this job.
"We will beat it," says Mr Watson.
"At the moment it is not under control. We hope to have it under control within five years. "Eradication, with a good plan and strategy, will take at least 10 years and only if it is backed up with the resources from all angles.
"We understand it takes three to five years to exhaust the seed bank and seed viability today is probably eight to 10 years.
"Our priority is to get it away from the waterholes, because every time it rains the water spreads it further afield.
"Once we achieve that it will no longer be a threat but we will always have to remain vigilant because it could take over again."

If life were like the movies... COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.

If the "Spiderman" story were set in Alice Springs, Peter Parker, the alter ego of the masked hero, would be a student at Centralian College.
One day, he would be bitten by a redback. He would spend a few days in hospital and then resume his studies. The end. It would be a short film rather than a feature movie.
Let's try again. Spiderman comes to the Alice. On his first evening, he is minding his own business, walking along Leichhardt Terrace. A group of people sitting on the banks of the Todd start shouting at him and making threatening noises. So he fires a web across to the branches of one of the tress and swings over. Then, realising that comic book violence has no place in the real world, he sits down with the offenders and offers them group counselling about their anti-social behaviour.
One more attempt. Spiderman comes to the Territory. Finding no skyscrapers and tall buildings from which he can swing, he looks for an alternative. So he starts on ANZAC Hill and swings across to the church steeple, then onto the Yeperenye Shopping Centre, then K-Mart. Er, that's it. No villains to pursue, no winsome beauty waiting to be rescued. Just a long line of traffic waiting to get into Woolworths.
Let's try a different movie, "Forrest Gump". This was the endearing story of a man who may not have been intelligent, but he always found a way to do the right (and historically significant) thing. It captivated baby-boomers the world over. Set in the Alice, it would feature sequences of him running up and down the Stuart Highway for no particular purpose. And then he would enter the Council chambers and put right the problem with the deficit. Hardly stirring stuff.
How about "Titanic"? Cruising down the Todd, the ship would hit a drum full of VB cans and start to list. A couple standing on the bow would embrace and declare their love for each other. Waiting for the ship to disappear beneath the waves, they would spend a very long time hugging and whispering sweet nothings into each other's ears. Even longer than the same scene in the original.
"Men in Black". A man working in Alice Springs Post Office turns out to be a special agent with the skill to uncover aliens masquerading as humans. Except that he doesn't know it. Until a cool man wearing shades tells him so. They make up a team and go in search of aliens. But nobody in the Territory takes anyone wearing a black suit seriously. So their crusade is abandoned.
Finally, "Mission Impossible". The mission is to keep the bush roads of Central Australia serviceable throughout the year. A man of 40 years but with boyish good looks and a floppy fringe tackles the challenge head on. Last seen heading out on the Tanami Track, driving a grader and wearing a singlet, the movie is over before he gets to Yuendumu.
If life were like the movies, bar owners would be wise-cracking and lovable rogues. Gangs of youths would be lost souls seeking meaning to their existence and causing no real harm to anyone. People with no identifiable singing ability would break into tuneful song. Lonely teenage misfits with unconventional looks would have their personality revealed to everyone, leading to true love. Poor struggling children without the money to buy a pair of boots would one day star in a grand final.
If life were like the movies, every joke you tell would be met with uproarious laughter. Every time you meet someone you haven't met before, a meaningful and important conversation ensues. Every problem is soluble. Each day is dramatic. Every life has an interesting story.
But life isn't like that. Alice Springs is not Hollywood. So we'll just have to make do with the real world.

Weeds and culture on the Larapinta Trail. COLUMN by GLENN MARSHALL.

Two of my friends from Darwin have just spent 20 days walking the full length of the Larapinta Trail, from the Alice Springs Telegraph Station to the top of Mt Sonder 220 kilometres to the west.
Both have walked in many places of the world including Nepal, southern Europe, Central America and Australia, and both found it a walk of exceptional grandeur. It would be impossible to think otherwise.
From the moment they leave the Telegraph Station people are immersed into the landscape and then are directed along clear but basic paths through all habitats of the MacDonnell Ranges from creek beds to slopes and range tops. I managed to join them for the last three days and had a great time catching up with my mates.
There were two observations from their walk that I found particularly interesting Ð they concerned weeds and culture. For the first five days, much of the trail is fringed by buffel grass. My friends were aware of it as a weed from our pre-trip discussions, but were taken aback by how dominant it was in so many habitats.
Often it forms thick walls on both sides of the track and has out competed all native groundcover species that once grew along creek flats and hill slopes.
When they finally left behind the current spread of buffel grass at Jay Creek, my friends said they were amazed at the beauty and diversity of native grasses and other plants that they saw for the rest of the trip.
Sadly for the Larapinta Trail, buffel grass is continuing its westward spread and has formed bridgeheads in most of the tourist gorges such as Ormiston Gorge.
There is no control program in place for this declared environmental weed and so it will continue to spread unchecked and will continue to degrade the experience of walkers on the Larapinta Trail.
Sadly, the impact will get far worse than it is now. As we are already witnessing in Simpsons Gap National Park, thick buffel grass carries very hot fires that kill native shrubs and trees.
The drive into Simpsons Gap is dotted with dead skeletons of shrubs killed by last year's fires. The next fires will reduce these to ashes and we will be left with open stretches of buffel grass that allow no room for seedlings to regenerate.
Like many tourists to central Australia my friends were hungry for knowledge on local Aboriginal culture, particularly relating to their experiences on the Larapinta Trail.
"How many seasons do Arrernte people have, and what do they call them?"
"How did Arrernte people keep their babies warm on freezing nights?" "What sort of stories do people have for the stars?"
"Did people spend much time on the spinifex slopes or hill-tops?"
Whilst I don't know the answers to many of these questions, we are so fortunate in central Australia to have a living Indigenous culture that maintains a strong connection to the land and continues to tell these stories.
Unlike in Nepal or other places though, there is little opportunity for walkers to engage first-hand with Arrernte people in the West MacDonnell ranges, and there is not a lot of literature available that answers many of their simple questions. Perhaps this is an opportunity for increased Aboriginal involvement in the tourist industry.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Desert Ignorance Inc.

Sir,- Word has it that traditional owners have objected to PAWA polluting their traditional country along St Marys Creek with the effluent illegally discharged via Ilparpa swamp.
I can't say I'm surprised at their decision.
So now I'm told the drain that the NT government has installed (presumably after consultation with traditional owners and at significant public expense) will be blocked up and the swamp will be refilled again with effluent.
What do we know about this government discharge of effluent?
They don't have a license for it, and if they did, it would be a license to pollute.
It breeds mosquitoes in numbers that are so massive it's becoming famous in scientific journals on mosquitos and in communicable disease bulletins telling you what you are most likely to catch this year.
An American Pine Gap worker died last year from Australian encephalitis.
A tourist died in MacKay from Australian encephalitis in 1997.
A German tourist woke up after 10 days in a coma in a German hospital and had no problem in telling puzzled doctors where and why he got sick.
They should call it foreign tourist encephalitis.
So what happens when kids in Ilparpa Valley get this. If these kids are brain damaged or dead, parents will be looking for the correct authorities to hold to account.
And you can't say the NT government is ignorant on this issue. Their own scientists have told them, and people are already dead and that swamp is the scientifically recognised point source for disease production.
On one side of the mountain at Pine Gap they can detect a sparrow fart in Iraq, and on the other side of the mountain in Ilparpa we don't even have the technology to take out our own crap. That's a shame job.
The ducks have a fungus.
The feral fish aren't feeling any better.
And nobody is telling the Tourist Commission to take down those increasingly irrelevant and amazingly stupid bird watching signs. I get no joy every day out of seeing tourists standing knee deep in effluent looking at sick ducks through binoculars. As a matter of fact, I feel sorry for them.
Because Ilparpa swamp stinks. And it's disgusting to look at.
It's surrounded by town camps, an old people's home, caravan parks and a rural subdivision. They wouldn't let this happen near the Golf Course Estate.
The government has built drains, pumps, power poles, pump stations, widened the road, lifted the road, leaked half a year's fresh water into the swamp presumably to make the ducks feel better, then blamed the sun for not evaporating the water in winter, brought in the consultants, turned on the lights, had a workshop, put up warning signs, set up a committee for community participation, put up barriers, and now they are thinking about filling the swamp up again (getting ready for summer I guess).
It's an environmental wasteland.
It's a public health disaster waiting to happen again.
It's a public relations catastrophe.
And it's ugly, so ugly.
And all this in the Land of Desert Knowledge.
But you must be joking.
It's Desert Ignorance Incorporated.
It's a symbol of Regional Decline. It's about bankruptcy of ideas and paralysis of political will.
Welcome to Shitsville.
John Grundy
Alice Springs

Sir,- The first bang of the first cracker went off on June 28, 2002 and as I write, in the first week of July, 2002, I can still hear them exploding somewhere near. I was of the impression that we would only have to bear with this for one night only, what a joke.
The parents of these children apparently condone their kids indulging in this unlawful play.
I am possibly one of many pet owners who love their pets and am totally horrified of this trend that is allowing kids to play war games with these objects. They can't be called crackers, as the types today are more like explosives, which must cost an arm and leg.
I have a little dog that is absolutely terrified of these things and as for those who advise owners to lock their pets in the laundry or some such place, I feel they must have no pets or no compassion for those who do.
From the first explosion occurring my little dog becomes paranoid with terror and peers through the glass doors and attempts to desperately to hide.
She can not be pacified and becomes extremely traumatised whilst the children are practising this senseless celebration.
When will our authorities have the courage to say "enough is enough" and completely outlaw this practice?
It is going to take a small child to have a serious injury before this senseless thing is banned altogether.
Fred Thomson
Alice Springs

Sir,- The incentive based collection of recyclable cans and bottles can only be seen as a plus in all ways, for the environment, the tourist perception and a few dollars in the collectors' pockets. (See Glenn's Glimpse in last week's Alice News).
All the bleating by those opposed to the idea only firms up my view that the breweries are sucking the Territory dry, whilst spending millions of dollars on sports sponsorship down south, for example on the Grand Prix and the AFL.
Keep up the good work as in the end, the Top End will be the winner.
Chris Morgan
North Fitzroy , Victoria

Sir,- 12 Field Regiment RAA Association is looking for any gunners who served in 12 Fd Regt RAA during any time period.
We are planning a reunion in 2003 and we would like to get as many old 12 Fd gunners together as we can.
Any inquiries are welcome to phone Kimbo 07 5484 5131 or Tibbo 07 5442 6314.

Sir,- I knew a John Crowley in The Alice 47 years ago. He was a signwriter, also a good jazz pianist. I wonder if he still lives there?
I used to drive a truck for "Windy" Alwright.
I thought maybe one of your readers may know John.
"Windy" was well known, but has probably passed on by now.
B. Miller


The church of the future will be more ecumenical, will have more dialogue with other religions including Islam and will be more involved at the community level, says Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia Archbishop Dr Peter Carnley AO.
In Alice Springs en route to Darwin for Christchurch Cathedral's centennial celebration, Archbishop Carnley spoke of what the recent census by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicated about the church's role in life in Australia.
The good news was that the decline in church attendance during the past five years was not as great as in the previous five years, while 68 percent of people in Australia still consider themselves to be Christian, with many new people going to church each week.
"The area where church attendance is the lightest is in the 15-29 year category.
"This does not necessarily mean that young people are not interested in church, but rather that the church is not addressing their needs."
Archbishop Carnley (pictured) said that in areas such as Sydney where efforts had been made to reach young people through special youth ministry programs, attendance had improved significantly.
He also said that the church was the second highest employer after the government:
"[Church] employment covers a wide range of areas from schools to aged care and therefore plays an important part in the Australian economy.
"Hence it is important that the church gets involved in a wide range of issues and contributes to the national debate on these issues."
This was the archbishop's first visit to Alice Springs, with 88 people attending the parish dinner at which he spoke.


She produced some of Alice's best known children: even if you don't know their names, you've heard them performing, in the Choral Society's recent presentation of Mozart's Requiem, the bugle at Anzac Day ceremonies, at every eisteddfod for years, or busking around the CBD at Christmas time.
Lynda O'Brien, who died on July 2, not only raised, with husband Brendan, this talented ensemble of five Ð Luke, Vincent, Clare, Therese and Paul Ð but for most of their school years taught them herself at what the family dubbed the Aquinas Bush Academy.
She was a school teacher by profession, the only member of her family to get a tertiary education. She was teaching in southern NSW when she took a trip to Central Australia with a friend whose mother was working at Santa Teresa (Ltentye Apurte), then a Catholic mission.
Though not then a Catholic herself, the nuns at the mission offered her a teaching position and she stayed.
Brendan had arrived a year earlier as a lay missionary and was working in the orchard.
They were married 18 months later by Father Brian Healy, still the parish priest in Alice Springs, and the children were soon on their way. (Fr Healy also later received Lynda into the Catholic church.)
Lynda continued to teach with her firstborn, Luke, but once Vincent had arrived in 1981 the family moved into Alice, and Lynda stayed at home with the children.
Brendan says she had a vocation for motherhood and teaching: "Everything for her was centred around the home."
From the start she was determined that they would learn music: she started them all on the piano at age three and soon after she required them to take up another instrument.
She hadn't had this opportunity herself, but would have loved to, says Brendan.
Therese, now a fine cellist, says her mother really "cracked the whip" over music practice. The piano would get a thorough workout for six hours a day and everything else was scheduled around it.
It paid off. As they became proficient the children started to really enjoy their music. Clare, now studying at the Melbourne Conservatorium, intends to make a career as a violinist.
The older boys also both wrestled with the possibility of musical careers Ð Luke plays trumpet, Vincent, trombone Ð although in the end engineering studies won out.
Therese, now in Year 12, intends to do a double degree in music performance and teaching.
Paul plays French horn, although like his brothers is leaning more towards sciences. He's a keen cyclist and builds bikes from scrap for a hobby.
The boys' orientation is interesting, given that Lynda wasn't very interested in science herself.
When Luke was in Grade Four, Vincent in Three and Clare in One, at the Catholic primary school in Alice, Lynda had started to read about an American Catholic home schooling movement. It struck a deep chord: this was what she wanted to do.
She avoided going through official channels for approval. It was known that the then Territory Minister for Education was opposed to home schooling, but she did get the sanction of the Catholic school principal and the parish priest.
Luke says he doesn't know how he felt at first about withdrawing from school, but he does know that he soon started to enjoy finishing his lessons at lunchtime.
For Lynda, education was about learning, not filling in time. If the children had finished the work she set, they were free!
If they were finished for the year, they would take off on a three-month holiday: fully self-sufficient, camping where they stopped. They never saw the inside of a motel or a MacDonalds, recalls Brendan with pride.
"Lynda was very organised, a wonderful provider.
"She did things because she wanted to. If she thought it good and right, she'd do it despite what anyone else would think."
Although she initially followed the Seton Home Study School curriculum, Lynda didn't like to be limited. She adapted the basics to what she thought would be best for her children.
This included introducing them to "enjoyable subjects, like logic and lateral thinking", says Clare.
She was aware that the children needed to be with other young people and took advantage of after school activities like Scouts, Guides, Junior Singers.
She also gave them the choice to go to conventional school once they reached Year 11, recognising that their entry into tertiary studies would be easier if they had their leaving certificates.
Luke says they were probably all a bit behind in their social skills at first: "We weren't used to being in contact with other people for eight hours a day.
"But I think we all jumped this hurdle fairly well."
He says they also weren't very good at copying things down from the board onto a piece of paper: "I'd never done anything like it in my life!"
Neither had they ever sat for a test. Lynda knew where they were up to with their work and thought testing them would be an unnecessary stress.
But they had the advantage of being "green and enthusiastic", says Luke.
"A lot of students lose their enthusiasm in the lower years of high school."
It made up for whatever difficulties they might have been having. And they weren't too great: in succession, each child won a music scholarship which paid half their school fees at St Philip's, as well as a Territory academic scholarship.
The older three have since all won scholarships and awards to assist with their tertiary studies.
Luke, who already has a job as a maintenance engineer with Qantas while completing his degree part-time, married Meaghan, and together they have a son, Samuel, giving Lynda the pleasure of seeing her first grandchild born.
They arrived in Alice 24 hours before she lapsed into her final coma and she was able to nurse the seven-month-old for several hours.
Lynda was diagnosed with ovarian cancer three years ago. Subsequently she developed brain tumors and finally a tumor on her spine.
She faced her illness with courage, acceptance and faith.
Her attitude helped prepare her family for their loss.
Both Brendan and the children are remarkably straightforward in speaking of Lynda's death.
Brendan speaks of her "beautiful spirit". She thanked God for every extra day that she had and what she would be able to do with it. When she became paralysed in her last weeks, she looked at her strong hands, and thought about what she could do with them.
Therese recalls that even a few days before her death, "she wanted her door open so she could keep an eye on us, whether I was studying, whether Clare was doing her practice".
Says Luke: "This is the first family death for us but it happens. Everyone loses their mother and father along the way. Subconsciously our mother prepared us to accept it, to push on, to move on."
Brendan expresses his gratitude to the palliative care team and the Alice Springs Hospital for their care of Lynda and support of the family "when everything was changing so quickly".
He says the best tribute to Lynda was paid by the people who filled the Catholic church for her requiem mass last Monday. Their presence reflected Lynda's contact with people in many walks of life, her "exemplary Catholic life", her "magnanimous spirit".


"My two Nannas were stolen so I wanted to do a stolen generation film," says 10 year old Tianee Collins.
Together with her friends Jessica Ah Chee and Ellen McGregor, she is directing a short film, "Snake Dreaming", to enter in the Outback Youth Film Festival (screening at Witchetty's, August 24 to 26, as part of the Alice Festival).
The children are following in their parents' footsteps.
Tianee is the daughter of CAAMA executive producer, Cilla Collins, and cinematographer dad, Allan. Jessica's dad is CAAMA chairman, Paul Ah Chee, while Ellen's is cameraman and film-maker, Steve McGregor.
So when thinking about holiday activities, making a film didn't seem like too big a step.
The children were attending the Gap Youth Centre holiday program, so CAAMA went into co-production with GYC, with many of the girls attending the program and their carers making up the cast.
Says Tianee: "The story is about a couple of kids out bush. A man comes and takes us away in a truck.
"Everyone sees his tyre tracks and thinks that a snake took the kids, but really they are part of the stolen generation."
Tianee and Jessica drew up the storyboard, under the guidance of Cilla and CAAMA camera operator Robyn Nardoo, with Jessica contributing her ideas later.
On set, they had the help of Robyn, CAAMA's Lisa Stefanoff and GYC youth worker, Sonia Dare, in the sometimes difficult task of directing. Robyn was filming, while Lisa and Sonia also shared recording sound.


The CAFL menu at Traeger Park this Sunday was one of great contrast: a deliciously tight contest between South and Rovers whet the appetite nicely; unfortunately the West v Federal course was as tasty and interesting as wet cardboard.
The traditional Sunday meal began with two quite different dishes. Rovers have been quite tasty in recent weeks, while South, always a worthy staple at Traeger Park, have lacked a bit of spice this season.
The match up of these two dishes made for a tantalising appetiser.
The first half of the meal was a very entertaining affair. South managed to get the first break in the game, going to a two goal lead early in the second quarter.
Rovers then hit back hard and at the main break the Double Blues held an 11-point advantage, 8-2 (50) over South 6-3 (39).
The second half began with Rovers extending their lead to 17 points, courtesy of Maxie Fejo's second goal. South got one back soon after when Bradley "Bruiser" Braun bustled his way through the centre like an angry bull. Keeping the ball in front of him Braun worked it to a team-mate who snapped toward the 50m line where Darren Talbot took a courageous mark, spun around like a ballerina and kicked a team lifting goal.
The crowd cried "Yalbot!" and South began to cook with gas.
They piled a further four goals onto the plate with Shane Hayes tucking in for two. With the Roos 13 points up, the Rovers were in danger of being devoured before the Master Chef, Clinton Ngalkin, served one back to South with a great running goal close to three quarter time. As the siren went to end the third quarter it was Souths back in front 11-5 (71) over Rovers 10-4 (64).
With seafood required for any great feast, South decided to throw the Fishook out in the last quarter. The move paid off with Gilbert Fishook hooking into two early goals. The fishy catch put South 19 points up.
Enter the Rovers' head chef , John "Moose" Glasson. After taking a good mark inside 50 the Moose delicately sliced through a difficult set shot from an acute angle. Wilson Walker brought the Double Blues closer with another major before little Frankie Dixon slammed though a great goal to put the Rovers two points up with only a couple of minutes left.
South then missed two shots on goal and it looked like the Kangaroo was cooked.
That was until Donny Sharber pounced on a loose ball with minutes to spare and speared a scorching pass inside 50 and onto the chest of Shane Hayes. Hayes' set shot was on target putting the Roos three points in front. The siren sounded shortly after to end a magnificent first course.
Amongst the best in this culinary delight were Darren Talbot, Shane Hayes and Nigel Lockyer for South and Clinton Ngalkin, Wilson Walker and Jamie Tidy for Rovers.
Next came a feast for West fans but a famine for the Federal faithful. With fast food speed West slammed on 10 goals to Federals' one.
Jamie "The Wild One" O'Keefe showed a healthy appetite with four first quarter goals.
The trend continued into the second quarter as Grant "Hot Dog" Connelly chomped down two goals himself and set up several others. At the main break it was West 18-12 (120) over Federal 2-1 (13).
West could have been forgiven if they decided at half time to curl up under a tree with their full bellies and have a nap. Instead they came out of the change rooms as ravenous as they were at the start of the game.
One has to wonder whether head chef Noel Teasedale starved them in the week leading up to the game. Like hungry lions in the colosseum, West went on a feeding frenzy.
Jarrod "The Bear" Berrington gobbled down possessions like a Grizzly. Karl "The Gun" Gunderson shot through four goals, one a sensational check side on the run. Nathan "Shark" Finn circled dangerously at half forward sinking his teeth into everything that came his way. Andrew "Smith" Crispe gave some crunch to the backline while Henry "The Lab Assistant" Labastida mixed up his usual handy concoctions.
With Adam Taylor and Michael Gurney also in mouth-watering form the West meal seemed complete. Add to this a side dish of potatoes in the form of David "Spud" Giles who kicked three goals, which by all accounts was more than he had kicked previously in his entire career. As the feast ended it was a satisfied West 34-24 (228) over a deprived Federal 2-1 (13).
Despite the one sided nature of the dining experience there were some tasty morsels in the Federal portion.
Standing out as always was Darren Young. Such was his contribution that he was in the best three players on the field. Also putting in a gutsy display was little Troy Turner and the ever reliable Shane Dorizzi.
While the appetite was not fully satisfied on Sunday, there will still be some surprisingly delicious treats to be savoured at Traeger Park this year. This coming week sees Pioneer take on West in a game that may give some insight as to who will be seated at the head of the table come September.
The late game, South v Federals, will be of interest to see if South can keep adding spice to their game and to see if Federal can get some hunger back into theirs.
ED Ð Paul Fitzsimons is on holiday.


Is the next Lleyton warming up in Alice?
The Alice Springs Tennis Academy's answering machine politely excuses coach Matthew and staff, as they are probably having a hit up with "Anna or Lleyton".
Lleyton Hewitt has now sky rocketed to yet another pinnacle of stardom, yet, only a few years ago, he was merely one of thousands of aspiring Adelaide underage players, taking lessons and playing his heart out, living the dream of taking over from Pat Rafter at the top.
At the Traeger Park Courts, young Cen-tralians are applying themselves to the same routine, and chasing that same dream.
As with Hewitt, whose footballer father and netballer mother gave support to their children's dreams, local champ, Nathan Hockley, has "model tennis parents".
Dad, Fred, with a distinctive Collingwood approach to sport, has been there all the way, as Nathan developed to the stage where he now carries the highest national ranking for a lad in town and is identified as a junior with potential.
A couple of years younger at 12, Ashley Scott has already plenty of silverware on the mantel piece; and at the tender age of nine, Olivier Baxter has been black booked by National Under 14 coach Troy Ayres as a player of the future.
These three are only a taste of the success being generated among juniors by our local coach Matthew Roberts who has fitted into the Alice Springs tennis circle like a hand in a glove, and in doing so has breathed fresh air into desert tennis.
Such has been the upsurge in tennis since the rise of Rafter, then Hewitt, and the arrival of Roberts, that there are now some 500 youngsters taking to the Alice Springs courts each week.
Friday afternoons are dedicated to the juniors with the Centralian Motors Junior Competition, which sees a regular turn out of over 140 players.
Small group or individual coaching is also available, with these classes being so popular that there are now only 20 free slots for new comers.
A former Central Coast, NSW professional, Roberts has also re-ignited tennis in Tennant Creek with sparkling success.
To help meet the demand, Roberts has recruited a fellow professional to join the Alice Academy.
Luke Bosio is a 26 year old ex-Darwin lad, recruited from Cairns. As a junior Bosio carried a national ranking and during this time went all the way (6.3; 6.5) with the infamous Mark Philippoussis.
Luke has a string of Senior Tournaments to his name and more importantly comes to town with a top reputation as a coach, and someone who knows the Territory.
With Roberts and Bosio on hand, tennis at the senior levels is also destined for good times. As of Monday next the adult season begins, with a "come and try" night. Last year 60 players took advantage of the relaxed introductory evening whereby lights, balls and even racquets are provided free for those who would like a hit.
So from 6.45pm on Monday, and every Monday thenceforth, the balls will be bouncing socially at Traeger's Tennis Courts.
A Grade Competition is conducted of a Tuesday night with 10 teams expected to vie for the Hong Kong Restaurant Championship.
Then on Thursday nights the B, C and D Grades play out their competition. New players are always welcome.


"The public library is one of the last free spaces left to the public," says Leonie Gray, the library's Community Development and Marketing Officer.
"It is one of the few places left where people can come, feel safe, and use its facilities according to their needs and interests."
Leonie, who started in her position three months ago, is looking for ways in which the library can better serve the community.
She is also looking for ways to create more awareness of the library, its resources, and its role in promoting literacy and numeracy throughout the whole community.
This was the thinking behind the introduction of the "One Book One Town" concept.
The book selected was "Maestro" by Peter Goldsworthy, which in parts of Australia is required reading for high school students.
A number of competitions were organised to encourage people not only to read a book they might not read otherwise, but also to think about what they had read in other ways.
The author was also invited to come to Alice Springs to speak, which he did last week.
"People tell me they like ÔMaestro' because it is short and doesn't say too much," Peter said.
"I don't spell out things too explicitly; the best writing leaves space for one's imagination to jump into."
Peter also read some of his poetry.
He said he has been interested in writing ever since he was in school, poetry in particular thanks to a good English teacher.
"Poetry is memorable and meant to be memorised through forms such as songs and things that rhyme.
"I think music evolved to help the brain remember things.
"People remember thousands of nonsensical lines; the brain seems to have a natural affinity with assonance and similar sounds."
To a question about whether "Maestro" was autobiographical, Peter replied: "All art is autobiographical on some level.
"Even in science fiction the emotional relationships among the characters are similar to those among people.
"At some level, the creator has taken a similar journey."
When asked how he combines his life as a writer with his profession as a doctor, Peter said he writes in the morning and practises medicine in the afternoon.
"Writing is very lonely.
"I wrote full-time for two years.
"Solitude is a wonderful thing if you can talk about it to someone else later."
As for the success of the "One Book One Town" idea, Leonie says it has encouraged people to read "Maestro" but of all the competitions, the poetry one was the most successful with just 10 entries received.
No entries were received for the book cover design and playwriting, while only one entry was submitted in the prose section and only a few in the trivia one.
"We will try to have a similar event next year," Leonie says, " but we may structure it differently."
"I really would appreciate hearing people's ideas on the subject.
"I am interested in getting ideas as to what kinds of programs people would like the library to have, what kinds of activities they would be interested in attending."
The next author talk is with Kerry Collison, author of "Jakarta" and "Indonesian Gold" among others.
To be held on Saturday, August 10 in the Town Council Garden Room starting at 6.30pm, the evening will feature a film as well as Indonesian music and a buffet.

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