July 31, 2002.


With prices steadily increasing, there is little evidence that the Territory Government has made progress on an agreement with native title holders to release land in Alice Springs, says MacDonnell MLA and shadow minister for Aboriginal Affairs, John Elferink.
However, Minister for Central Australia Peter Toyne says negotiations are well advanced for "a substantial release of land" at the western end of Larapinta, likely to be towards the end of this year or early next year.
He says the location and scope of the development area as well as the relevant native title holders to deal with have all been identified and regular meetings are being held.
A body corporate representing native title holders, Lhere Artepe, was determined in a Federal Court hearing in May.
It has 30 members, three groups of 10, for each of three estates within the wider town area Ð Bond Springs, Undoolya and the township.
It is the third group, the Mbantuarinya, who are directly concerned in the negotiations over Larapinta.
Bob Liddle, not a member of Lhere Artepe but a native title holder of the Mbantuarinya estate who attends the negotiation meetings as an observer, says the government will be officially advised that the group wants development rights over a portion of the land at a meeting next Thursday.
Just how much of the land they will get, in return for relinquishing native title over parts of it, is a matter for further negotiation.
Mr Elferink is calling on the Government and native title holders to "act with urgency", given that the average price of a block of land in Alice Springs has reached $85,318.
The average price in September 2001 was $75,000.
Says Mr Elferink: "This price represents a simply unattainable goal for prospective home owners.
"Young people with families wanting to build in Alice Springs are simply being priced out of the market.
"This means they are trapped in rental accommodation that in its own right is becoming prohibitively expensive, or they simply leave town.
"People leaving town represents all sorts of negative effects, starting with the building industry.
"It is no small irony that young people from an Aboriginal background who want to buy in Alice Springs are also being squeezed by this native title nexus.
"I encourage the government and the native title holders to work harder at getting this matter settled.
"The new government said that a negotiated process will be the way to go, but there is little evidence that they have been able to make the process work any better."
Dr Toyne says the criticism is "a bit rich", as the previous government "sat on their backsides for years, refusing to even negotiate".
He says the expected release of land should take considerable pressure off demand for housing blocks and see a drop in prices. The real estate industry has said that 300 blocks are required.
Dr Toyne wouldnÕt specify a number. That would be determined by the style of subdivision that is settled on.
"It's vital that it be environmentally appropriate, but I can safely say hundreds of blocks will become available."
He asks for patience as the detail is settled.
"There won't be a passive compensation-style of payment to the native title holders.
The land they'll retain for a commercial development of their own will add to the overall supply, while also giving them a stake in the Alice Springs economy.
"If we've all got a stake in the same thing, then the town should become more unified."
Mr Liddle says the whole process could have been a little quicker, as not all meetings have been well-attended.
Nonetheless it will be "tied up" before the end of the year, "there's no question about that".
"It's essential for everybody to get a full understanding of the implications of releasing the land and of what they can get out of development rights. Not everyone involved has business experience so it takes time.
"The decisions the executive working group reach need to be taken back to Lhere Artepe for ratification, so that also takes time," says Mr Liddle.
Dr Toyne says progress is also being made on getting an overall framework in place for a native title agreement, that is, establishing the content and the sequence of future negotiations.
He says flood mitigation is something that the government wants on the agenda, while Lhere Artepe have their own priorities, such as the maintenance and protection of their culture.
He says there will be negotiations with Lhere Artepe about other localities in town, including Mt John's Valley.


A rate rise of 2.4 per cent has been approved by the Alice Spring Town Council.
The rise excludes Todd Mall rates, which have been reduced by 50 per cent.
Only Alderman Samih Habib opposed the rate rise, saying that funds carried over from last year, and unfinished works made the rate rise unnecessary.
"There was a cash surplus of $808,000 but when we found out how much money we had, around $500,000 of that was allocated for works before the end oAf the financial year," says Ald Habib.
He also claimed that a large amount of money was carried over for unfinished works.
"How can we put up rates when there is so much money carried over?" asks Ald Habib.
"There is so much money allowed for jobs and the jobs are not then done.
"I think management need to pull their socks up a bit."
However, Mayor Fran Kilgariff says Ald Habib "has got the figures wrong in this instance".
"The budget surplus is around $300,000 and has arisen from a number of things, for example, money was saved on salaries, projects which came in under budget and extra grants which were not expected.
"The 2.4 per cent rate rise is the lowest in the Territory and the budget includes a lot of new initiatives.
"I think it is a very reasonable rise and we have had no community backlash or comment Ð people seem to be happy with it."
The new budget states that there is a cash surplus of $350 000 and $722 000 in works not yet completed.
According to the council business plan, works in progress are expected to be mostly completed in the first quarter of the new financial year. They include work at Traeger Park, Kurrajong Park, verge landscaping, shade construction and public toilets.
Mayor Kilgariff said that while their aim is always to complete works before the end of the financial year, a number of factors can prevent this, including the weather, supply of materials and grants not coming through when expected.
The 2002/03 budget has a number of new initiatives, including:
¥ information kits for new residents;
¥ new programs for young people;
¥ school holiday programs;
¥ investigating the installation of security cameras in the Mall;
¥ improving management of the council's art collection;
¥ initiatives to improve community compliance with NT Government laws and Council by-laws through education and increased patrols;
¥ painting Wills Terrace Bridge;
¥ park development;
¥ and the extension of the Environment Officer's position from part to full-time.
A full copy of the 2002/2003 business plan is available at the council offices.


An Alice Springs woman who says she spent a wonderfully happy childhood in Woomera, and two years ago, a nightmarish three months nursing at the Woomera Detention Centre, is setting up a local branch of ChilOut, a national organisation working to get children out of detention.
Moira-Jane Conahan's family were British "10 pound" migrants to Australia 35 years ago.
The family lived at Woomera for eight years.
When she was employed as a nurse, in mid-2000, by ACM, the multinational corporation that runs the detention centre for the Australian government, she "felt excited about going back".
She was not a political person. She knew nothing about mandatory detention of asylum seekers.
She spent her first day wandering the streets, looking for her old house, now gone, recognising her grandparents' flat, going to the cinema that was once so familiar.
"It was a high security town, everyone had a number which they had to quote to get in or out.
"I remember Mum's, it was FOO56.
"But that's where any similarity with the detainees ends.
"We were so free and safe. We met wonderful people, many of whom are still part of my family's life today."
In the glow of these memories, Moira-Jane started work.
She says nothing could have prepared her for the shock.
"As soon as I set foot in there I knew something was wrong. It was the look of the place, like a concentration camp, no place for little children.
"There were massive lights that stayed on the whole night, depressing rows of huts where people lived, stinking toilet blocks.
"Even that early in the piece, there were people trying to hurt themselves. That was after five months in detention. Some of those same people are still there!
"They were completely isolated. They had no access then to any form of communication and had not been able to even let their families know that they were still alive.
"The food was so bad that after two weeks I had to stop eating it. I had chronic stomach pain.
"The catering was sub-contracted out. There were three or four staff members, the rest were detainees working like slaves for $40 a week Ð no sick pay, holiday pay, workers' comp, or anything like that!
"There were a couple of qualified interpreters who were constantly tied up with the Department of Immigration.
"We nurses had to work with other English-speaking detainees as our interpreters. There were three of them, working for up to 90 hours a week each, sharing $80 between them.
"No one as a caring person, capable of putting themselves in someone else's shoes, could be there and not speak out against the conditions.
"It is so horribly wrong. These people came to this country with such high hopes, they promised their children a better life. If they were Afghani, they were promising their little girls that in Australia they would be able to go to school.
"None of them could ever have dreamt that they would get here and be locked up in a miserable cage in the desert.
"This will come back to haunt this country and I want to be able to look my children in the eye and say I did something."
Moira-Jane left Woomera the day after the riot of August 2000, "a horror I never expected to see in my country".
As she was preparing to leave, she watched in disbelief "shell-shocked families wandering out of the rubble" and, "as a loud roar shook the earth, an airforce bomber flew low over the camp, practising manouevres, terrifying those war-shattered people".
"I could have been anywhere, except Australia."
Moira-Jane is working to launch ChilOut in Alice in the first week of September, to coincide with National Child Protection Week.
She hopes the founder, Junie Ong, will be here to meet with Alice residents.
Ms Ong started ChilOut in her loungeroom last August after she saw a Four Corners program about an Iraqui boy in detention.
ChilOut now has over 1500 members in Sydney, and branches in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, London and USA.
"They are ordinary people, mums and dads. Most of them have never been active before, like me.
"Their main focus is to get an informed debate happening in Australia about our mandatory detention policies, lobbying government to get children and their families out of detention and where possible giving them practical help.
"They have worked at a local level and had good response from some local governments. There are now five councils in Sydney who display banners saying ÔWe welcome refugees'.
"Brisbane City Council has been incredibly supportive, and some rural and remote towns have identified themselves as Ôwelcome towns'. They're towns that are in decline and can see how they will benefit from the skills some of the refugees have to offer."
What could individuals in Alice Springs do?
There is already a letter-writing program underway, organised by the Alice Springs Human Rights Group, and the Uniting Church congregation has also been active.
People are corresponding with detainees, sending them phonecards, letting them know that there are some Australians who care about them.
School children could write to child detainees, suggests Moira-Jane, and the issue could be taken up by teachers for debate as part of the social studies curriculum.
Moira-Jane can be contacted on 0408 814 319.
Josie May for the Alice Springs Human Rights Group: 8955 5834.

Still no kerbside recycling. COLUMN by GLENN MARSHALL.

Why haven't we got kerbside recycling in Alice Springs?
I'm often asked this question, especially by newer residents who enjoyed it in their previous town. The answer, disappointingly, is not surprising in our modern world Ð it is not cost-effective.
Every town council in Australia that offers a kerbside recycling service pays heavy subsidies to companies to do it. In bigger cities this adds up to millions of dollars, the majority of which has to be recouped from ratepayers through increased rates.
Alice Springs Town Council worked out the cost of providing a kerbside service several years ago and it came to $65 per ratepayer per year. When asked if they'd pay that amount ratepayers said no, they weren't prepared to pay more than $20 per year. So we don't have it.
However, recycling opportunities have improved substantially in Alice Springs in recent years, thanks largely to the town council and clever business people.
Whilst not as convenient as kerbside recycling, people can play their part to keep resources in circulation rather than having them buried at the landfill ("landhill"?).
Russ Driver & Co in Sargent Street have provided a glass and can recycling drop-off point for years, and should be commended for their perseverance in sorting and transporting containers to Adelaide despite minor profit margins.
If the NT Government introduces a drink container refund scheme soon (they are seriously contemplating it), recycling rates for cans and bottles will soar to probably 90 per cent.
The Bowerbird Tip Shop also takes bottles and cans at present as well as unwanted household and hardware items. If you haven't been there yet, then go because you will be amazed at the items on sale that would otherwise have ended up in the tip.
It is a classic example of a business opportunity that can flow from rubbish.
Started 18 months ago as a business arm of ALEC, Bowerbird Enterprises now employs six people at the tip shop and weighbridge, where once there was nothing. Town council facilitated the enterprise by providing the premises.
The newest exciting recycling initiative is green waste recycling now being offered by Indigenous Landscapes at the landfill. People can drop off their lawn clippings, tree cuttings and other organic wastes for free (provided it is uncontaminated by other rubbish) and it is turned into rich mulch that people can buy for their gardens.
Again the Town Council deserves praise for their efforts here, as they secured a Commonwealth grant to purchase the expensive mulcher that is now leased to Indigenous Landscapes, a commercial arm of Tangentyere Council.
Green waste makes up about 30 per cent of waste to the landfill, so it will be interesting to see how much is now deferred from being buried.
Tyre recycling is close to being a reality in Alice Springs. Fritz from Alice Waste Disposals is finalising the set-up of machinery that will shred old tyres for transport down to Sydney. Several retail tyre companies intend to use his services despite having to pay a slightly higher cost than if they sent their tyres to the landfill, because they are national franchises with policies of supporting tyre recycling schemes if offered in their town.
Mind you, tyre places already charge customers a tidy extra amount for each tyre to cover their disposal costs so they will not be out of pocket by supporting Fritz.
Waste engine oil and cooking oil are collected by Greg Toholke of Grease Monkeys and sent to Adelaide for processing. Greg is interested in turning waste cooking oil into bio-diesel that can be used in diesel vehicles here in Alice Springs. Central Oil Refineries at Brewers Estate are soon going to take waste engine oil as well, and will pre-process it onsite to remove water and other contaminants before sending it interstate for re-processing. They are also proposing to establish a toxic waste processor at Brewers Estate to handle central Australia's hazardous wastes. ALEC is currently checking out the technology proposed by Central Oil Refineries to gauge its potential impacts on Alice Springs.
Paper and cardboard remain unrecycled in town on a large scale, except for ALEC's annual phone book recycling supported by Pacific Access, the phone book arm of Telstra. This is a shame given the volume of paper generated by households.
Barrier Natural Insulation may provide a solution to this. They are a Queensland company that have been operating in Alice Springs for a few years now, on and off, using shredded paper that is chemically treated and sprayed into roof spaces as insulation. Barrier have their own processing equipment to turn paper into insulation and are interested in setting this up in Alice Springs if enough product can be sourced. Perhaps the town council can get together with the Alice Springs News and the Centralian Advocate to devise a newspaper collection scheme that can kick-start Barrier's operations in town.


As we all know, Alice Springs attracts visitors from all over the world.
In the street the other day, I saw a couple of new arrivals in town who had the strained features of people who might have just descended the south face of Everest.
Either that or the portable toilet on the Adelaide bus had become blocked after Port Augusta.
But they looked like climbers. Their faces had that leathery texture and colour that mountaineers have. They wore those glasses with mirrors on the outside, behind which they were still squinting against the sun reflected off the snow. And they carried expensive fleece jackets, not at all like those ones that cost $15.99 and look like a dishcloth after the first wash. But the real clue to their previous port of call was the cramp-ons, ice axes and ropes dangling from their rucksacks. I felt like bounding up to them and saying something inane like, "You must be mountaineers".
This is a game that all the family can enjoy. Guess from where the backpacker in town has arrived. We are now the eighth most popular Australian destination for international backpackers and so the range and number of visitors is higher than ever. And the Alice attracts those serious people who are looking for real experience. They come here to experience Indigenous culture, understand desert ecosystems and meet colourful bush characters. Then (hard luck) they end up sitting next to someone like me on the local bus.
I went to Cairns recently. Far North Queensland is rated No.2 on the international backpacker ladder. However, with an average expenditure of only $60 per day (according to Bureau of Tourism figures) none of them can afford to both eat and be proper tourists at the same time. So instead they pass the days by partying. In pursuit of an investigative line about this phenomenon, the local paper in Cairns ran one of those yawnful (but strangely compelling) vox pop features where a roving reporter stops people in the street and asks them important questions.
The reporter should have probably asked these fresh-faced leisure-addled people about, say, the state of world capitalism. Or whether Cheryl Kernot is a responsible role model for middle-aged women. Or, more importantly, does anyone care about Cheryl Kernot's private life.
But instead he asked them where they preferred to drink to bursting point every night. Gert from Holland, Inge from Sweden, Julie from England and some other bloke from a European country the size of the Desert Park, all said the very same thing about the very same venue in Cairns being just great (or, more accurately, "wicked"). And they also said how good it was to travel half the way round the world to get legless in a wood-panelled fake Irish pub. Okay, so maybe the article wasn't so compelling after all.
As I was saying, backpackers that we welcome to Central Australia are a more discerning bunch. If we did a vox pop feature in the newspaper on backpackers coming to Alice Springs, the questions might be "Which out-of-focus desert fauna have you enjoyed photographing the most?" Or "How many kilometres have you travelled across the desert to get here and was it worth it?". Or "What do you understand about Indigenous culture having been here for a day?"
Another valuable statistic from the Bureau of Tourism is that 57 per cent of backpackers plan their trip before leaving home. So what happens to the other 43 per cent? They walk up the steps to the plane asking themselves "Why am I leaving Copenhagen on this airline when I have not planned to do so? And I forgot to switch off the gas".
When I was a backpacker, I planned to go to China and to not be able to read a single street sign or understand a single word spoken to me in Mandarin. You know what? That is exactly what happened. Crossing the border, I climbed aboard the first bus I saw and, hey presto, 26 hours later we pulled into a town that took me a day and a half to identify.
It might even be more fun living on the international backpacker trail than actually being a traveller. The many languages you hear in the Mall and the interest that visitors take in the Alice Springs lifestyle make you feel like a minor celebrity. It is though we live in, say, a dusty version of Monte Carlo. I saw a group of glamorous people from the Mediterranean the other day. They were carrying even more glamorous photographic equipment. Just close your eyes, imagine the yachts and the sound of Formula One cars and you could almost be there. Especially if you have a vivid imagination.
Getting back to that wholesome game for all the family, try spotting the previous stop-offs on the backpacker trail that visitors to the Alice have made. Make up a scoring system. The cramp-ons and the ice axes are easy (five points only). Try looking for Bolivian handbags (25 points), Indian bracelets (50 points) and Hawaiian board shorts (20 points). If you see a sad person gawping at backpackers, it's just me. Have 50 bonus points.


The Alice Town Council wants private property owners to beautify their own verges and is prepared to spend some money to help them do it.
Council works manager Roger Bottrall says that $100,000 has been set aside in this year's budget for verge landscaping.
This is on top of $50,000 carried over from last year's budget for verge landscaping on Gap Road.
Says Mr Bottrall: "A lot [of the money] will be used for capital development on arterial roads and public areas, but some will be allocated to develop up and enter into some sort of partnership with property owners to improve and maintain their verges.
"The concept has been approved by council, we are now working out the detail."
According to Mr Bottrall, the council hopes to produce guidelines about what sort of verge developments will be allowed, provide technical advice about irrigation and appropriate plant species, and possibly provide heavy machinery, for example backhoes, depending on costings which are still to be finalised.
However, at least one alderman is not happy with the proposal.
Alderman Samih Habib believes the council should be developing its own verge beautification program, independent of local property owners.
"The idea is good in principle, but what about properties where the owners are not interested in it?" Mr Habib asks.
"What I am pushing for is for the council to start its own verge beautification program in town and work its way out, particularly in areas where there is high tourist traffic.
"Council do not have a verge beautification program.
"There is a difference between beautification and verge landscaping.
"There is money for verges, but there is no planning or program for verge beautification.
"$100 000 is not enough Ð it doesn't go too far at all."
Mr Bottrall says the council welcomes community input into the development of this new partnership.
Meanwhile, the council will also lend its support to a voluntary nature conservation program, Land for Wildlife, which also targets private property owners.
Land for Wildlife has been operating Australia-wide since 1981 and now has more than 5000 registered private properties.
Now Alice Springs landholders, who want to protect and learn about their local environment, can become part of this national network.
Mayor Fran Kilgariff says Land for Wildlife will offer "well deserved recognition, and tangible support".
Most properties are eligible, including Aboriginal town camps, schools, local parks, roadsides, cemeteries, defence properties and golf links.
Given the voluntary and non-binding nature of Land for Wildlife, landowners could request their property be de-registered at any time.
"Some Aboriginal town communities back onto, or include, large bushland areas," says Mayor Kilgariff.
"Land for Wildlife offers town camp residents the opportunity to discuss the management of native plants and animals on their land, and potentially develop common ground with nature conservation."
Participants in the program will get personalised, on-site advice on native plants and animals, weeds and feral animal control, specific to their property. Throughout the one-year pilot program there will be practical workshops and information materials made available on topics including weed management, soil conservation, flora and fauna protection.
Landholders will also be encouraged to share their stories through regular newsletters and open property days.
There will be a limited number of one-off grants, of up to $1800, available to people whose properties are registered with Land for Wildlife. The grants will be to assist with efforts such as weed control, fencing and revegetation. People whose property does not qualify for registration upon application, will still be able to receive advice and support from the Land for Wildlife network.
If the pilot program is successful, Town Council will look at ways to secure long-term funding to continue it.
If you would like to receive a Land for Wildlife information brochure and application form please contact council on 8950 500.
If you would like to discuss the program please contact the Land for Wildlife Coordinator on 8952 0161. Applications for registration and grants begin August 15 and will close October 1. Applications solely for Land for Wildlife registration will be accepted anytime.


Footy can be a strange game.
On Sunday, Traeger Park was not really the epicentre of entertainment with Rovers gathering percentage in the A Grade competition and South improving their chances in the finals by accounting for a lack lustre Pioneers.
It was in the Reserves however that the unexpected played a key role in the game's outcome. Federal were playing Rovers in the morning session, and things were at their usual. Rovers ran on with a full complement including seniors coach, John Glasson.
The struggling Federal boys ran on with the bare minimum, hoping for late comers to turn up. Come the third quarter, coach Murray Silby was pretty happy with the fact that his Demons were keeping in touch on the scoreboard.
Then the unbelievable in footy terms occurred. A count of players was called and it was revealed that the Blues were running 19 players on the ground. In accordance with the rules of the game, Rovers' score was then cancelled and a free went the way of the Demons.
In demonic fashion the Feds boys took full advantage of the outcome and went on to score a further five goals to three and so take the premiership points, 9-4 (58) to 3-2 (20).
The win, however, did little to whet the appetite of the A Grade. In fact several Reserves players had to butter up in the Firsts to ensure a side could run on. Late comers Ryan Thomson and Lindsay Katarkarinja ensured a bench for the Feds, while opponents Rover set sail without waiting on a voyage aimed at 40 goals.
In the first term Rovers booted 11-7 almost without opposition. Kasman and Sherman Spencer, Oliver Wheeler and Wilson Walker speared through two goals a piece. Jamie Tidy, whose dad was up from the south-east to watch his lad, didn't disappoint, and Nathan McGregor recaptured some early Ônineties form to put one through the centre.
Feds in reply did not register on the scoreboard and looked to lack cohesion on the field.
The second term was almost a repeat of the first. Bradley Turner proved to be the sole inspiration for Feds with a goal, whereas the Blues had the veteran Glen Holberton lead the charge from the forward pocket. He proved he still has superb judgement and capitalised with three goals for the term. Carlson Brown and Ricky Ross opened their accounts, and the Spencers, Wheeler and Walker were again in the action.
At half time 127 points separated the sides and things looked gloomy to say the least for the Red and White outfit.
In the third term Rovers bounced back into the action with 11-4 to another meagre 1-1 from Feds. On this occasion it was an aging volunteer, in the shape of photographer Mark Miller, who snapped the memorable moment for Feds. In response, Sherman Spencer bagged five, Walker, three; Edric Coulthard, McGregor and Holberton who each scored singles kept Rovers on a record-breaking path.
The final run home showed that Federal was battling, in fact they didn't score. Rovers on the other hand ran the game out but only to the tune of 8-4. Coulthard added two goals to his tally; Sherman Spencer did likewise and Wilson Walker finished the day with nine goals.
In terms of best players one could not go past Jamie Tidy. He ran at the ball all day and delivered to the forward line with precision. Ricky Ross proved to be a recent recruit who will be prominent in the finals, and the forward line stars, the Spencers, Wheeler and Walker spoke for themselves on the scoreboard.
Federal unveiled a trier in Lindsay Katarkarinja. Asmin Turner, Charlie Lynch and Troy Erlandson gave of their best all day, and in fact those who buttered up from the Reserves are be commended.
The late game was never expected to be in the same ilk as the first. South have in recent weeks shown signs of improvement, with the conquering of Rovers and then the trouncing of Federal.
Pioneer, in contrast, last week played at a low ebb given that they are arguably one of the great clubs in Australian Rules. Added to their woes this week was the absence of a platoon of gun players who ventured to the National Indigenous Championships.
Coach Roy Arbon was left to depend on his junior brigade and the return of Norm Hagan and Simon Djana.
From the first bounce South ruled the roost, and in the first term they were able to establish a five goal lead. Big Geoffrey Lowe began proceedings, followed by a major from Clinton "Jumping Jack Flash'" Pepperill. Shane Hayes burst through with a further major, and Lowe completed the term's tally.
In the second quarter Pioneer came into the game by booting 6-4, but South kept things honest by responding with 5-2. Geoff Taylor got the Eagles into action with a pearler, and then Trevor Dhu took a leadership role in front of goals and nailed four, allowing Ryan Mallard to burst into the game with a beauty.
The Roo response was calculated with Pepperill, Nigel Lockyer and Bradley Braun putting the score on the board.
To lead the Eagles at half time by 23 points is normally a cause for celebration for any side, but South knew too well the job was still in front of them. In the third term the honours were shared, with South scoring 3-3 to the Eagles 3-2.
Gilbert Fishook proved to be the dynamo for the Roos in the quarter with some inspirational play, which resulted in two goals. Bradley Braun was responsible for their third and continued to play a solid game around the field. In the Eagles' camp the fire was beginning to ignite, with Simon Djana, Dhu, and Ricky Mentha posting goals.
In the run home Pioneer had a 24 deficit to account for, and they got within 12 points. Many observers would say the early yellow carding of Adam Taylor for what to many seemed to be a perfect hip and shoulder from a bygone era, may have made the difference.
With Taylor out of action the pressure was taken off South to some extent, and they were able to have Shane Hayes and Jeremy Scrutton take advantage with goals.
In reply Pioneer made a late charge. Dhu, Renehan and then Mallard put the Eagles within a sniff of victory. In fact, Mallard's set shot goal from beyond the true centre half forward position had the adrenaline running and thoughts of a Pioneer upset were in the mind.
Alas time ran out for the reigning premiers and they had to settle for a second consecutive defeat by two goals.


After 18 consecutive years of the NT Netball Championships being conducted in our tropical capital, the titles will be decided at the Pat Gallagher Centre at Ross Park over the coming weekend.
Action begins after the opening ceremony on Friday evening, and continues by day and night through until Sunday at 6.15pm when the grand final of the senior division will be played. This game is expected to come down to a contest between Darwin and Alice Springs, as most of the other teams competing at the open level are in town by invitation.
This however is far from a blemish on the standard of play expected over the weekend. The star attraction in the seniors will be the South Australian Sports Institute side, a group of young elite players under the tutorage of Thunderbirds legend and coach, Margaret Angove.
Angove's proteges will prove tough opposition for both Alice and Darwin seniors and will give the Alice Under 21 side and the NTIS girls a taste of netball at the higher level.
It has also become something of a tradition for the Blackwood High School Club to be represented at the NT Championships. Again this year the South Australian Club will be making the trip north with an Under17 and Under15 side. In each of these grades there are five competing sides.
At the older age level, Alice Springs, Darwin, plus an under 19 Darwin outfit, Katherine and Blackwood will meet each other.
In the Under15s five sides will also contest, with Alice Springs providing two sides.
The Under 13 competition will comprise two sides from both Darwin and Alice Springs and one from Katherine.
To conduct the championships is a ground-breaking occasion for the desert netballers and president Heather Parkinson is keen to hear from anyone in the public prepared to help out in a voluntary capacity. Canteen staff and BBQ cooks, through to timekeepers and administrative assistants are required to ensure the weekend is a great success.
Most importantly, however, the netballers would love to see the weekend games well supported by the wider community.


In decades that saw radical shifts in the way Arrernte people could live, Albert Namatjira took a remarkably "positive and independent stance", chosing to become a professional artist.
It is estimated that he produced over 2000 paintings, and nobody will ever be in a position to have seen even half of them.
But after two years at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research at the Australian National University, Alison French has seen or has references to over 400 works, enough to say don't jump to any easy conclusions about this
acclaimed, but perhaps not well understood, artist.
Former curator at the Araluen Centre, French is now a Darling Foundation research fellow and author of the catalogue to "Seeing the Centre, the art of Albert Namatjira, 1902-1959", the National Gallery of Australia touring exhibition which opened at Araluen on the weekend.
"You can look at Namatjira's sky and it makes you just want to go out and sit on a mountain and look into the sky," says French.
"He's a very subtle painter.
"People have mostly written about a short period of his life, the late Ôfifties, and made authoritative judgements based on a small range of his work, the late work.
"When I first saw his painting of Alumba at Glen Helen [1939], owned by Ngurratjuta, I knew there must have been more than one like this.
"I thought I'm going to go on a detective hunt, find out where his paintings are, get good photographs of them, bring them back to show to people who can tell us the stories of those places.
"People assume that art critics offer the only assessment for these paintings, but that is just one framework for a way of looking at imagery which I think is all about getting you to respond to this part of the world.
"It's very sensual work."
French's search has been fruitful. The majority of paintings in this exhibition come from private collections and many have not been seen in public before.
They include some rare works, such as the portrait head, Neey-too-gulpa [c1937], one of only three documented to date, and the Central Australian Aboriginal standing figure [1937-42], the only one of its kind to have emerged.
The sheer number of works that the exhibition has brought together is also significant.
It has never happened before, says Roger Butler, NGA's Senior Curator of Australian prints and coordinator of the exhibition.
"Most of the Namatjiras we're used to seeing are the works that became popular in the Ôsixties after he died, when there were reproductions on postcards, posters, prints.
"That was where I saw my first Namatjira, as a print in the school corridor.
"We've never had an opportunity to look at the variety in a group like this.
"It allows us to see that he's a lot more interesting than most people think.
"We can see from work to work the decisions he's making about quality, colour, forms, all those things he's working with.
"We can see he had lots of arrows in the bow, he was looking very, very closely at something he loved very, very greatly.
"That's what comes across in this exhibition.
"He comes back to the same subject over and over again, painting it at different times of day when the shadows are different, searching out its meaning, a bit like Monet, he tries to get right into his subject."
In this regard, the exhibition is beautifully presented, the grouping of work more than usually meaningful. Take for example the group "Saplings and survival, portraits of trees".
It allows appreciation of Namatjira's moving insight into trees "that have seen a lot of life", as Butler notes, but it also evokes strongly "a sense of how you move through land".
French: "That tree's in front of a hill, you can see the possibility of moving up past it and through, whereas in the one beside it, the tree is on a rocky slope, you feel your feet slipping, and you can see a great gap beyond.
"With Alumba at Glen Helen, we've come up and been confronted with it, we can go no further."
Butler says the contemporary context for Aboriginal art also allows a re-assessment of Namatjira.
"He was painting at a time when Aboriginal art was not considered as art.
"If any of it was being collected it was by anthropological museums.
"It's only in the last 20 years that Aboriginal art has found a place in art history.
"That's extraordinary when you consider that Aboriginal art is now at the forefront of Australia's cultural export program, as the most exciting thing around.
"Yet in 1982 when the National Gallery put up their Aboriginal art as art, it was considered revolutionary.
"We're talking about 20 years in which there's been a complete 180 degree turnaround.
"Now we can reassess Namatjira's art as something that prefigured, that came before, that led the way.
"That's a very different way of thinking about him, not in isolation as the singular Aboriginal artist who happened to make good, but as the beginning of a whole contemporary Aboriginal art movement."
Even now though, with the celebrations around the centenary of Namatjira's birth, and with this major exhibition, there is still a preoccupation with the impact on his life of, for instance, becoming an honorary citizen.
"That deserves to be looked at, it is an extraordinary story," says Butler.
"But what we've wanted to do here is to have a fresh look at his painting, not to forget the tragedy in his life, we need to learn from that, but we can learn from his art as well."

LETTERS: The 'cousins' have ganging up in The Alice for 30 years.

Sir,- Having spent the best part of 30 years growing up in "The Alice", I'm figuring that I can speak on the topic of the "cousins" behaviour (see lead story, last week's Alice News).
Don't for a minute try and sugar coat the issue by labelling those actions as anger-venting from descendants of the stolen generation. What bull-shit!
Call it what it is, cowardly acts from a bunch of mongrels who have no idea what honour, respect or fair play mean.
Firstly, this is not something new. I was party to my fair share of "treatment" 20 to 25 years ago. Try being a five percenter going to Traeger Park (five per cent of the school was white).
In the early to mid-eighties the Gap Angels were running around town as well as a few of the "old racecourse" boys who would go at it for no apparent reason other than one group being part-Aboriginal and the other being white. I was never part of a gang or group as it never appealed to me.
Most of the fights that I witnessed, or was involved in, started over something someone said (whether truthful or not), some supposed action, alcohol or defending some girl's "honour".
Usually these actions took place at school or at the Youth Centre after skating on a Friday night or at the Speedway or after the walk-in on Saturday night. Sunday was never a good day for a blue as most "combatants" played some kind of sport that day. After all, sport is a religion in the Alice.
I can honestly say that I never started a blue, but my stupid pig-headed nature would not allow me to back down. As a result I copped my fair share of touch ups, both deserved and otherwise.
Regardless on which end of a blue you were on, there were always unwritten rules. It would always be one-on-one until someone else jumped in and then others would step in to even up the numbers.
When someone went down, there was no putting in the slipper. In fact, the only time you used your feet in a fight was to run away and finally if someone said enough, that was it, GAME OVER.
Your primary goal was not to maim or injure, other than the usual war souvenirs like black eyes, bruised knuckles etc.
You'd never get the cops involved if you lost, for two reasons: (a) you'd be labelled a dog and as such you'd be bastardized, even by your own mates; and (b) you'd cop an even bigger flogging the next time you were out on the street.
Was there intimidation? Yes! Were there people being picked on? Yes! Is it still happening now? Yes! Most teenagers like myself, growing up in the Alice, had two choices, cower and try and hide or tackle it head on. I chose the latter.
At the time I thought my world was falling apart nearly every weekend, as someone would have a go at me. I earnt begrudging respect by standing up for myself and taking my lickings when I had to.
Am I emotionally scarred? No. Am I a better person for my youth? I believe so. Would I want my kids to go through it? Probably not, but didn't your parents say that you had to fight your own battles sometimes.
Some of the problems, as I see it, are community based. Too many people are making excuses and not wanting to take responsibility for their actions. GROW UP!!!
I wasn't on the First Fleet, nor was I the bus driver relocating the "stolen generations". I didn't send my forefathers to Gallipoli or Vietnam. I didn't leave a budget black hole to the tune of $170 million, nor did I use the unions as my own mobile mafia trying to extort the country.
Superintendent Matt Hollamby is right: the police are only as effective as the community they serve, after all, they are but public servants, a reflection of their community.
This is an age-old problem that our grandkids will be complaining about. The best solution on offer rests solely with the parents, as their offspring are a reflection of them.
Ever wondered why two bull terriers from the same litter can be so different? One can be quiet, meek and fun, while the other snarls, bites and attacks everything. The owner!!!
Mark Fitzgerald
Idaho, USA

Sir,- I live in Townsville and one of my hobbies is collecting brass and silverplate items.
Sometimes my searches take me to the op shops like the Salvation Army stores.
Last week I found an oil painting by L. D. Barber of 6 Clark St, Alice Springs. The Painting is titled "Home of the Eagles". It is pretty dirty, but no major damage to it.
Does anyone there have any information on the artist, and the age of this painting?
Belinda Corbett

Sir,- Arthur Savage was born to British parents in Jamaica in 1857. In the early 1880s he came out to Australia where, it is claimed, he either managed or owned the "largest cattle ranch in the world" for 11 years.
Historical accounts of Victoria River Downs and Wave Hill do not mention Arthur Savage.
He married Annie Bryant and later returned to the USA, where he founded the famous Savage Arms Company in New York in 1894.
The present company's brief biography of him also states that Arthur was "held captive by Aborigines" for a year.
I am researching this gentleman's life, but can find no references in Australia to his supposed tenure in this country. Can any of your readers enlighten me on this matter?
Peter Jeans
Box 117
Bindoon, WA. 6502
Tel: 9576-1468
Fax: 9576-0468

Sir,- Greetings. I was hoping that you might be able to help me get in touch with a family member, my cousin.
As far as I know she is living in Alice Springs or was in the past years. She probably does not know that I exist. My name is Iain Munro and I live in Toronto, Canada.
My uncle, Adam Mackay (born 1911) came out to Australia from Scotland, before World War Two. He settled in Alice Springs.
After the war he met and married (in 1954) a woman by the name of Dawn Webb. She was an Australian army nurse. They had a daughter who was named Anne Webb Mackay, born around 1955/56, I'm guessing.
I understand that they lived in Alice Springs for many years and although Dawn passed away sometime in 1968, I believe that Adam Mackay may still be alive and living in Alice Springs today. And also, hopefully, my cousin, Anne Webb Mackay. Married name? Unknown.
I have a whole family history to share with Anne; she might like to know where her family originated from, and who we are. She has relatives in Scotland, England and Canada, who would like share some of our history with her. I can be reached by email.
Iain Munro
Toronto, Canada

Sir,- Hi, my name is Christina. I would like to write to someone in Australia who is in the eighth grade as I am.
Thank You.

Sir,- I was Margaret Freeman ( originally from Sydney) when I lived in the Alice from approximately 1970 to 1973.
I worked for John Cumming in his camera shop and small art gallery and for the ANZ bank for two years. I would love to hear from anyone who still remembers me. Contact me on email.
Margaret Wilkins
Melbourne, Vic.

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