FESTIVAL: HAIR IT IS. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
Despite the body paint this is not Wearable Art Ð it's the hair
that counts as Alice Springs hairdresser Sylvester Van-Eck gives a
taste of what can be expected at the upcoming Hair Extravaganza.
Five salons and 12 models, including Brooke De Salvio, will be involved. Each model will perform for one and a half minutes to their choice of music.
"There are no rules," says Sylvester, so expect anything from elegant and classy to really wild!
The models will be judged on their total look and performance and the way in which they reflect outback themes.
The Hair Extravaganza will be paired with the Wearable Art awards on August 30, which have attracted more than 60 entries, and are one of the highlights of Carnivale Feva leading into the finale Wildfire Weekend of the Alice Springs Festival.
Meanwhile a huge line-up of talent is booked for the Moonlight Madness Ball, which launches the festival at the Convention Centre on Friday week.
Classy cabaret-style singer Kylie Wilson and friends, as well as the Alexandria Quartet in a jazzy, Latin mood and the Alice Springs Swing Band make up the local talent.
They'll be joined by Canberra-based Anaconda, a gypsy Latin band, and King Marong and Martin Tucker, playing Afro grooves. Marong is originally from Gambia in Africa, now based in Melbourne, while Tucker is a multi-instrumentalist from Tasmania, stopping in Alice en route for recording studios in France.
(Marong will also give workshops in the Saba tradition of drumming, singing and dancing on the weekend following the ball, August 24-25, 10am-2.30pm.)
Another feature of the ball will be an auction of art plates, featuring the work of Centralian artists including Maggie Urban, Suzanne Lollback, Rod Moss, Randall Dixon, Ernabella Arts and Sonia Maclean de Silva.
TROUBLE MAKERS OFF OUR STREETS. Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
The Northern Territory Government is moving to get "street kids" off the streets of Alice before the warm weather comes.
Minister for Central Australia Peter Toyne says new carer arrangements are being sought for some 30 young people who range in age from five years to early teens and are well known to the police and welfare agencies.
The arrangements could see Centrelink benefits being transferred away from neglectful carers and put into the hands of the relatives or community members identified as suitable adults agreeing to look after the young people.
Native title holders, through their body corporate, Lhere Artepe, will be asked to work collaboratively with the government initiatives.
Most of the target group are Arrernte children. In the case of non-Arrernte children, the government will approach the Four Corners Council Ð attached to Tangentyere Council and representing the major language groups of the surrounding region Ð for endorsement.
Says Dr Toyne: "It's very important for this process to be owned by the community, for it not to be seen as one of external intervention and enforcement.
"The case management approach we're using has the interests of the young people, as well as of the community, at heart.
"It's in stark contrast to calls by some people to Ôlock Ôem all up'.
"However, if in some instances the new carer arrangements fail, the government will resort to appropriate formal enforcement through the courts."
Dr Toyne says Tangentyere Council and ASYASS have accepted a letter of offer to deliver youth services filling the gap left by the now defunct Aranda House.
He expects these services to work collaboratively with relevant agencies as well as with the carers of the young people.
He says the government's proposals have been well received.
"We are not waiting for a report by an expert. We've got agreement to a general approach, it's now a matter of detailing each agency's role and implementing it progressively."
There are not yet any children in new care arrangements, but Dr Toyne says "we're very close to that happening".
If in some cases a final carer relationship is slow to be identified, an interim " safe house" solution may be looked at.
He says there will be expectations of the young people themselves.
"We want to offer them recreation opportunities, for example, but that may be on the proviso that they give school a go.
"These kids have some very deep-seated behaviour patterns and some come from traumatic backgrounds.
"If they are provided with basic care on a consistent basis, that should make inroads on petty crime, a lot of which is associated with getting food and clothing.
"Simplistic solutions and institutional arrangements have a poor record of success.
"It's time to try something new.
"We will stand or fall on the outcomes."
Stink for five more years? COLUMN by GLENN
It is crunch time for sewage overflows to Ilparpa swamp and the public is encouraged to attend a public meeting at Old Timers on Monday 19 August at 7pm to have your say about it.
For the first time since overflows started more than 30 years ago, there is to be a discharge license imposed on Power & Water that dictates the quantity and quality of overflows, including a deadline for when dry-weather overflows must permanently cease.
This is obviously a welcome development given the appalling state of the swamp and the health and environmental problems created by it.
At present, however, the proposed license conditions are quite weak and are unlikely to satisfy the public after years of expressing their strong concerns, so people are encouraged to come to the meeting, be informed on the current status of things, and have your say.
The license is to be applied by the Department of Infrastructure, Planning & Environment (DIPE) as an obligation under the NT Water Act and new Waste Management & Pollution Control Act.
To DIPE's credit, a draft license was recently presented for comment to the Ilparpa swamp Rehabilitation Committee, which includes non-government representatives of several environmental, tourist, Aboriginal and rural-area groups in town, including the Arid Lands Environment Centre.
We were alarmed to see that the draft license allows until the end of 2007 to permanently cease dry-weather overflows, had no requirement for staged reductions in that time and had minimal penalties for Power & Water if they didn't meet the deadline.
We are concerned because it is clear that permanent control of reeds (and hence the health risk) is not possible until all sewage overflows cease.
Our initial concerns about the draft and suggested improvements were expressed in writing to DIPE but failed to illicit significant improvements in the next draft.
We have now written to the DIPE minister, Kon Vatskalis, and Minister for Central Australia, Peter Toyne, seeking their intervention to strengthen the license conditions, and have arranged the public meeting at Old Timers to allow the public to state their position regarding the swamp.
From our (non-government reps on the committee) well-informed perspectives, overflows can definitely cease before 2007 because Power & Water has already commenced negotiations with horticultural companies to reuse effluent on the airport land.
Apparently Power & Water has predicted this can be operational by the end of 2005 if all proceeds as planned and even if the horticultural operation does not occur they are apparently developing a contingency plan to stop overflows by 2005 anyway.
If this is the case, then the 2007 deadline is not justified, and indeed with fast-tracking of the bureaucratic process and adequate funding by government we believe an operational scheme can be in place by the end of 2004. Staged reductions in discharges each year are also justified and should be included in the license. DIPE and Power & Water have recently commenced a water efficiency study for Alice Springs that is expected to result in a major water use reduction program in 2003. This will include reductions in sewage flows of up to 15 per cent. Overflows can also be reduced by improved management of the sewage ponds. Amazingly, Power & Water has no comprehensive, written operational plan for the ponds, which means that when staff turnover is high at the ponds (as has happened recently), it is unlikely that either the ponds or effluent reuse are being managed optimally.
As an example, the wood lot that was planted next to the ponds in the early 1980s to reuse effluent has not been actively managed for years but still regularly receives effluent. Power & Water acknowledges that coppicing the trees would create greater effluent uptake as trees re-grow, but there has been no action on this front apparently for legal liability reasons.
We have suggested a minimum 20 per cent reduction in overflows in 2003.
The lack of non-compliance penalties in the draft discharge license is very disappointing. The only potential penalty is for DIPE to take Power & Water to court for breaching the relevant Acts, but the public would be justified to question the likelihood of a government department taking a government-owned corporation to court resulting in money revolving around general revenue (and into lawyers' pockets). In our letter to the Minister, we have asked why a clear deadline date to stop overflows cannot be matched with clear financial penalties if the deadline is exceeded. We have suggested a simple equation of fifty cents for every kilolitre that overflows after the deadline, with any money going into a fund that is used to develop environmental, recreational and cultural activities in Ilparpa Valley.
FRESH START FOR GROG 'REHAB'
A new committee, a new director and dedicated staff want to bring new life to CAAAPU (Central Australian Aboriginal Alcohol Program Unit) as an "oasis of healing in the desert".
Director Jim Farrell (pictured above) admits numbers are down at Alice's only alcohol rehabilitation facility but says there is a lot of support in the community for renewed efforts by CAAAPU to "lift its service delivery".
With the on-going trial of alcohol restrictions and "complementary measures", which received a shot in the arm last week from the national Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation (AERF), Mr Farrell says the time is ripe for CAAAPU to consolidate what it does best and to try new approaches if necessary.
Its 28-day residential program, its men's and women's day care programs, its weekly AAA (Aboriginal Alcohol Awareness) meetings, which all "show people a different way of life", will continue, while stronger links with other agencies should make possible "outcomes" in areas such as employment.
"Alcohol is obviously an issue for the people who come here but it's not their only issue so we need a multi-pronged approach."
In the job for just three weeks, Mr Farrell says he has had a steady stream of visitors from agencies in town, as well as from a range of Indigenous people, wanting to meet the newcomer.
"It's a very difficult area of work, we have to be realistic about what we can achieve but we do want outcomes and they are stipulated in our service delivery contracts," says Mr Farrell.
"We can create the environment for rehabilitation, an environment which develops in people the inner strength to say ÔI can do it', but people have to want to come here, to take that step, and the community at large have to support that."
Mr Farrell comes from Ireland, arriving in Australia in 1995. He has worked in Africa Ð in Sudan and Kenya Ð for 10 years, and he has also worked in the Territory before, for two years in Katherine, for the Kalano and Jawoyn Associations.
He describes his forte as "assisting people to move forward and feel proud of achieving their goals".
The first steps towards that are to listen to what staff and other agencies have to tell him, while putting in place an organisation plan, with a strong emphasis on staff training and development.
Meanwhile, AERF last week formally entered into a policy partnership with the Northern Territory Government to fund complementary measures to the current trial of alcohol restrictions.
The Government committed almost $1 million dollars to the package of measures, while the AERF committed almost $1.2 million dollars.
The funds will be paid directly to non-government agencies delivering the initiatives, who will report back to both government and AERF.
Chair of the Foundation, Professor Ian Webster AO, said the partnership is the first by the Foundation and will be used as a model for partnerships with other Governments.
The $2.1 million three-year project will fund the following measures:
¥ $1.5m to Tangen-tyere Council for Community Day Patrol. This funding will extend the community day patrol during the afternoon and link it to the existing Night Patrol. The service will also employ referral officers who will link individual problem drinkers to various agencies and provide a case management approach, critical in trying to break the heavy drinking cycle that people fall into.
¥ $189,660 to the Drug and Alcohol Services Association (DASA) for extension of the sobering up shelter hours (to every day except Sunday).
¥ $210,000 will provide a project officer to support the strategies.
¥ A grant of $73,000 to Congress for a Mobile Youth Drop In Centre.
¥ One-off funding of $27,420 for training initiatives in the responsible service of alcohol and to develop and deliver training to police so they have more options for managing situations involving alcohol.
WALKING THROUGH TIME: THE GHANS RETURN.
Alex Sherrin had an inspration while cleaning wheelie bins Ð why not a celebration of the Afghans' and other cameleers' work for the Year of the Outback?
Oodnadatta to Alice Springs was a logical route.
And so it came to pass that, with the support of his wife Jo, the enthusiasm of Eric Sultan, and the help of many, The Last Camel Train carrying The Last Camel Mail, became a reality.
A year's planning came to fruition last weekend. This is the first in a series by DICK KIMBER on this celebratory event.
Although a number of people made their own way to Oodnadatta to be present at the concert that preceded departure of the camels, 34 kindred adventurers travelled by coach.
However, the most remarkable endeavour was that of John Dollar, Englishman. In the previous three days he flew from London to Sydney, then to the Alice, and was greeted at the airport by Robin Bullock and myself.
Robin's organisational skills and prior experiences of camel travel on a journey of 3000 kilometres, had resulted in him being a key figure on the planning committee for the journey.
I was now to drive John the 680 kilometres to Oodna so that he could film the start of the concert. We were farewelled by Robin at midday on August 8 and, as the police with their radar on the outskirts of Marla could attest, travelled speedily and well on the bitumen.
The coach, rollicking along at a more leisurely pace, had given the passengers an appreciation of the country between Marla and Oodna. Mulga-clad hills had given way to gently rolling golden plains, then a stretch of light green where the shrubby twin-leafed native hops grew in profusion, and finally leached out country with mallee and samphire.
Emus had been quite prominent, one miraculously escaping a feather-duster fate when it burst from the vicinity of a mob of cattle and slalomed across the nose of the coach.
John and I, travelling in the early evening, saw 24 kangaroos and, nearer to Oodnadatta, two rabbits, while also dodging cattle. We passed in the darkness the mulga clump which had provided the name for the town: "Oodnadatta, place of the mulga blossoms".
The town had come into being when, in 1890, the railway line from Adelaide-Port Augusta-Maree was extended Ð then stopped as depression and drought brought South Australia to its knees.
Most of the visitors from the Alice threw down their swags in and about a large bungalow between the Transcontinental Hotel and the Memorial Hall.
The cameleers, meanwhile, had made their camp on the southern outskirts of Oodnadatta. It was only through the generosity of these camel-owners Ð Nic and Michelle Smail of the "Frontier Camel Farm" in the Alice, Neil Waters of "Camels Australia", Marcus Williams of "Pyndan Camel Tracks" and Jane Mitchell Ð that The Last Camel Train had become a reality.
At 8pm almost the entire population of Oodnadatta, as well as visitors from Port Augusta, the Alice and elsewhere, mustered at the Memorial Hall for the concert. Among the honoured visitors were the Imam Ahmed Hussien of the Alice Springs Mosque and the descendants of Afghans Ð Eric Sultan of Alice Springs, Rozeane Cummings of Newcastle, Don Aziz of Broken Hill (and now Port Augusta) and a grand-daughter of one of the Mahomeds.
Well-known Alice Springs band, "Bloodwood", led off and immediately had some of the Aboriginal women dancing. One of them, a member of the well-known Stewart family of both Oodnadatta and Alice Springs, was soon joined by Morgan Flint, assistant chef and general helper for the entire journey.
Morgan, who danced all night, was declared "Oodnadatta Dance King", but he had some stiff competition from some of the graceful Arrernte and Arabana women, and Mary and her daughters from the Alice.
Complementing "Bloodwood" was main performer Ted Egan, who sung many a duet with a local Arrernte woman when she was not dancing cheek-to-cheek with Morgan on the dance-floor.
Ted was cheered after every song and, as a special request from the local Aboriginal women, brought the house down with "You are my Sunshine". He and Nerys Evans then joined "Bloodwood ", led by Scootty Balfour, in a wonderful conclusion that epitomised the happiness of all, and the universal friendly and welcoming community spirit of the people of Oodnadatta: "I am, you are, we are Australian".
A late night camp-fire, with bushman Peter Ross leading the yarning, gave way to sleep, but all were up by crow-call on August 9.
After the Transcontinental's publican and staff had provided a top breakfast, most people visited The Pink Roadhouse, where Linnie Plate and staff provided ever-friendly service. And then it was time to wait in groups here-and-there along the main street while news of the camels flew and swooped about like the Fork-tailed Kites.
Charlie Sadadeen (Eric Sultan) appeared, resplendant in turban and traditional costume, and visitors gathered, like Zebra Finches to water, for photographs with the legendary old cameleer of the Oodna to Alice track.
Mid-morning saw the camels stride majestically into view, a single line of 30 or so in a combination of strings such as had not departed with stores and mail from Oodnadatta for some 70 years.
The loads were well-balanced, as had been a priority with all of the old cameleers.
Experienced camel-owners rode or led them, Nic and Michelle Smail in period costume. They were joined by teenage son Matt who, together with 16 year-old Chansey Paech, great-grandson of another legendary cameleer, Walter Smith, was a member of the formal expedition.
As their schools acknowledged, they would have life experiences that were better than any formal education during the weeks ahead.
The camels swung about the end of the railway yards, a momentary disturbance to their placid walk being unintentionally caused by a photographer.
The multitude gathered outside the Oodnadatta railway station, and it was impossible not to think of the historical reversal. The Ghan train extension from Oodnadatta to the Alice in 1929 had substantially contributed to the end of the camel era. Now the railway station was a museum, and the grandsons and grand-daughters of the Afghans, and the camels of the Last Camel Train, were the living reality. They were the descendants of those who had given their name to the Ghan train, the line for which is presently being extended to Darwin.
Bob Barford of "Bloodwood" acted as MC as people were called forward to make formal speeches. First came Chansey Paech, thanking the original owners of Oodnadatta and delivering the Alice Springs Town Council's message of support and good-will.
Rozane Cummings, grand-daughter of Mulladad, read well Chief Minister Clare Martin's message of support.
I delivered Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdn's words of encouragement. Some girls delivered toy bears in costumes representing all of the historical characters who had used camels.
Reverend Tony Davies of Frontier Services blessed the party and gave a Bible and early John Flynn book to Scotty Balfour for contemplation and delivery in the Alice.
Linnie Plate and Kevin Shepley, the latter wearing an old PMG (post-office) cap, and respectively representing the South Australian and Northern Territory mail services, formally handed over the mail to Scott Balfour.
Number One patron of Outback Australia's Northern Territory celebrations, Ted Egan, sang the party on its way with an Afghan song he had learnt decades ago in Maree, and led all present in the National Anthem.
And then Imam Ahmed Hussein led all in prayer for the safety of the expedition members in the language of the Koran and in English.
From here the majority of the many who had gathered walked out to the old Afghan cemetery on the northern edge of town. There, at the piles of otherwise unmarked stones, the Imam and Afghan descendants gathered in a special group, and all joined again with the Imam in a last prayer, blessings and good wishes for the travellers.
And then the camels and their support teams in vehicles were on their way. The camels strung out over the low stony rise, with Rozie Cummings, Liz Tier and Michelle Smail among those walking beside them.
As an Afghan once said, "You earn respect." The welcoming people of Oodnadatta, and those who set off, had already earnt our respect.
RULES: BLOODS CONFIDENT. Report by PAUL
The Bloods returned to the Wests Club house on Sunday afternoon feeling justifiably pretty confident of being a force in the finals of the CAFL this season.
They were pitted against South in what was expected to be a fast running game but from early it was evident that Wests were on the winning street.
They recorded 26.17(173) to 4.5 (29) in their win, and so boosted their premiership percentage.
In the late game, Pioneer were able to shake off Rovers after a spirited first quarter and take home the bacon 23.15 (153) to 11.6 (72).
The results had little bearing on finals participation, but certainly indicated that Rovers and Souths would be looking for improved showings in the run into the business end of the season.
West have developed a balanced outfit over the course of the season. Recent inclusion Jamie O'Keefe proved he has the goods to control the critical half forward post, and by kicking seven goals showed he has a true sense of where the big sticks are, whether on the run or having a set shot.
At the other end of the centre square, newcomer Craig Meaney revealed that he has the virtues of a traditional defender Ð he can control the ball both overhead and in the air, and has the capacity to nullify the influence of his immediate opponent.
Wests had Jarrod Berrington and Karl Gunderson in fine form penetrating out of the centre in their usual slick fashion and could look with confidence to O'Keefe, or in turn Steven Squires in front of the white posts for a result. As such they compiled 4.3 to 1.2 in the first term.
Malcolm Ross opened the scoring for Souths and although they had Adrian McAdam, Willy Tilmouth and Darren Talbot missing from the line up, it was heart warming to see the return of Andrew Walker and Wayne Braun.
Come the second term South found difficulty in making the breaks from the centre bounce and Berrington made full use of the Bloods' dominance in the ruck. He used the assistance of Rory Hood, Daryl Lowe and Gunderson to the max in ensuring that the forwards had every chance to score.
And score they did. In the quarter West booted 10.5 to the Roos' 1.1. Berrington started the volley with a superb kick from within the centre square, and while he added another 10 minutes later it was O'Keefe with three, Adam Taylor, Rory Hood, Steven Squires, big Nathan Finn and then the mercurial Curtis Haines, who scored on the bell, who gave Wests their half time lead.
In contrast Clifford Thommy scored Souths' solitary goal late in the quarter.
At the big break Wests stood at 14.8 to Souths' 2.3.
As though the second term were not enough to break the Roos' back, Wests attacked again the premiership-winning term scoring 5.5 to 2.0. Souths' two majors came as a result of the efforts of Shane Hayes and Patrick Ah Kitt.
Ah Kitt was well rewarded as throughout the game he put in for the Southies, while Hayes remains a standout player in any situation, although this week his purple patches were somewhat restricted.
Jarrad Slater proved to be a real influence on the game in the term with his persistent penetration through the half forward line. He was responsible for two goals and had Lowe, Gunderson then Michael Gurney join in the chorus of goal kickers.
In the run home Westies plonked on another 7.4 while the Roos found times tough, only able to add two behinds.
Squires opened the West drive to the line and was followed by O'Keefe, Hood, David Giles, with a back man's goal, O'Keefe again, Finn, and finally Sqizzy Squires sealed the score at 26.17 to 4.5.
For West the honours were due to Berrington. He plays direct and finds his target consistently. Gunderson again provided tremendous support from the wing and O'Keefe did a great job in bagging seven.
In the Roos' camp, Patrick Ah Kitt stood out as best player. Trevor Presley again put in for 100 minutes and Alby Tilmouth contributed. Come the finals however, coach Shaun Cusack will be hoping for support from senior players who were missing from the line up on Sunday.
The true believers at Traeger kept the faith and stayed on for what was hoped would be a close encounter in the match between Pioneer and Rovers. Alas, the ominous sight of coach (cum most other roles in the club) John Glasson searching for expected players late in the curtain raiser, created an element of apprehension even before the first bounce.
The Blues ran on however with a full complement but without the services of Leo Jarrah, Herman Sampson or Oliver Wheeler.
Making the best of the situation however Rovers capitalised on opportunities in the first quarter and led at the break 5.2 to 4.2 thanks to a major on the siren from Shaun Lynch, per favour a 50-metre penalty.
Prior to it however, big Wilson Walker proved to be a powerhouse with two goals, while the dynamic Sherman Spencer plonked two though the centre early in the piece.
The Eagle thrust began through the auspices of Richard Kopp who cut the Rover defence to ribbons during the term. Ryan Mallard chimed in with two consecutive goals, starting what was to eventuate as a bag of 11, then Kopp returned to the limelight with the Eagles' fourth goal.
While Rovers seemed to run into quicksand in the second quarter, Pioneer claimed the ascendancy by scoring 6.6 to no score.
Mallard and Ezra Bray took control of the forward line, booting two goals each and opening a flow goalwards for colleagues.
In the centre however the Eagles applied pressure and delivered to their forwards consistently through the agency of Wayne McCormack, a revitalised Laughlan Ross, and Joel Campbell.
It was the Pioneer ability to win the hard ball in the centre and across the half back region that brought about the Rover demise. At the big break, Pioneer had scored 10.8 to 5.2.
In the third term things were played out at a reasonably even beat. Clinton Ngalkin exerted his influence on the game, and Carlson Brown was responsible for some impressive play.
As such Rovers were able to score 2.4 as opposed to 4.3 from the Eagles. But then any good work the Blues had achieved in the third term was torn apart in the final quarter as the Pioneer machine booted 9.4 to 4.0 to record an impressive win.
Indeed Pioneer strode towards the finish with Mallard proving his true worth with five goals for the term, supported well by Simon Djana (three goals) as the goal sneak.
By the time the game was well and truly won, Rovers put some respectability into the scoreboard thanks to three late goals from Kasman Spencer.
This week Aussie Rules action moves to Round 16, when the game of the day should be late, when Rovers play South.
Both sides will be looking to improve in their quest for peak fitness come the finals. In the early game West will face Federals.
SHOOTING CLUBS RIGHT ON TARGET. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
Despite the entry of a myriad of new age sports onto the community calendar, traditional leisure pursuits such as shooting seem to be holding their own.
At the Gun Club on Ross Highway the big boys blaze their days away. On Undoolya Road, the Pistol Club has a range for those who prefer precision shooting with handguns. And then there is the daddy of them all, the Alice Springs Shooting Complex at Ilparpa.
To have three shooting complexes in a town like Alice no doubt opens the eyes of the uninitiated. And what is available at these venues may well have a recruit to the sport salivating from the opening salvo.
The complex at Ilparpa is indeed a multifunctional venue. It caters for The Central Australian Big Bore Club, the Sporting Shooters Association and the Dead Centre Bow Hunters.
The Big Bore Club is for those who have dedicated themselves to perfecting the performance of a 303 or 308, and especially to developing a shoulder that can withstand the kick of these trusty relics of the World War eras!
The Big Bore shooters have a one kilometre range at the complex and shoot over a program which varies from a short 300 metres up to 500 and more metres.
Accuracy is achieved by a cool hand and head, and at Ilparpa, the shooters are no slouches. Terry Trigg competes on the international circuit including England and South Africa. And back home he joins the likes of Tim Letts, Graham Davies, Jim Larkin and John Gullock in Saturday afternoon sessions on the range.
Besides local and Territory championships, the Alice boys host a Queen's Shoot in late May or early June each year as a forerunner to the Darwin Queen's on the June long weekend. Each of these events attract Big Bore enthusiasts from around the nation.
At the other end of the shooting spectrum are the Dead Centre Bow Hunters. This group tends to be more family oriented as opposed to the male dominance of the Big Borers. And rather than arming themselves with the bulky 303, a bow hunter seeks the thrill of the kill with a mere bow and arrow.
Also rather than being restricted to the "range" the bow hunters' environment is the bush. Using #D polystyrene targets, courses are set through the wilderness of Illparpa, where the hunters seek out their targets adopting the sophisticated strategies perfected in a bygone era when it was a matter of survival. So of a weekend it would not be unusual to see a Cunningham or Graves family member perched up a tree, scouting about in search of the elusive polystyrene prey.
Sitting comfortably with the Big Borers and the Bow Hunters are members of the Sporting Shooters Association. This association caters for a wide range of tastes, although the "buy back" scheme literally put an end to the semi automatic section. These days rifles are restricted to those with a bolt action.
In Field Rifle competitors tackle a variety of events including Post Rest, both Sitting and Standing, Off Hand and Rapid Fire. Adjacent on the 200 metre Pistol range, hand gunners pursue Silhouette and Practical elements of the sport.
Then the true romantics of the range follow tradition and engage themselves in Muzzle Loading challenges, involving the use of Black Powder.
And in true sporting tradition the Ilparpa Complex has a Clay Target Trap. Once this involved the manual setting and firing of the targets, but thanks to the generosity of Robin Hood years ago, an electric trap has been built and so now the clay targets fly at the press of a button.
In all the Illparpa Complex has a feast of adrenaline surging experiences on hand for those who seek recreation with a difference. An open day and BBQ will be held at the complex for anyone interested in finding out more, this Sunday at 12.
BUSH BESTSELLER MAY WIN TOP NATIONAL BOOK PRIZE.
Report by KIERAN FINNANE.
"We want to see the children, after being educated at Papunya School, coming out like honey ants full of honey Ð nice and healthy honey Ð not poison inside.
"We want to see the children learning both ways, and coming out bright orange and yellow together, like honey ants."
So says Linda Kapunani Allen in the closing pages of Papunya School Book of Country and History, published last year by Allen & Unwin.
During the time the book was being written, Linda was cultural principal at Papunya School.
This week, together with Diane de Vere, then principal of the school, and Mary Malbunka and Punata Stockman, two of the major contributing artists, Linda will travel to Perth for the announcement of the Children's Book Council Book of the Year Awards.
Papunya School Book of Country and History, has been short-listed in two categories, Picture Book of the Year and the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books.
This achievement comes on top of winning the Australian Awards for Excellence in Educational Publishing 2002, gaining a Group Special Mention in the Centre for Australian Cultural Studies Awards 2001, and being short-listed for the Ebenezer Ward Prize of the Community History Awards 2002.
The judges of the last prize described the book as "a proud and beautifully produced publication" that they would like to see "in every primary school library".
Jenny Pausacker, reviewing the book in The Weekend Australian, said it "combines language simple enough for primary school children with concepts too complex for many Australian politicians".
Margaert Dunkle in Australian Book Review wrote, "No course in Australian history, at whatever level, will ever be complete now without Papunya School Book of Country and History."
Linnet Hunter in Magpies describes the book as "a restoration, a rebuilding, a rediscovery of vision".
This kind of reception has led to trade sales of over 10,000 copies, moving the book into bestseller territory.
What a set of triumphs for Papunya School Publishing Committee Ð Linda Allen, Mary Malbunka, Punata Stockman, as well as Amos Egan, Patricia Phillipus and Morris Major Ð and their collaborators, Nadia Wheatley who wrote the text, Ken Searle who designed the book, and Diane de Vere who gave it vital support.
This passionately committed educator led her Indigneous and non-indigenous staff in seven years of "action research" at Papunya (1992-99), that put "ngurra" Ð meaning country, homeland, home Ð at the heart of the school's "two way" curriculum.
Much of what they needed to know was not written down. As they say in the book Ð the collective voice of over 40 contributors Ð "that's why we have to make our own books, telling our own stories of country and history".
While the focus is local Ð homing in on this tiny yet renowned community in the Western Desert Ð the significance is deep and broad. In post-Mabo Australia, this history and the many like it have to be told.
Note: An exhibition of the graphic timeline developed by Papunya School in the creation of their book is on display at the Alice Springs Public Library until Thursday, August 22.
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