September 11, 2002.


The Central Land Council (CLC) has been told to keep its nose out of negotiations about the release of native title land in Alice Springs, according to a reliable source.
About 500 blocks in Larapinta and 1000 in Mt Johns Valley, currently Crown Land, are the subject of current talks.
A large scale release of land would ease the extreme shortage of residential land and dramatically lower land prices Ð now among the highest in the nation.
The source close to the new native title body, Lhere Artepe, says it will now conduct its own negotiations with the government.
This follows a recent visit to Darwin by CLC director David Ross, Lhere Artepe chairman Brian Stirling and a CLC lawyer for talks with NT Chief Minister Clare Martin.
The source says there was disagreement over how much land should be retained by the native title holders.
However, the source says the CLC delegation had no authority from Lhere Artepe, including Mr Stirling who works for the CLC as a field officer.
"They got into trouble when they came back," says the source.
"All discussions will now be held by Lhere Artepe direct.
"We will ask the CLC for advice when we want it."
The only comment made by Mr Ross was: "Negotiations are continuing."
The sole obligation Lhere Artepe has toward the CLC is to keep it informed.
With the formation of Lhere Artepe earlier this year the CLC retains no decision-making power on native title issues within Alice Springs, nor does it have any power of veto.
Any agreement that may have been made with Ms Martin by the CLC on behalf of Lhere Artepe "may be declared null and void by the group," says the source.
Ms Martin says: "We are currently in negotiations with the Native Title holders and it would therefore not be appropriate to comment on the content of those negotiations at this stage.
"However, the Government remains committed to releasing blocks for residential use in Alice Springs as soon as possible."
Says John Elferink, NT Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs: "If the CLC acted without proper authority of Lhere Artepe, that is by substantive motion of that body, then they've acted highly improperly.
"I would be curious to know how the CLC would respond if an independent group started representing them without proper authority."
The Alice News understands that the opening "ambit claim" by the group was development rights over the entire land, but they accepted this was not realistic "because the government wanted some revenue from it".
The NT Government offered 30 blocks in Larapinta Ð at the western edge of the existing subdivision. The source says a new offer from the government is now expected this or next week.
According to the source the next area to be negotiated will be Mt Johns Valley, at the foot of the MacDonnell Ranges, east of the Outback Inn (formerly Vista Hotel), where more than 1000 blocks could be developed.
The Alice News understands the native title holders would develop their share of the land and sell the blocks, while the government would make arrangements for the development of its share.
The real estate industry has said there is a great need for new residential land, especially for new home buyers.
Shadow Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Elferink has said real estate prices in Alice Springs are at the level of metropolitan Melbourne.
The Government has the option of compulsorily acquiring the land if negotiations with the native title holders break down.
But this would lead to acrimony and possibly a protracted court battle.
The previous government some two years ago reached agreement with native title holders in Palmerston who obtained rights as "preferred developers" over some 25 per cent of that land.
This agreement was put in place by the current government.
No matter how much land is ceded to the native title holders the housing blocks would ultimate come on to the market, easing the price pressure on existing land.
However, any deals are likely to set precedents that could affect other native title negotiations, including those over land under pastoral lease.
Another consideration is the development of Owen Springs station south of the town, now owned by the NT Government but subject to native title claim. Native title over freehold land is considered extinguished.


Alice Springs people have more cause for reflection today than most Australians about the massive terrorist attacks in the USA one year ago. Our big American population will be feeling deep sadness.
But there are grave questions about why Pine Gap, which brought them here, and the global intelligence system of which it is a vital part, were unable to prevent the carnage of "Nine Eleven".
And many people are asking to what degree Alice Springs is exposed to terrorist attack because of the presence of the base.
The town council looks at it mainly from an economic angle: Pine Gap's "contribution has been estimated as $37-$52 million per annum," the council says, surprisingly unable to come up with a more precise estimate.
On the eve of US President Bush's speech to the UN about the case for war on Iraq, with unequivocal support from the Australian government, peace activists are arriving in The Centre for a large anti Pine Gap protest next month.
Judging from similar events in the past, some protesters will be from the extremist fringe, but the core of the movement includes mainstream people putting their money, their freedom and Ð at times Ð their lives on the line for an ideal.

The two middle aged blokes in the vanguard of the October Pine Gap protest hardly look like Osama bin Laden's storm troopers.
Gareth Smith, 60, likes a laugh and is a full time school psychologist in Byron Bay.
Denis Doherty, 57, is a half time teacher in Sydney and devotes the rest of his time to running the Australian Anti-bases Campaign Coalition.
Mr Smith has a string of property damage convictions against his name, all of them committed as a peace activist.
Amongst other inconveniences these mean he can't get insurance for his house or car.
But that, explains the former UN volunteer in East Timor (with a certificate of thanks signed by John Howard and Alexander Downer to prove it), is simply a factor of how public relations works.
When Australia was sitting on its hands as Indonesia was slaughtering East Timorese, Mr Smith organised a campaign of letters and petitions.
The media all but ignored them.
But when he and three of his mates risked their lives climbing to the top of Parliament House and spray painted "Shame, Australia, Shame" on its roof, that made national news.
So, unlawful "civil disobedience" will most decidedly be part of the Pine Gap rally which they say will bring around 500 protesters to Alice Springs on the October 5 and 6 weekend, or 1000 if the US, with the likely help of Australia, goes to war with Iraq.
Mr Doherty says the protesters will come mainly from Sydney and Melbourne, with "back-up" from Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.
About 40 per cent will be people with "kids, a job, a house and a car"; another 40 per cent will be students; 20 per cent will be people on the dole.
Also present will be members of the American Federation of Scientists and other US activists.
There will be a grannies' rally on October 4, "people who say they have grandchildren, protesting because the radiation from nuclear weapons lasts for a quarter of a million years, future generations will suffer if we don't do something," says Mr Smith.
The "main event" will be on Sunday, October 6.
Broad public notice is being given of the plans, including to police, lawyers and "medical people".
Mr Doherty says Aboriginal organisations have been "extensively consulted".
"The custodians of the site have been informed" and so have "all relevant bodies dealing with indigenous people and their land".
"There have been no objections to what is planned," says Mr Doherty.
He says while there are very strong guidelines about non-violence "we consider that invading Pine Gap is not violence".
So are they going to do it?
"Oh, yeah," says Mr Doherty. "We'll step over the fence.
"If you stand at the front gate of Pine Gap and you turn to the left, you go down about 50 yards and the six foot fence comes down to a cattle fence.
"We are going to challenge the law. We are saying that particular base should not be there.
"We know whenever we've drawn attention to that base we get huge coverage and the support for the US Australian alliance goes from 80 per cent down to 50.
"We've been arrested by every police force in Australia," says Mr Doherty.
"[At times] the only place we can get our point across is in a court of law," says Mr Smith.
Sometimes it works: Mr Smith says when protesters Ð including himself Ð against French nuclear testing in the Pacific threw rock cakes at French Foreign Minister Rochard in Canberra, French media gave it broad and favourable coverage.
Mr Smith says the court later acquitted the protesters on the grounds of freedom of speech, and the hearing transcript is now a text at the Melbourne University's law faculty.
"So I think that arrest was well worth it."
Both are concerned about responses from the Alice Springs public.
Says Mr Doherty: "We are going to meet a certain amount of hostility from the locals because they will feel their economic viability is threatened.
"But I am sure if Alice Springs had the choice between killing people in Iraq and Afghanistan, and developing their tourist industry, they'd choose the tourist industry É doing non-violent jobs.
"There is a potential in this town to be quite viable without the base."
Exmouth had "thrived" even though the base there was closed down "because they have a beautiful reef and they have developed that".
Says Mr Smith: "How many families in Alice Springs would accept an economic argument for their daughters to become prostitutes?
"They would say, look, that's not a job you should be doing.
"Alice Springs should be asking itself the same question about Pine Gap.
"It is prostituting itself for the armed wing of corporate globalisation.
"The Europeans, unlike the Australians, have seen that.
"When Airbus Industries found a deal for supplying A300 aircraft was nipped in the bud by Boeing É they found absolute evidence that those bases are used for economic espionage.
"That discussion has never taken place in this country, and it's about time it did."
The geo-political background now is a lot different to when Mr Doherty and Mr Smith took part in the 1987 protests against Pine Gap, which at that time was thought to be a first strike nuclear target in any Soviet Union versus USA conflict.
This year's event was originally planned to oppose Star Wars "but now there is an added imperative with the imminent war on Iraq", says Mr Doherty.
"We know Pine Gap will be used for the prosecution of any war against Iraq.
"For example if they see a certain suburb [of Baghdad] where a lot of phone calls are coming from, or a lot of radio traffic, well then that suburb will be flattened.
"My understanding is that the footprints of the satellites Pine Gap controls are the ones over Afghanistan and Iraq."
Says Mr Smith: "Defence Minister Hill has told us [in Alice Springs last week] that Pine Gap is absolutely essential for arms control monitoring.
"And yet the funny thing is that the Americans are the ones who are unilaterally cancelling already agreed protocols and conventions like the anti ballistic missile treaty.
"They want out from that. They want out from the nuclear proliferation treaty.
"And yet here we're told one of the good things of Pine Gap is its use in monitoring treaty compliance."
Mr Doherty says test bans are falling by the wayside because the US wants to test new generations of battlefield nuclear weapons whose use would be monitored by Pine Gap and similar installations around the world.
He says: "When they ran the war against Afghanistan the commander in chief of that operation never left Florida.
"He sat in a Ôvirtual' war room, receiving information ranging from weather to kill rates.
"If they planned to flatten a certain suburb and it was only half flattened, well they'd send more missiles to do a better job."
The first strike argument of the 80s may well translate to the current terrorist activities.
Says Mr Doherty: "The first action of the al-Qaida network was to take out the US consulates in Tanzania and Kenya.
"They didn't touch continental USA.
"If someone who has any grudge against the US wanted to upset the US, if they could do something significantly harmful to Pine Gap, they would." That's an outside chance, he says, although, adds Mr Smith, if terrorists "can hijack planes in America I'm damn sure they can do it in Australia".
But what Alice Springs should be more concerned about is that "just outside their beautiful town a base has just finished being used for killing 5000 innocent civilians in Afghanistan, and may soon be used to kill innocent civilians in Iraq."
Mr Doherty says a Harvard University study had found that 4000 to 5000 children a month are dying in Iraq because of sanctions.
Mr Smith claims Australia exposes itself to widespread Ð possibly violent Ð international hostility by hosting Pine Gap: "It has been used many times in other wars, [including the one] between Greece and Turkey.
"It was using against the Greeks by informing Turkey about troop placements.
"And that was done without the knowledge and permission of Australia.
"The Greeks in Australia are very upset about that.
"We wonder how many other times Australian sovereignty and our defence policy have been upset because of the unauthorised use of Pine Gap.
"And now we're finding ourselves isolated because the Europeans are seeing the folly of an attack on Iraq."
Says Mr Smith: "We've been fighting all our lives against weapons of mass destruction, including Iraqi ones.
"But we're looking at the hypocrisy of the United States which owns more weapons of mass destruction than the rest of the world put together, and has helped Saddam Hussein to develop his biological and chemical weapons against Iran.
"And now they're saying, you naughty boy."
Mr Doherty says the US hasn't called "for a regime change in Saudi Arabia and yet the Americans themselves admit that Saudi Arabia has been funding terrorism on a global scale.
"There is no call for democracy in Saudi Arabia.
"But that's where the [the Americans] get their oil."
Both say that in the future the 2002 protests in Alice Springs may well be seen as an enlightened move.
"All the people who fought against the Vietnam war were despised and vilified," says Mr Doherty.
"And now you have people like Malcolm Fraser saying, oh, well, I think we've made a mistake.
"These so called ferals in the sixties were right."
Says Mr Smith: "We've even got General Cosgrove now retrospectively looking at the Vietnam war, saying, hey guys, we shouldn't have gone in there. Ten years down the track, will they be saying the same thing about Iraq?"


The Centre has huge opportunities in eco- and cultural tourism but a long way to go to fully realise its potential, says Federal Tourism Minister Joe Hockey.
"If anyone is going to invest in tourism product in the NT, there are things they need to have certainty about," Mr Hockey (pictured) said in Alice Springs last month.
"One is land access. Another is title.
"A further issue is that there will be a consistent relationship with traditional owners.
"If any of those things are compromised it's far easier for investors to look to other places.
"And I think that does hurt the Territory."
Asked about the requirements of the Land Rights Act for tourism ventures to be negotiated through the land councils, Mr Hockey said: "I can't comment on the relationship between the land councils and individual communities."
However, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Philip Ruddock has recently foreshadowed changes to the Land Rights Act, allowing for regional decision-making by Aboriginal communities.
Mr Hockey says "product reliability is crucial" for indigenous tourism: "You can't have a day off when you're a tourism operator.
"You can't not turn up.
"Eco-tourism is something that can't be duplicated by any other country in the world.
"What we've got to do is make it globally competitive."
He says the Territory cannot take for granted its status as the indigenous heartland of Australia.
It is competing with Cairns, with services in Sydney, and various other parts of Australia.
Mr Hocket was in The Centre for meetings with the Indigenous Tourism Leadership Group (ITLG), co-chaired by Alice Springs' Paul Ah Chee, who operates the Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre in Alice Springs and is a board member of the Australian Tourist Commission.
ITLG is calling for a national tourism accreditation program to "strengthen the profile of appropriate and authentic Aboriginal tourism products," and wants an Aboriginal Tourism Venture Capital fund set up.
Meanwhile NT Tourism Minister Paul Henderson says international visitors have indicated an interest in paying up to US$14,500 a head for an "innovative Territory outback tour" in the Top End.
He says the AAT Kings Saltwater Fella tours are available only on the international market, and provide tourists with an "exclusive and intimate cultural experience".
"The clients will be guided by John Moriarity, a co-owner of Balarinji Designs, whose most famous works are the Qantas jumbos painted in indigenous designs. He will take tourists to his country, near Borroloola, and to Kakadu," says Mr Henderson.

Householders can do a lot for the environment. COLUMN by GLENN MARSHALL.

Property owners in Alice Springs can now join a nationally successful program called Land for Wildlife.
It is a voluntary scheme being run by the Alice Springs Town Council that aims to encourage and assist private landholders to retain and better manager their native vegetation, thus encouraging native fauna on their properties.
Nationally, there are over 9000 properties signed up, and in Alice Springs any landowner or groups such as schools can apply to join. ALEC encourages everyone who has or wants native plants, animals or birds on their property to apply, particularly people whose land abuts or links native vegetation.
Deborah Metters, Land for Wildlife coordinator, will be available to provide on-site advice about integrating wildlife habitat with other land management activities, managing remnant vegetation and explaining the ecological roles and requirements of native flora and fauna in your area.
Expertise will be sought from government and community sectors to assist with any other nature conservation concerns of landholders. Devolved grants of up to $1800 are also available to property owners who wish to do innovative on-ground work that will enhance their blocks and provide an example to others.
Importantly, the program will bring people together to share experiences and ideas through workshops, field days and other activities.
There are lots of locals with a wealth of information about efficiently removing buffel grass, growing native trees, identifying birds, reptiles and insects, stopping soil erosion and other things and hopefully they'll be sharing their knowledge with Land for Wildlife participants.
Elsewhere, Litchfield Shire has a Land for Wildlife program with 70 participants, and there are Queensland pastoralists in the Lake Eyre Basin whose properties are registered with the Land for Wildlife program.Land for Wildlife is just one of many private conservation initiatives in Australia, stemming from a realization that native flora and fauna are rapidly disappearing and national parks are not adequate to maintain the nation's biodiversity.
Newhaven Bird Reserve, 350 km north-west of Alice Springs was run as a cattle station from 1958 until 2000 when it was purchased by Birds Australia (the major bird- conservation organization in Australia) because of its diverse habitats and abundance of arid zone bird species.
Birds Australia also owns and manages the Broome Bird Observatory in WA, and the Gluepot Reserve and Eyre Bird Observatory in South Australia and uses a lot of voluntary helpers to manage these sites.
Trust for Nature owns 53 Australian properties with high biodiversity values.
They also have a revolving property scheme, where they purchase and enhance high biodiversity blocks, place a legal covenant over the maintenance of this biodiversity then sell them to finance the purchase of new properties.
Bush Bank has a similar revolving scheme, whilst Bush for Nature is similar to Birds Australia in that they purchase land to keep and enhance.In the NT legislation allows people to place legally binding conservation covenants over their land; however this option has not been acted upon or promoted for many years.
Therefore a 20-acre block owner in the rural area of Alice Springs can spend much time and effort removing all buffel grass but cannot ensure this is maintained if they sell the land.
In other states, this option exists either via restrictive covenants that prohibit certain activities or prescriptive covenants that mandate certain activities (such as maintaining a buffel-free block).
Most state governments actually provide financial rewards to landholders who enter into a binding conservation covenant as they recognize the substantial contribution being made by those landholders to biodiversity conservation.Within Central Australia, there are several important habitats that are under-represented in national parks and other conservation reserves and it is important for governments to encourage and assist off-park private conservation. This particularly relates to grasslands on river flats due to their use by the pastoral industry.
The NT government is currently deciding how to carve up Owen Springs Station that lies south and west of Alice Spring, which was purchased by the previous CLP government in 2000.
There are significant river flats on Owen Springs and ALEC trusts these will be brought into the West MacDonnell National Park, although much of the biodiversity in those river flats has been seriously degraded by buffel grass and couch grass.
ALEC has tried to find out what the proposed carve-up will be (including an apparent request by Pine Gap for a lot more land around their base) but the information has not been forthcoming from government.

A life in slides. COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.

Thanks to the inventive staff at Ross Park Primary School, my children have been learning to use Powerpoint.
For the uninitiated, Powerpoint is a computer program that enables you to create presentations with animations, words, pictures and graphics, all with an almost infinite number of colour combinations. It's a bit like having the whole Dulux range under your right index finger. Anyway, the children seem to like it.
Before I carry on, let me just say that this week's column is not about computers. Listening to someone go on about information technology is a bit like hearing cricket commentary for the first time. You only understand one in every three words (like Ôcable' and Ôscreen'). You also realise that the person speaking has not yet evolved into someone who can use straightforward language.
Look, I love cricket, but why is the language so esoteric? It's like a 10- year-old boy's after-school club code. I watched the best part of five evenings worth of an international test match on TV recently. The coverage used alternating pairings of commentators from around the world. The one thing that they had in common was that they all spoke gibberish. Especially the ones from Yorkshire.
I mean, how can we be expected to know what a "tickle to mid-off" means? And why does the bowler need to "pitch it up to improve on his five-for"? Do me a favour. At least in soccer, a goal is a goal and a save is a save.
Where was I? Oh yes, computers at Ross Park. Even if you haven't heard of Powerpoint, the chances are that you will have seen it in action somewhere. These days, you can't go to a simple hiking club talk about climbing a mountain without a bearded person getting out the laptop for a quick spin through his images. I even heard that the servo proposed for the old Alice drive-in plans to have pictures flashing up on the screen to stop road-fatigued drivers getting bored while they fill up. Before long, we'll be using Powerpoint to write our grocery lists.Quite a lot of my work in recent years has involved making presentations to a range of people who wished that they were elsewhere. Being a Luddite at heart, when Powerpoint first came out I steadfastly refused to use it. Those shiny and slippery A4 transparencies seemed so much more authentic and there was always the option of a slide projector.
That beautiful clunk and whirr sound of the slides going in and out was the essence of a successful presentation. Not only that, but from time-to-time I would accidentally drop the transparencies before reaching the lectern, which was a perfect opportunity to crawl around on the floor gathering them together while filling the void for the audience with unwitty quips about only having the knees of my trousers dry cleaned next time.
But, as with many tales of technology change, there was an unhappy ending. Before long, bright and bushy-tailed Powerpoint users at countless meetings started to make me look like an antique piece. Young women were coming up to me afterwards to offer a consolatory pat on the shoulder as if to say "poor old time-warped duffer, we should make allowances for him".
So I threw away my transparencies and stored my slides in the attic. Descending from the loft like a computer geek Clark Kent, I had already made the switch to Powerpoint. And so I transformed overnight into a hip, funky, cutting-edge, er, time-warped old duffer.
I still hark back to the slide projector. Long may it survive and thrive, even if it gets jammed and shows your holiday snaps of the rain at St. Kilda upside down.
Everyone's life should ideally be summed up in 10 slides, each separated by a clunk and a whirr. It would be a snappy visual replacement for the long-winded diary or autobiography.
My 10 slides would include two or three from the Alice. Images that sum up the experience of being here at the centre of the continent and the home of desert culture. What would yours be?
It's hard to choose since most photos end up looking irretrievably inane. Like a picture of yourself standing outside the gate of the Desert Park or pointing at the windmill on Todd Mall. Or, worse still, sitting on your patio sipping Lambrusco with a couple of people you hardly know but who somehow qualify as friends. Grinning vacantly and trying to remember their names. I have looked at the product of my photographic genius and, believe me, these are about as good as it gets.
Perhaps we could start a competition for creative representations of life in Alice Springs, as told through a maximum of three images. These would say more than "aren't the MacDonnells spectacular" or "the earth is red".
They would be personal, insightful and offbeat. And easily transposed into Powerpoint.

That feeling of belonging. COLUMN by ANN CLOKE.

David and I have had a great time rediscovering the Alice and surrounds, showing Libby, visiting from Brisbane, our wonderful part of the world.
She left on Friday after spending 12 days in The Centre, five out on a camping expedition Ð four nights sleeping near a camp fire in a swag under our enormous starry skies.
She and other intrepid travellers had a memorable time, thanks to Bones, a dedicated tour guide who managed to keep everyone motivated, interested and totally entertained. Dreamtime stories, and others were told, and hopefully everyone has photos which capture the bush experience.The highlight for Libby, until we touched our magnificent Trephina Gorge, was Kata Tjuta and the walk through the Valley of the Winds.
In between comments about magnificent scenery, incredible colour, the light, and the space, she mentioned the overwhelming sense of macro/micro, the isolation out there. Bumping along dirt tracks for hours without seeing anyone or anything; getting bogged near the Finke River and desperately trying to dig the four wheel drive out just as night was falling; being towed out by another vehicle which, luckily, was in the area; looking up at night skies around Uluru, Kings Canyon, Palm Valley and Ormiston Gorge, reflecting on the day, spotting satellites and shooting stars, thinking about life, alone out there soaking up the silence.Just before she left she said she felt the town growing on her, day by day: trees didn't look quite as bare as they had on day one; the ranges seemed greener. Our landscape is really dramatic at the moment, especially out around the gaps and gorges: burnt orange and slightly singed with a vivid green carpet of new growth along the river bed and up against charred rocks: the Red Centre as per the brochures is a bit different from what our visitors are seeing today.
Alice is so inspirational, Libby noted.
She dabbles in the arts, painting and pottery, and was wowed by the incredible range of work on show around the town Ð from store-bought to home-grown creations, in the homes of friends, Francoise, Lori and Lee, to the national display of Albert Namatjira's work and a privileged preview of "Being There Ð The Outback", an exhibition of paintings by local artist, Julie Burdis, which opened yesterday at the Territory Craft Gallery, Araluen.
Before Libby left we wandered around the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, and met a couple from Sydney who mentioned that they'd asked a shop assistant whether the Cultural Precinct was worth a visit, and were told: "Don't know, I've never been thereÉ."
Libby was able to say, with some conviction, that it is.
"I felt a bit like a local," she said later.
She was pleased that she'd heard no news whilst out bush. The group on tour, from Japan, Europe and England, was unaware of the incident involving the German mother and daughter who were terrorised at gun-point at Litchfield Park, until they got back into town on Monday night.
Over wind-up pizzas at Melanka Lodge it was agreed that ignorance IS bliss É all travellers will rest more easily now the gunman has been apprehended.
September 11, one year on É The Big Apple, and most of America, is still on the itinerary of thousands of travellers, as is Zimbabwe, Cambodia, Columbia, the Solomon Islands and Australia.
According to our visitor's book, Libby will be back. She's definitely going to promote the Alice as a stimulating inspirational place to visit.


Hugs, kisses, and greetings in English and Arrernte characterised Hermannsburg's anniversary celebrations on Sunday.Hundreds of people turned out for the Sunday morning Arrernte service held in the grounds of the historic precinct, in front of Hermannsburg's old church built in 1897.
Former teachers greeted grown students, co-workers greeted one another, friends greeted friends and made new ones.
Everyone felt a close relationship to Hermannsburg and its history and all were eager to share their memories and to thank God for having given them the opportunity to be part of such a special place.Sunday's celebrations marked the anniversary of three historic events: the 125th anniversary of the first missionaries arriving on the banks of the Finke River; the 100th anniversary of the birth of Hermannsburg watercolour artist Albert Namatjira; and the 20th anniversary of the return of the area to the care of its traditional Indigenous owners.
The service was conducted entirely in Arrernte by Patsor Eli Rubuntja and Evangelist Marcus Wheeler.SERMONIn the sermon, given in English, Pastor Mike Semmler, Lutheran Church President, spoke of the interrelationship of all three aspects of Hermannsburg history.
"The dry, hot desert and its sand sapped energy and strength and sometimes played tricks as they [the first missionaries] thought they could see pools of water when there was none," Pastor Semmler said.
"In many ways life can be like that, not sure of one's own future and always looking for stability and hope and sometimes in that quest one can find something special.
"This dry land you care for is also a beautiful place and God's gift to you."This land can be harsh and blow dust but when the rains come it is capable of growing the most exquisite flowers."This is a land of promise and when your artists pick up their brushes and watercolours and paint pictures of this land, they are not just portraying the land as a painting, they are also sharing their feeling for the land with others."Those who keep the land make something special, something they can share with others.
"This is a special place and it is right to celebrate today."
Peter Miller, Finke River Mission Board Chairman, officially launched From Mission to Church 1877-2002, written by Paul Albrecht who was born and raised in Hermannsburg, the son of Pastor FW Albrecht, missionary-in-charge from 1926-1951.Paul Albrecht, also an ordained Lutheran pastor, has spent his life ministering the gospel among Aboriginal people as well as working as a linguist, translator, and anthropologist. He spoke to the gathering in Arrernte.In the preface to his book, he states that it "is not a history in the accepted sense of the word, Ôa continuous, usually chronological, record of important or public events'".
STORIESInstead, "this story has attempted in a small way to pay tribute to Aboriginal involvement in the movement from mission to church by including the stories of some of the Aboriginal people who played a prominent role in the work of the mission and the life of the church".
The service concluded with the reading of greetings received from all over the world, included one from the Hermannsburg Mission Society, Germany, delivered personally by Hartwig Harms.Afterwards, people continued "catching up" with one another as well as eagerly sharing their stories with others keen on hearing about a way of life that today seems so remote and long ago but in reality only a few years have passed.


It may have taken a minor round to make it happen but on Sunday Ausssie Rules patrons left Traeger Park having gotten more than their money's worth.
It was the first finals day and both semis between South and Rovers and the between Wests and Pioneers turned out to be "corkers".
Rovers were anticipating a short fall in numbers, with Hermannsburg celebrations expected to keep several players on the community. But despite this John Glasson had a full complement run onto the field including cornerstone Jamie Tidy and veteran Glen Holberton.
In the South camp Andrew Walker was a notable absentee, and coach Shaun Cusack opted to command his troops from the boundary line.
The Blues wasted no time in showing that this week they were in town to play footy and with Holberton and Kasman Spencer dangerous in the forward zone, they were able to notch up five straight goals in the first term. In the early blitz young Kenny Morton showed he has the potential to develop into a class player as he drove the ball forward from deep on the wing.For South the start was not so engaging, but they did enough to see Malcolm Ross boot their two goals for the term which kept them in touch. At the break the scores stood at 5.0 to 2.1.
South had Patrick AhKitt in form through the centre and were able to use the wind in the second term to bring them right into contention. Ross opened the Roos' scoring and pierced a second later in the quarter as Souths marched to 7.5 at the big break as opposed to Rovers' 8.3.
Things remained pretty even in the third term with the Roos' backline serving the side well and Wayne Braun coming into his own on the wing. The Rovers boys scored 3.1 for the session, to South's 4.3, with the old firm of Holberton and Spencer doing the Blues' business. South's goal scorers were young Charlie Maher, Bradley Dodd, and Herman Sampson with two.
The difference at three quarter time was a mere four points, and the game was there to be won. It was at this stage of the game that South benefitted from experience. Darren Talbot injected himself into the play with a dynamic mark across half forward which resulted in a goal and enabled the Roos to not only hit the front, but to also surge in confidence.Jeremiah Webb planted a goal and Alvin Briscoe buttered up, making life hard for the now struggling Blues.
With the back of their opposition broken Souths drove the nails into the coffin with a total of seven goals eight being registered at the South end while the Blues responded with a mere three majors.Talbot's influence at this critical time of the game was crucial and won him the best on field vote. Wayne Braun proved he still has the "fire in the belly" to do well, and Alby Tilmouth served his side well. Malcolm Ross' six goal haul ranked him high in the Roo best players list.
For Rovers the end was nigh early in the last quarter, but considering the year they have had, they finished off in a respectable manner.
Holberton and Spencer did well in front of the sticks. Morton deserved a pat on the back, and Max Fejo contributed consistently.
At the final bell Rovers bowed out of the competition, going down 14.8 (92) to 17.12 (114).
The major semi final between West and Pioneer was anticipated as a beauty. West went to the trouble of bringing 15 of their players from their 1982 premiership side together in Mona's Lounge, and their presence seemed to bring the best out of the present day Bloods early.
West jumped to a lead, with the early attack coming from defence through the agency of Josh Flattum and Henry Labistida, who in rebounding out of the backline penetrated deep into the forwards and allowed for the dynamic Jarrad Slater at half forward to show his mettle. He scored three of Westies' four goals for the quarter with Steven Squires poking the other through.
In response Pioneers looked slow, and relied upon the goal scoring efforts of Joel Campbell and then Trevor Dhu to keep them in the game. From deep in defence Lance White also proved to be a tower of strength, with his inspiring dashes out of the goal square.
At the first break West led 4.2. to 2.4, but a feast of footy still lay ahead. The second quarter certainly belonged to West and Curtis Haines got things operational with a mark (of the Year) over the top of the pack, which resulted in a goal.
Running on confidence the West outfit looked the goods as they piled on seven goals for the term. Slater, Squires, Jamie O'Keefe, and Haines were the harvesters of the score, while they were well fed by the Jarrad Berrington, Karl Gunderson and Rory Hood triad across the centre.
The scoreboard at half time showing Pioneer down by 29 points, 10.4 to 5.5, had many in the crowd already claiming a place for West in the grand final.
To add to their woes the Eagles lost the services of Graeme Smith in the second term when he fell awkwardly, seemingly jarring his already injured knee.Come the third term Pioneer kept hammering away but seemed to be a yard slower and less determined than the Bloods. Trevor Dhu posted his third goal for the game early in the term and both Simon Djana, and Wayne McCormack scored a major.
Ryan Mallard also did his bit for the cause, taking a "screamer" in the forward line only to miss the goal. It may have only resulted in a behind, but was worth plenty more in terms of getting the Eagles back into the game.At the other end of the ground West were able to maintain the lead by scoring two goals for the term through the agency of Andrew Crispe, and later O'Keefe. Kenny Cole became prominent in the backline with the iron man White, and these could well have been the two who slowly turned the tide for the reigning premiers.
At three-quarter time the Eagles were still down 8.9 to 12.4, and the cards still seemed stacked Westies' way.
Football is an interesting battle of brain as well as brawn and in the final term significant changes evolved in each team.
For Pioneer Lachlan Ross began to pick up touches around the centre bounce. The backline continued to rebuff West attacks, creating attacking opportunities, and another veteran Ian Taylor came to the fore.
The Pioneer scoring fight back was initiated by Richard Kopp, who took control of a tight opportunity to register a goal from directly in front of the posts.
Simon Djana also flashed into the game with a six-pointer, and late in the term Taylor took control of the forward line, kicking the Eagles' last three goals.
In response Wests were left somehow stranded and watching a game they had had in their keeping stolen away from them.
Maybe Westies thought they had it won, closing down the shop too early.
Maybe it was a case of one side knowing how to win, despite the odds, and being able to capitalise at the critical time.
Regardless Pioneer won the game 13.13 (91) to 13.7 (85) and so have advanced to yet another grand final.
West on the other hand take on South in the preliminary final this week. The Roos have not presented Wests with major difficulties during the minor round, but with finals now on, and the Roos having a sniff of a chance at the premiership flag, they cannot be discounted.
To a large degree the ball is firmly in the hands of the minor premiers. They need to regroup and find that winning formula which will give them another chance at the omnipotent Eagles.

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