NATIVE TITLE IN CHAOS. Report by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Lhere Artepe, the Alice Springs native title body that holds the key to the town's future, and controls potential residential land worth at least $50m, should be shut down, according to a prominent insider.
He says the group is in disarray, and now unconstitutional because it has failed to hold a proper annual general meeting before October 30.
The release of 70 residential blocks in Larapinta is a year overdue, and serious negotiations about housing land in Mount Johns Valley haven't even started yet despite the continuing critical shortage of building land in Alice Springs.
About 600 potential blocks in Mount Johns Valley, and some 400 further ones in the larapinta area, when developed, would be worth $100m at current prices.
Aborigines would get half of that if the proposed "50-50" split of the land with the NT Government at Larapinta is taken as a guide.
The source says Lhere Artepe should be replaced by three groups, each reflecting the clans which make up the present group.
It was set up by the Federal Court in May 2002 in the wake of the decision by Federal Court Judge Olney in May 2000 that native title coexists on 118 parcels of land in the town.
The insider says with three groups, each of them could make decisions about land over which they have direct responsibility.
As has been the case several times in the past, Lhere Artepe did not respond to a request for comment from the Alice Springs News.
A land care group seeking to make improvements to an area within the municipality has also been equally unsuccessful in making contact with Lhere Artepe and the group's project is stalled.
Lhere Artepe has an office in South Terrace. The Alice News has paid several visits to that office but has never found it occupied.
We have called the phone number on the door a number of times but there has never been an answer.
We have left messages for former Ð and possibly, current Ð Lhere Artepe chairman Brian Stirling at the Central Land Council (CLC) where he works as a field officer.
He has never returned the calls.
We would have liked to ask him about the interest of the CLC in the deal. Although Lhere Artepe is an independent organisation, it appears to have sought extensive assistance from the land council.
The CLC own three fifths of Centrecorp, an Aboriginal investment company that in turn owns the town's largest real estate agency, the L. J. Hooker franchise.
We put thes questions to the CLC direct but it declined to comment.
The NT Government is allocating $1.5m for head works at Larapinta, taking water, sewerage and electricity to the edge of the proposed development. The government is clearly bending over backwards to bring the land plans to fruition.
Minister for Central Australia Peter Toyne said on July 31 last year that negotiations were well advanced for "a substantial release of land" at the western end of Larapinta, likely to be towards the end of 2002 or early 2003.
At the moment, well over a year later, the government is again saying "land will be released early next year", although
¥ only an "in principle agreement" (made in March this year) is in place with Lhere Artepe;
¥ no development lease has yet been issued;
¥ the required Indigenous Land Use Agreement has not yet been signed, in fact the insider hasn't even seen a draft;
¥ the government has given Lhere Artepe the choice of two parcels on which to develop "its" subdivision (see map); Lhere Artepe has not yet made that choice in a formal manner;
¥ the agreement prevents the government from offering for sale its half of the land before Lhere Artepe has put its blocks "out in the market".
As that clause is without time limit it seems if Lhere Artepe never proceeds to development, neither can the government.
THERE'S ONLY ONE LAW, SAYS RETIRING CHIEF JUSTICE. Interview by ERWIN CHLANDA.
There are not two systems of law, white and Aboriginal, says the retiring NT Chief Justice Brian Martin.
"That is a totally wrong perception.
"There is one system of justice and law that applies to everyone.
"But you take each individual person in their circumstances.
"The only difference between Aborigines and other Australians is by statute, such as the land rights act," Martin CJ told the Alice Springs News.
So there is no likelihood of double jeopardy Ð that an offender is punished twice, under white as well as black law?
"No," says the Chief Justice.
"If you are referring to questions of payback, which is a pretty exciting sort of concept, the same applies to everybody.
"If a person commits a crime, and they have already been punished in some way, then that's a matter for the sentencing person to take into account.
"It happens quite often.
"People lose their reputation, they lose their business.
"They suffer all sorts of financial and other personal loss as a result of having committed a crime, nobody likes them any more, their wife walks out.
"These are matters the sentencing judge can take into account, if it is appropriate.
"In deciding an Aboriginal situation we may take into account any physical punishment this person may have already suffered, or whether there is sound evidence that he or she will suffer a form of physical punishment, the same as any other form of loss, punishment or disadvantage that somebody suffered."
In no case can the Aboriginal law supplant the white law?
"Aborigines have said, according to my custom I have to do this, or I was entitled to do that, but the court says, too bad.
"That's not good enough. You have still offended."
Chief Justice Martin came to the Territory in 1963, the population was 5000 and "nothing west of the railway line".
He says: "The great remaining and solid feature about Alice Springs that I admire and love and that bring me back here all the time are the surrounding ranges.
"They're always here.
"And if ever I feel a bit down, let's go for a walk in the hills, go prowling Ôround the Larapinta Trail, out to Glen Helen."
He has no intention of living anywhere but the Territory, as he told a packed Alice Springs courtroom during a special sitting of the Supreme Court, to farewell him from the bench last week.
During his 40 years here he was a private lawyer; prior to full local government, a member of the Town Management Board of Alice Springs and later its Mayor; the Territory's Solicitor General and then Chief Justice.
At last week's sitting a string of barristers paid tribute to Martin CJ for his clear language, his efforts to ensure defendants from a wide background understood the court's work and purpose, and for his thorough knowledge of the region, local conditions and circumstances.
As his former partner Ian Barker QC recalled, administering the law in the early days had its lighter moments.
A man (who later became a prominent local business figure) landed in court for fishing with dynamite in the Finke River near Glen Helen.
The exasperated magistrate asked the offender: "Why did you do this?"
"Well, Your Worship, it was Good Friday," he answered.
In his reply to the tributes, Martin CJ quite often expressed his strong emotional bond with people and the landscape of Central Australia.
He also made it clear that he chose to be sparing in his public statements but said at times he was "sorely pressed" not to refrain from debate.
The CLP government's mandatory sentencing regime was such an occasion.
"Mandatory sentencing, now most people recognise, is not good law," he says.
"Many would support it but many would say it takes away from the sentencing tribunal the discretion to look at the person, and tailor a penalty that fits not only the circumstances of the offence but also the circumstances of the offender.
"It offends most people's sense of justice to have a fixed term regardless of the circumstances.
"And it didn't work. I'm quite satisfied of that.
"I didn't see any lessening in offenders coming before the Supreme Court for property offences before, during and after mandatory sentencing."
Another constant irritant for the judge was poor media reporting.
"For three of four years now, all our sentencing remarks are out on the world wide web, normally on the same day or the day after", easily accessible to members of the public and journalists alike.
"Despite all our endeavours the reporting of sentencing is appalling," says Martin CJ.
"You don't get the full story. That's a problem the press have got.
"You look at our web site and see the number of words. It can take 20 minutes to sentence somebody.
"You look them in the eye and you tell them what it's all about.
"You look at all the circumstances about the offence, all their circumstances, you look at the principles of sentencing which are laid down in an Act of Parliament, and you apply all that to a particular case.
"And people don't know that.
"Years ago the NT News posed the question in an editorial, who do the judges think they are? And where do they get their ideas from?
"I sent them a very detailed article.
"It took three further letters from me, you asked for it, are you going to print it?
"Finally, they did."
Martin CJ says there's much "public clamour" wanting the court to succumb to external influences.
"It won't be done."
Some of the main offenders are the talk back shock jocks.
"People piggyback on each other and on the presenter.
"Each person seeks to outdo the one before, in telling their story, or the rumours they have heard.
"It's really a matter of, ÔI can do better than that'.
"The presenter sets the agenda, the calls come in and they just leapfrog over each other."
If the sentencing guidelines are clear and a judge can take into account only what is put before him, should any public frustration not be directed at the prosecutors, rather than the judges?
"I wouldn't say that. We're well served by prosecuting and defence lawyers.
"They all know what the law is, they know how to present a case so as to achieve the objective they are striving for.
"It's not for the prosecutor to press for lengthy jail sentences or harsher penalties. That's a matter for the court.
"It is the duty of the defence to put anything to the court that might mitigate the penalty.
"Normally the prosecution don't know much about the defendant.
"But then you hear about the person from the defence, how this crime came to be committed, and that might be a history of years and years, leading up to this point.
"People are saying, there are too many lenient sentences.
"There are two answers for that.
"The first is that some of them are lenient.
"If they are so lenient as to cause concern in the eyes of the prosecuting authorities, they can appeal.
"Some sentences plainly are not lenient but only appear to be because only one side of the story has been told.
"It's unfair on the courts.
"It leads to this law and order issue, lenient sentencing, who do they think they are, where are they coming from, they don't live in the real world, has their house ever been broken into.
"All you get is a snippet. All the rest goes unremarked."
Has the role of alcohol become more extreme in crime?
Says Martin CJ: "Alcohol predominates in crimes of violence where people are badly injured or killed.
"It is a real tragedy to see these cases, day after day.
"My guess is that there are more alcohol related crimes than there were years ago.
"But then again, they may have been committed but not detected.
"The police force is more available now.
"A lot of people are committing these crimes in public places now whereas before it might have been in private."
Are gaols a desirable place to be for some offenders, rather than a place of punishment?
"I don't think people would commit a serious crime with a view to transition, as part of their rites of passage.
"But you don't have to commit a serious injury on a person to find yourself in gaol.
"So there are a number of crimes committed, particularly if you do it three or four times, that will find you in gaol, and you come out and say, I've been to the Big House.
"And that may be the end of it.
"I'm sure our forms punishment work in most cases.
"The recidivism rates are not very high.
"A good dose of being deprived of your freedom and subjected to the discipline of the prison system can work.
"Where I think it fails as a general deterrence is when alcohol takes over.
"You're not worried about the fact that when you do this, you're going to go to gaol.
"Passion, abuse, fights, arguments leading to violence, and so forth, deterrence will never work in those situations."
Would a "smart card" for welfare recipients instead of cash, enabling the purchase of essentials but not grog, be a solution?
"When I came to Alice Springs vouchers were handed out which could be cashed in at some stores, no grog.
"That was done away with. It was a human rights, self determination issue, why should Aboriginal folk only be getting vouchers while other people could spend their benefits the way they liked.
"It was seen as paternalistic."
What if it were for all welfare recipients?
"I don't know. People can exchange food for alcohol.
"It's a bit like the three can limit in some of the Aboriginal controlled licensed premises. "Half a dozen blokes who don't drink give their allocation to one bloke who drinks the lot.
"And if they can't get it over the counter they break into the back door, or get it by exchange from their mates.
"I wouldn't rule out the Ôsmart card'.
"It might be worth a try. Noel Pearson this morning was commenting on it.
"I give a great deal of credit to Mr Pearson. His focus is on the kids, and rightly so, just simply getting food and sustenance for the benefit of the kids.
"The card might do that but it's not necessarily going to stop the excessive drinking of alcohol outside the parameters of the card."
An unresolved issue in the Chief Justice's outstanding career in the law and public life remains.
In his early days in private practice Mr Martin first acted in a civil matter involving Alexander Prus-Grzybowski.
Mr Prus lost a small farm and blamed Mr Martin's firm and one of the opposing solicitors, Peter Dean.
Later Mr Prus took a rifle to the Old Courthouse Ð now the Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame Ð in an attempt to kill Mr Dean.
He shot and wounded Barrister Ted Skuse by mistake, and spent time in gaol.
For many years Mr Prus, later decorated by his native Poland as a Resistance hero of Word War II, waged a bitter and public campaign against Martin CJ, accusing him of corruption.
Martin CJ did not take the bait, refusing to initiate defamation proceedings against Mr Prus.
Is there an opportunity for reconciliation?
"I don't think so," says Martin CJ.
"As I understand it he's a very old man, and not very well, and to take it up with him again might be unsettling.
"And it doesn't do me any harm."
CONNECTED WITH ALICE ... AND THE BASE. Art review by KIERAN FINNANE.
The tools of the much-hyped communications and information technology revolution bring people closer together and drive them further apart.
They are the platforms of intimacy and inhumanity of a grand order.
Merilyn Fairskye's work "Connected", showing for the whole of this month at Araluen, manages to bring focus succinctly and poetically to these vast propositions.
The first part of the work was underway before Fairskye took up the Alice Springs artist's residency she won as part of the Alice Prize in 2001.
It shows life-size photographs of the backs of men and women in the financial districts of London and Sydney. All of them are talking into mobile phones, communicating with an invisible other.
The images strike a subtly ambivalent note: they suggest vulnerability of the subjects, caught unawares in this moment of possible intimacy, but at the same time, the power of affluence (their well-cut coats and jackets) and of influence over the lives of others (their assumed business activities).
In a business setting and in lesser number they could be suave corporate images. Their presence as a set of nine and at this scale, which lends them a character as representative of Western values, has, at this time and in combination with the second part of the work, an unsettling, confronting edge.
For me this edge was sharpened by the duality of the images: they are printed on transparencies which hang out from the wall, moving with the air currents, and casting a shadow image. In the low light of the gallery the effect is at once beautiful and rather ominous.
Fairskye originally thought she might find an Alice Springs centre of finance but when nothing likely showed its face, she turned her thoughts to the presence of the Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap.
The work at Araluen is in the form of a three-channel video installation. (It was previously shown in Sydney as a single-channel DVD installation.) The screens are arranged so that you watch mainly the central screen, which also carries the soundtrack.
The visual material on the other screens is perceived as of the same nature but out of sync, perhaps at rough cut stage. I think it would take a lot of viewing to pick up the fact that the left-hand screen is anticipating the sequence of the central screen, while the right-hand screen is disassembling it, as Fairskye explained.
PERVASIVENESSFor me the effect was to heighten the sense of pervasiveness, which suited Fairskye's themes.
The soundtrack is turned over to a wide range of stories more or less directly about Pine Gap, told by locals. Not each voice is as clear as the next but enough can be readily heard to grasp that there is no single point being driven home; there is a spectrum of views from critical and concerned to accepting, even positive. The voices are mixed with ambient sounds as well as sounds from satellites. The effect is partly musical, partly documentary, and partly metaphoric, I think, for the "surround sound" of world-wide communications that are being intercepted at all times by the facility at Pine Gap.
The images are arranged in nine movements Ð the musical allusion is fitting. They include a sequence filmed on top of Anzac Hill at a particularly crowded sunset viewing time; a sequence filmed at the Hatt Road-Stuart Highway turn-off as Pine Gap workers, in four-wheel drives and a string of busses, return to town; and, a sequence of the arrival and unloading of the huge, dark grey American military plane, the Starlifter.
These, particularly in the way they are foreshadowed and repeated on the side screens, combine to convey a sense of relentless invasiveness.
They come partly in contrast Ð but ambiguously so, since the images arise from a sort of spying (Fairskye's camera) or an outright spying (NASA's satellite) Ð to aerial landscape sequences of lyrical beauty, where Fairskye reveals her painter's eye. This is the ground, reaching into space, on which Pine Gap's "invasion" is enacted.
A sequence in sideshow alley at the Alice Springs Show neatly conveys the multi-cultural community which hosts the spy facility. It is lent great poignancy by reversing the direction, so that everyone is moving backwards: it's as though we can undo our history, which Ð lamentably in so many respects Ð we can't.
Even the sequence that shows the landscape immediately around Pine Gap with voice-over by a traditional owner Ð who reveals that he has ready access to land within the perimeters of the facility at any time, so that he can visit his sacred sites Ð is confronting.
It is moving when he declares himself "sovereign" of the place, but there is pathos in the vulnerability and co-option of his position. There is powerful metaphor at work too, for Australian sovereignty as a whole.
"Connected" is a work of many layers, thoughtful, provocative, subtly and beautifully woven together. Once again, Fairskye , following on from her Alice Prize win with "Eye Contact", has produced a work in new media for our time. She sets a high bar for contemporary art practice.
"OLD MURRAY MOB SHOT THE WRONG MAN". Part Nine of a Feature by DICK KIMBER.
'Real true history': Coniston Massacre
According to the evidence presented to the enquiry, the women and children, and rare old men, who were allowed to go free, behaved as the patrol members instructed them to. Police Paddy tells how Constable Murray "told a black boy [an old man] and two gins to sit down there [at a soakage] and by and by go bush" just after two men had been shot; and how he told six other women, "Don't be frightened", immediately before three men were severely wounded in shooting.
Then, after he and Alex Wilson rounded up the surviving group of unarmed men, women and children, he "made them walk straight" to the police camp where he "did not know what became of them". Apparently realising the instant he said this that the enquiry members would have difficulty in believing this, he added, "I did not hear any shots fired".
(The unusually large numbers of occasions when momentary blindness, momentary deafness and permanent amnesia afflicted the patrol members is quite astounding.)
There is little evidence presented to the enquiry of anyone attempting to escape, and no sense of the women and children being upset at the deaths of husbands, fathers and, at least in one instance, wives and mothers. Blind Freddy would know that it was all a little bit different.
A brief account of what transpired is now given, but four points need to be made first.
Since the 1970s there has been a tendency for both Warlpiri and Anmatyerre people to equate Jack Cusack, Alex Wilson's long-term "best mate" (as Alex always referred to him), with Jack Saxby. Jack Saxby (actual name John, but universally known as Jack) was a member of at least one of the police patrols of August-September, 1928. Jack Cusack was not.
Secondly, there are very few people left who are old enough to know at first hand anything which transpired. They sometimes give variant and conflicting accounts, even if certain limited details are constant. The focus has increasingly come to be on Fred Brooks and Bullfrog, and George Murray and Alex Wilson, whereas in the early 1970s all members of the first patrol were likely to be mentioned. (The wider Australian society does the same. Who of us can name every member of Central Australian explorer Stuart's different exploration parties?)
Thirdly, although most very old people and their descendants have lived in and about the country traversed by their ancestors and the patrol, their knowledge is often of a similar nature to that of the wider Australian population who only have a handed-on oral history of their ancestors' participation in World War I.
However much their knowledge adds to the overall picture, errors of fact and perception occur, just as I am sure that there will be people who can point out errors (hopefully minor) in my account, no matter how much I have attempted to give a "real true history".
And fourthly, some of the old Aborigines, as my late old friend Pastor Tom Fleming pointed out, "love the big numbers", such as occur in the Bible. (The jawbone of the ass that Sampson used to slay his enemies must have been mighty strong, and their thousands of heads mighty soft).
In one memorable case an old Aboriginal friend who told me aspects of the Coniston story also told me of an unrelated "big corroboree" at which a "thousand million men" participated. We all have a tendency to exaggerate!
Turning now to some of the experiences and responses of the Anmatyerre and Warlpiri to the patrol's activities, the four universals that I was told in the 1970s were that survivors fled, terrified, from the scenes of the shootings; that increasingly as the word spread about the killings people fled to places they hoped would be safe; that there was much wailing and mourning; and that there has always been a concern that, since the spirits of the deceased people could rarely be put to rest in traditional fashion, they at times cause descendants anxiety, or cause them to act in ways that are not in accord with traditional law.
Individual accounts, such as that of George Morton which commenced this series of articles, are now rare, and I do not know of anyone who, in 2003, can show the scar of a bullet-wound. Some people, though, can tell of an incident.
Michael Japananga, an Anmatyerre man, and his friends, kindly walked about the Brooks' Soak Moon Dreaming area with me. We discussed the probability of a few old gnarled red-gums having been young trees when Fred Brooks, Bullfrog Japanangka and others were camping near the soak in 1928.
We marvelled at the neat timber-work at the old well. We wondered whether Bullfrog had perhaps extracted "sugarbag" (native bees' honey) from an old axe-cut tree I found. We reflected on the use of old mill-stones for both preparation of ceremonial paint and seed-grinding.
And Michael pointed out a mount to the west, Mount Treachery, where his grandfather had been shot by "old Murray mob." It had been a long time ago, and he knew no other details. The patrol had, however, "shot the wrong man".
This led to an animated discussion about Bullfrog. He had hidden in a small cave a little further west from where Michael's grandfather had been shot. Everyone knew some element of that story. Rosie Nungurrayi, speaking with Petronella Vaarzon Morel (Warlpiri Women's Voices, 1995), explained that after Bullfrog had killed Fred Brooks:-
"[The] old man ran up to the hills to hide. My grandfather was living in the hills, in a cave. That's what saved his life while the police were out looking for him. He stayed in the hills. They didn't find him because he was sitting in the cave."
Old Jack Ross explained that the "whole lot" of Bullfrog's family had fled with him. His wives survived, as did his little dog. Jeannie Herbert Nungurrayi and Teresa Ross Napurrula showed Central Land Council people where this little cave was. Here he had pulled a spinifex tussock to the cave entrance, and sung a powerful magic song.
Michael Japanangka and his friends told me how this song made Constable Murray and other patrol members blind whenever they looked at Bullfrog, but left all else visible.
Bullfrog had listened to the cave wall, and could hear the patrol members talking about him as they stood on the rocks above the cave. George Murray, Alex Wilson and Jack [Cusack] Saxby could not see him. They could not find him. And so Bullfrog and his family had survived.
After the killing of the Anmatyerre women as well as the men at the first major encounter, some people fled east. In but a few days they travelled 150 kilometres east to Harding's Spring. There the missionary Annie Lock, like Paddy Tucker and Alex Wilson when they learnt of Fred Brooks' murder, had been apprehensive about the likely outcome of the police patrol. She was too pious to have put it in Alex's words, that there would be "hell to pay", but she would have well understood what he meant. The Anmatyerre who arrived at her camp confirmed her worst fears:-
"[One] night, dark figures crept out of the bush shadows towards the missionary's tent, and some lubras stood before her, their eyes staring with horror and grief. ÔWhere are our girls?' they demanded in a hoarse whisper. There were four native girls asleep in the tent, and the missionary assured the lubras that they were all secure.
ÔWhat is the matter?' she asked.
And then, the night air was rent by shrieks of awful grief, as these women and others following them gave vent to their anguish of soul.
ÔBig mob men, women, children shot,' was all they could say, as they ran off to the creek where the other natives were camped.
Miss Lock followed, in time to hear them telling an old lubra that her two boys had been shot, with a Ôbig mob' of others. The mother jumped to her feet in frenzy, with a blood-curdling shriek. She seized a waddy and would have cut open her head with it had they not prevented her.
The whole camp wailed with her. The missionary tried to comfort them, even carrying food to them to divert their thoughts from their woe, but they went farther down the creek and wailed all through the night, cutting themselves with sharp stones and burning off their hair with fire sticks."
A "big mob" suggests more than the five admitted to the enquiry. And what of the children? There was the young woman who had been shot by Randal Stafford.
Perhaps she was a child.
And did the murderous one kill a child before, at a later time, another patrol member lifted the barrel of his rifle, thereby saving George Morton?
Bryan Bowman believed that Police Paddy was capable of anything. If murder of a child did occur, it was against Constable Murray's instructions, and he must have emphatically reiterated that it must not occur again.
However, it would also have been an incident about which the members of the later enquiry need not know. Must not know!
Far to the west, beyond where the patrol turned back, Jack Ross Tjakamarra, then about 12 years old, first learnt of the tragedies when he and his family, while camped at a water near Pirdi-Pirdi (near Mount Davidson), saw a woman approaching. As "Making Peace With The Past" (CLC, 2003) records of Old Jack's memory, she was painting herself white as a sign of mourning:-
"She came with a fire. Napaltjarri came with a fire. She was painting herself white in sorrow and putting white ashes all over her body. She was crying. I asked her, ÔWhy are you crying?' Well she struck me again and then she said in handsign, I have no son.
All the grandfathers (Jupurrurlas) didn't know what was going on. They didn't know."
The Napaltjarri woman struck Jack, I understand, because as with everyone else in the camp, he was not outwardly showing signs of mourning.
She used handsign because she could not speak the names of the dead. "I have no son" tells of the shooting of her own son who, as a result of her marriage to a man of Jack's Jakamarra sub-section, was of the Jupurrurla sub-section, the same as Jack's father and father's brother ("the grandfathers") who were in the family camp near Pirdi-Pirdi. In the same booklet Jack also recounts to Teresa Ross Napurrula another story of survival by the magical means used by a man of his brother-in-law's sub-section.
"At Pilykirrpala, the white man came upon Yinirrpi's father (Japaljarri). He had one boomerang with him. They shot him, they shot him, they shot him. He was singing a spell on them and with that he was waving one boomerang. They were shooting until they ran out of bullets but none of the bullets could hit him."
In such magic the boomerang is held in the middle section, and the magical "waving" action is sharply side-to-side: it is a parrying-deflecting action.
The flight west continued for some. Michael Terry noted, when in the vicinity of Mounts Marjorie and Patricia:
"[The] country was extraordinarily quiet, apparently deserted. This, however, was a false impression, for those involved in the trouble on the Lander had fled away to the west: their tracks had been seen heading straight for this no man's land. No doubt after the recent scare they were lying low without tell-tale smokes to betray. And it would have been foolish to imagine we had not been seen or heard; more than likely Jacky had jumped to the conclusion ours was a police party and therefore to be avoided."
Just as Jack Ross had heard of the tragedies while in his home country, so others similarly heard of the shootings as the news continued to spread like wildfire. Most people had fallen back to their own last great waters, so that the news-carriers knew where to find the people, even if the patrol didn't.
Harry Nelson's grandfather Minyina Jakamarra and his brothers, and Minyina's son later known as Hitler Jupurrula, heard of them out at Inter-Amoru Rock-hole, far to the north-west. The present-day Marshall family's grandparents learnt of the killings while at Pikilyi Spring, also to the north-west.
Jimmy Jungurrayi and his parents heard of shootings while at Mission Creek, to the west, and returned south-west to their haven at Yaripilong. Dinny Japaltjarri was hunting almost due south with his father, between present-day Yuendumu and Yuelamu (Mount Allan), when they heard the news.
Nearly always it was about a "big mob". Often it involved some kinfolk.
And again the news came to Annie Lock, four days of hard "foot-walk" travel to the east:-
"Further details of the tragedy came to her ears, as other natives came in with the story of one surprise visit after another to native camps by the police, each time resulting in the shooting and killing of natives. Some said there were eighty killed, others made the number less. At the official enquiry, some months later, the number given was seventeen, but seventy was the number generally believed in the bush."
NEXT: Attacks on Henry Tilmouth, Nugget Morton and a second police patrol.
Anti social behaviour, Pommy style. COLUMN by STEVE FISHER.
The real trouble with anti-social behaviour is not the behaviour.
It is the lack of understanding of what anti-social behaviour is. There might be a thin line between love and hate. But there's an even thinner one between anti-social behaviour and people doing whatever they do in their own culture.
In Alice Springs, lots of people complain about anti-social behaviour. It's a big subject and becoming bigger. But without defining what the term means, anti-social is just a wide umbrella under which every single piece of unconventional conduct, appearance or language is grouped.
Sitting on the ground, not saying thank you, talking loudly and all manner of behaviour is labelled in the same way. Before you can say boo to a goose (politely), we enter dangerous ground where relatively harmless differences between people become a cause for complaint and division.
A book about anti-social behaviour has just been published called "Neighbours from Hell: The Politics of Behaviour" by Frank Field. It may sound like an obtuse research project in a regional concrete university, but the origins of the book are more worthy and practical. It was written by a British MP disturbed by the plight of many of his Liverpool constituents whose lives had become a misery due to the behaviour of a few rogue families. Like the police, he felt powerless to do anything about it.
This experience led Frank Field not only to agonise publicly in a book, but also to shed light on the subject in a way that could be useful to folk in multi-cultural towns like ours. According to Field, anti-social behaviour is a menacing mix of small crimes and misdemeanours, often repeated and rarely reported.
It doesn't figure in official crime statistics because usually it does not warrant police action. It is annoying and sometimes threatening. It includes graffiti, abusive language, excessive noise, litter, drunken behaviour in the streets and abandoned cars. Most relevant to the Alice, it leads to a phenomenon where many people believe that crime is increasing but official statistics say the opposite.
So being clear about what constitutes anti-social-behaviour and what does not, is a good start to achieving some sensible discussion of the subject. For example, whenever I visit a place where the mainstream culture is not mine, I commit cultural mistakes without even knowing it. Only when someone pointed out that the sole of my shoe should not be pointed at people in the Indian Sub-continent because it is considered a dirty part of the body, did I realise that I had been doing the Western cultural equivalent of picking my nose in public. And for weeks on end. Try crossing your legs and not pointing your foot at someone.
In the Territory, I can only guess at my misdemeanours in Aboriginal communities, but this is all part of the assault course of living in a place with more than one significant culture. Tolerant people understand your mistakes because they can tell when you are really being anti-social. Then they let you know.Frank Field's thoughts about the root causes of anti-social behaviour also make for interesting reading. Basic respect for others is being eroded, he reckons. In many families, parents no longer teach their children to behave decently.
The riverbank within which society flows needs to be repaired through a balance between respecting people's rights and reinforcing their responsibilities.
This all sounds familiar, whether in Liverpool, Alice Springs or a multitude of other places in between.
Without a doubt, pointing your foot at someone is a cultural error. Begging is a sad sight. Shouting at a family member or into a mobile phone on a bus is a shame. But none of these are anti-social.
Throwing rocks, swearing at passers-by or making lewd suggestions to pedestrians out of car windows certainly are. We should draw a distinction.
Woolly issues. COLUMN by ANN CLOKE.
It's been a bit tough out there lately Ð especially for Kiwis (although I've had that prized Oz /Kiwi dual citizenship status for some 20 plus years).
Headlines screaming about 50,000 plus sheep floating around the Persian Gulf on the Cormo Express.
Out at Madigan's Restaurant a fortnight or so ago, as the sun sank slowly into a western sky, friend Andy asked if I'd heard that the Cormo Express, together with cargo, was being redirected to New Zealand?
No, I admitted, really?
Wondering É trying to pre-empt the reply É I hadn't caught the latest news ÉYes, he chuckled, and they've renamed the ship "The Love-Boat" É Laughs all roundÉ
I haven't owned up at all to being a Kiwi latelyÉ As it was, the Cormo Express unloaded her cargo at Eritrea. Why we didn't offer to give the sheep to any drought-stricken third world country weeks ago is beyond meÉ and why, when the decision is finally reached, we decide to toss in a million dollars plus tonnes of fodder, is beyond comprehension .
But it's done and dusted as they say Ð and we don't now have the nasty predicament of those sheep, supposedly contaminated, stuck in confined quarters at sea, refused entry at every port.
MF (Max) Horton, of Alice Springs, prominent solicitor and man of many letters, had another brilliant first byte published in the Oz (27/10/03): "The tale's end: the sheep have been docked, our Treasury has been fleeced, and Eritrea is the beneficiary of a great deal of chop and change."
As that chapter of the saga ends, and investigations into why Saudi Arabia refused the shipment will begin.
I was looking for a knitting pattern for Mum mid year when she and Dad were visiting and I came across a July 1993 copy of the Australian Women's Weekly. The front cover's caption, "Knit and save our farmers" was to do with the then stockpile of almost four million bales of wool in farmers' sheds and storage depots. The article urged, "Get knitting, Australia, and save our wool industry!"
The price of wool never dropped to an all-time low, neither did that leg of lamb: there's no doubt, knitting is back in vogue whatever the wool price, and we all enjoy roast lamb every so often. I was pleased that Mum, an avid knitter, was here to view the visual display of creativity at the Beanie Festival this year. Mum's created, over the years, hundreds of textured garments for the family, Dad, me, my younger sis, Lynn, our brothers, Brent, Norman and Alan and now she knits for the grandchildren.
Casting on, knitting, purling, designing, cabling, crossing and twisting stitches to make glorious wearable works of art out of different materials, wool, new and recycled, natural, acrylic, mohair, angora, boucle, feather, twine, string, plastic.
I tried to pass the knitting knowledge along to my nieces, and lately, to David's grandchildren, but I have nowhere near the patience Mum had when she taught me to master those needles. I was exceptionally clumsy but she persevered: I graduated from hot water bottle covers (much needed in New Zealand!) and tea cosies to dolls' clothes, soft toys (stuffed with Mum's old stockings and other silky bits), scarves and finally, one day, I managed to produce, without any carefully sewed in dropped stitches, a piece I was proud to own.I grew up in New Zealand and, contrary to public opinion, we weren't totally surrounded by sheep, although I didn't have to walk too far along the railway line to get that sense of country. Farmland abutted our suburb: barbed wire fencing, with the odd tuft of snagged oily wool kept hundreds of ewes, with one or two lonesome rams, captive.
I recall walking to school wearing a bright blue "pixie" hat, another of Mum's creations, secured around my chin by plaited knitted straps: I hated it with a passion, even though it kept my head warm Ð friends had store bought headgear. Today "home-made" or hand-knitted, is synonymous with personalised, almost designer.
Knitting doesn't quite fit my "image", but recently I've noticed that people everywhere are talking knitting so it's definitely back in vogue. In fact, the act/art of knitting is being called the new yoga! Uni students take their work in progress to lectures, coffee bars and hotels, and there are organised knitting circles where friends meet to create and share ideas. David says I'm a much calmer person when I knit Ð the clicking of the needles used to drive him to distraction, but wearing of state of the art ear muffs means he's now never sure whether I'm knitting or notÉ
Mum and I shared moments here, knitting up a storm Ð combining ideas to create textured head warmers (pixie hats perhaps?) for the next Alice Springs Beanie Festival. One year I brought back from New Zealand tea towels: "There are 20 million sheep in New Zealand, and three million think they're human." (Haha.) I hope the numbers have been up-dated because there are now four million Kiwis trans-Tasman and countless sheep. Here, in Oz, the population has just hit 20 million and we also have numerous sheep, less 50,000, give or take a few.
It's time to focus again on supporting our farmers by buying Australian products. We need to Ð anything to help off-set the huge stuff-up of the Cormo Express debacle, purported to be costing the Federal Government (therefore, us, the tax payers!) some $10m - A sheepish situation indeed!
FEDERAL ON TOP OF THE WOZZER. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
Federal cricketers continued their unbeaten run in the new season by accounting for Rovers with a first innings win at Albrecht Oval on Saturday.
Setting the Blues 257 for victory, the Feds boys saw their opposition capitulate for a mere 169.At Traeger Park it was a different story, with RSL set 171 to win and going on to defeat West in the 76th over, scoring 8 /226.The Albrecht game was seen as the one to watch, as 257 didn't seem to be an insurmountable target for Rovers who can bat right down the order.
Matt Pyle and Justin Dowson did the right thing as openers with a partnership of 80.
Pyle amassed 46 before being bowled by Jarrad Wapper, and Dowson when on 32 fell caught Curtis Marriott, bowled Alan Rowe.
The good start was short lived, however, as three wickets had fallen by the time Rovers reached 81, with Greg Dowell being caught by Chris Clements off Rowe for three and Adrian McAdam going caught for a duck.
Peter Kleinig failed to get a start when he was also caught, this time by Jason Swain off Wapper when seven.
With 100 having not been registered on the board and six wickets down, Rovers had a life line when Nick Clapp put his head down and batted through the remainder of the innings, remaining not out on 43 at the end of play.
Brett Trindle offered some support with a knock of 21 before being caught by Swain off the bowling of Michael Smith. Otherwise the tail failed to wag for the Blues, and so they met their end when on 169.
The best of the bowlers for Federal was Smith who captured 4/52 off 11.5 overs.
Alan Rowe made his presence felt with 3/26 off 12 overs, and Jarrad Wapper tweaked away to snare a similar result, but over 17 overs.
RSL were considered odds on favourites to win the game at Traeger Park with only 160 needed at the start of play against West on Saturday.
Rod Dunbar was soon sent back to the pavilion when Ryan Thomson clean bowled him.
Later fellow opener Graham Schmidt was run out when on 20, and a tinge of nervousness hit the Razzle camp. Young Tom Scollay soon put the camp back in order, however, as he batted well to compile 55 before being caught off the bowling of Shane Trenbath.
Skipper Jeff Whitmore made 11 before falling to Trenbath, and Scott Robertson went cheaply for seven.
Luke Southam struck an element of form in holding up his end and producing 26, and Cameron Robertson registered his highest A Grade score with a fine 35.
Wayne Eglington remained at the crease not out 31 when RSL called it a day on a winning 8/226. The spoils were shared evenly in the bowling department with Trenbath returning the best figures of 2/48 off 13 overs.
EAGLES CANNOT BE WRITTEN OFF. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
It may seem as though they have gone back to their Misfits' days (being beaten yet by participating ensuring a four club CARU competition) but the Eagles cannot be written off.
The Rugby Union Cinderella side found the going tough for years prior to their rags to riches rise to glory, as premiers in 2001 and 2002. They know both ends of the ladder more than any other Centralian club.In the opening two rounds of the CARU competition this year old memories of the Misfits must have come flooding back to stalwarts like Russell Ward and John Cooper, who at 60years plus are still prepared to pull on a guernsey.
On Saturday it was Ward's turn to play as his beloved club could only muster the bare 15 to run on to the paddock. Early in the piece the Eagles lost the services of "Sugar" Ray Burns and so had to mount the charge against the Warriors undermanned. In spite of this they ran in a try, per Martin Forrest, and scored a total of 11 points to the Warriors' three tries and 24 points.For the Warriors it must have felt like the halcyon days when legends Dave Patterson and Ken Napier returned to the fold and more so, with game winning tries coming from Patterson, Henry Labastida and Damien Timms.
In the second game the Cubs also recorded a three tries to one victory when they scored 18 points to eight over the Devils.
Unlike a week ago the Devils were bolstered by the return of players and they ran on with the comfort of knowing that there were reserves warming the bench. Damien Birch scored for the Devils, while Ray Walters, Aaaron Harre and Peter Knight were Cubs' try scorers.What is needed at Anzac Oval, however, is support for the Eagles. They are nowhere near the side of a year ago, with only five of last year's grand finalists running on this season.
For the sake of the competition it is imperative that they receive support and not just in terms of players. Water needs to be carried, strapping to be done, and administrative duties performed. Anyone who can come to the aid of the party should think about lending a hand.
This week the Eagles face the Devils. For the Federal boys it is a great chance to break the ice and put premiership points on the table. But with Eagles struggling the most essential ingredient is that the game is played and enjoyed by all.In the other fixture Cubs and Warriors will meet in what should be a real showdown. Warriors and Cubs are undefeated to date, but the Warriors will run on as favourites, sporting a fifteen brimming with talent.
DEAD HEAT AND UPHELD PROTEST. Report by PAUL FITZSIMONS.
The first race at Pioneer Park on Saturday resulted in a dead heat, showing springtime racing at its best.
In the Royal Flying Doctor Class Two Handicap over 1600 metres, Crown Pacific and Bright Vision shared the first prize money after the judge could not separate the pair in analysing the photo finish.
Crown Pacific took advantage of gate three and made every post a winner early, while Bright Vision's hoop Timmy Norton kept the Vivian Oldfield trained leader honest by sitting at his girth in the running. From 400 metres out both gallopers went for it, with the charge down the straight providing a spectacle. Bright Vision appeared to be a nose in front at about the 50 metre mark, but Crown Pacific refused to surrender. They ran the race in 1.35.24 which at any time is good running. Unfortunately the rest of the field could run the race out. Ollettie had run well back in the field and pushed up to take third money but was four and a half lengths behind the winners on the line.The EJ Connellan 1400 metre Class Four Handicap dealt a further surprise when Strategic Feeling saluted. The Nev Connor trained galloper had not impressed in recent runs but settled well behind the leaders on Saturday and charged for home from the 600 metre mark. Sunday Drive led the field from the jump, but when Ben Cornell called for action on Strategic Feeling, the five year old gelding swept to the lead with ease and went to the line a six and a half length winner. Sunday Drive held on for second money and La Mexa made up ground late in proceedings to fill the minors.Glamour performer Tonnes of Style was backed into odds on favouritism in the 1000 metre Pilatus Class B handicap, and ran accordingly. The four year old mare proved her versatility by winning from behind, whereas in her debut win she raced from the front. Tonnes of Style won by two and a quarter lengths with first start three year old, Litigious taking second place.
Litigious ran in the mid field early and showed plenty of heart to thread through the field in the run home and secure second place by a long head. Monkey Boy filled the minors after running on the pace most of the way.Further intrigue reigned at the Park when in the last, the 1200 metre 75th Anniversary Class One Handicap, an upheld protest gave Believe in Victory the money.
In the running Believe in Victory enjoyed a comfortable run until the straight. Big Bad Jum on the other hand made his run from 600 metres out, and in careering down the straight proved his inexperience. The giant of a horse, over 17 hands, engaged in a bumping duel with Believe in Victory late in the race and secured a half head win as they crossed the line.
Upon return to scale, however, connections of Believe in Victory filed a protest and the stewards duly awarded the race to the Catriona Green trained four year old.
Spin Dusty took third spot but was three lengths off the pace at the finish. Race favourite My Woodie followed in fourth place.
TIME WITH HER CHARACTERS. FILM REVIEW by KIERAN FINNANE.
Strong performances and fine direction of them characterise Danielle Maclean's film "Queen of Hearts", which, together with Steven McGregor's "Cold Turkey" (reviewed last week) screened at Araluen as part of the "50 Minutes from Home" festival and will show this Friday night on SBS TV.
Kirsty McDonald as the child Penny and Lillian Crombie as her Nana are perfect.
Lisa Flanagan is also fine as Penny's mother, Nana's daughter.
Maclean's film fills its 50 minutes and this is not because of a more complex narrative than that of "Cold Turkey".
It's because she takes the time to spend with her characters before getting to "the main event", so that we know something about them and care a lot.
Crombie is a very charismatic actor so it doesn't take all that much to establish her as a beloved, expansive grandmother, endlessly giving and loyal. This portrait could tip into the sentimental but it doesn't; Maclean keeps her character very real. Nana isn't beyond calling her poor grandson, Steven (another touching performance by Rhimi Johnson Page), "a little shit", but you know he knows she loves him.
Steven lives with Nana because his no good father (a cameo role by Aaron Pederson, with exactly the right touch of clueless irresponsibility) is in gaol. Penny is visiting with her family and is in a jealous standoff with Steven.
Heading into puberty, she is very well observed, hovering on the edge of the adult world, trying to understand, to assert herself, to influence things that are beyond anyone's influence.
The film is rich in meaningful small touches Ð the way children play, squabble, eat, dress, the way they relate to adults and adults to them and the way that adults think they can be invisible to children and the way children likewise think that adults can't understand what they are thinking or feeling.
The Alice Springs Maclean films is a nicer town than McGregor's hard-bitten Alice and that's reasonable, everyone's town is a little different. But Maclean softens the edges a bit too much at times, such as with the suggestion that there is a fabulous big swimming hole just down the road from Nana's housing commission home.
The script is just a little clunky too in an important scene between Nana and Penny, when they talk openly about Nana's impending death. But it would be very challenging not to fall into clichŽ in such a scene.
These are small criticisms of a fine family portrait, made even more interesting because the family is Aboriginal and to date not often represented on the screen in this warm, intimate vein.
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