ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
November 26, 2009. This page contains all
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
buyers ‘kept in dark’. REPORT by ERWIN CHLANDA.
Buyers of land in the Ridges Estate residential subdivision in Albrecht
Drive say they were kept in the dark by the developer, Gordon Bell, and
the real estate agent, Framptons, about the use of some of the land for
The sellers produced two documents entitled “Terms and Conditions of
On page six of Version One, which was lodged with the Lands Titles
Office, it is stated that further subdivision is “prohibited” except
for blocks of more than 1200 square metres.
Version Two, which was given to potential buyers, stated that further
subdivision of all blocks is “prohibited”, so none can be used for
Both versions state on page 14: “No more than one dwelling shall be
erected on the land, where the land area is less than 1200 metres ...”
This, of course, is in conflict with the prohibition of further
subdivision signalled in Version Two.
The Alice News was told by three buyers of blocks, cabinet maker Paolo
Morelli, manufacturer of housing components Judy Barker, as well as
Lynne and Andrew O’Bree, that they had been given Version Two of the
Once they had noted, on page 6, that there would be no medium-rise
multiple dwellings – units – permitted on the residential land, they
saw no reason to explore that question any further.
As it turns out, Mr Bell had kept two blocks, 1290 and 1260 square
Ms Barker says it is clear that Mr Bell had always intended to use
these blocks for multiple dwellings because the services (power, water
and sewerage) had been provided accordingly.
Yet at no time did Mr Bell inform the buyers of his intention, and
neither did Framptons.
On the plan from which the buyers purchased their blocks, the two
allotments were simply marked as “not available”.
By contrast, blocks sold recently in Mt Johns Valley “off the plan”
were clearly marked as single dwelling residential (“SD”) or as “MD” –
multiple dwelling residential, that is, units.
The developer’s intentions at Ridges Estate came to light when Ms
Barker noted an application from Mr Bell for an amendment to the
Planning Scheme so he can build, on each of the blocks, four two-storey
At that time all the single dwelling blocks had already been sold and
construction work had started on some.
Mr Morelli, Ms Barker and the O’Brees told the News that part of their
decision to buy in Ridges Estate was to get away from medium density
“This is not the place for units,” says Ms Barker.
Mr Morelli says if the developer intended to include units “he must
tell everybody buying blocks there.
“People can then decide whether or not to buy.”
The O’Brees say: “At no stage were we informed of any potential units
anywhere except the big block across the road.”
(That block is apparently set aside for seniors’ housing.)
When Ms Barker confronted Mr Bell and Framptons last week she says she
was told that the lawyers “had tidied up the typing” so as to include
the 1200 square metre provision on page six.
The fact that this wording was contained in the earlier Version One
raises questions about Frampton’s claims of tidying up the typing.
When Framptons employee Justin O’Brien emailed Ms Barker a copy of the
covenants it again contained the Version Two reference to further
That email was sent on November 16, three months after Mr Bell’s
application for the rezoning to allow units.
Neither Mr Bell nor Framptons responded to an invitation to comment on
politicians haunted by 2007 booing avoid protesters. By KIERAN
Organisers expressed satisfaction with the numbers – roughly 180 – but
the anti-uranium rally outside the opening of the Alice sittings of the
Legislative Assembly paled in comparison to the angry rally by mainly
business people that greeted the sittings here in 2007.
On that occasion then Chief Minister Clare Martin was subjected
to sustained booing and heckling while she spoke to the crowd of
several hundred protesting over law and order issues.
On Tuesday, no member of the government fronted the crowd (speaker Jane
Aagard emerged only to greet Deputy to the Administrator Pat Miller).
Organisers, representing the Arid Lands Environment Centre and Families
for a Nuclear Free Future (FANFF), were on standby for a half hour
meeting with resources Minister Kon Vatskalis.
The face of FANFF, Isabelle Kirkbride, expressed her delight that
former administrator Ted Egan and partner Nerys Evans approached her to
openly express their support for the rally’s cause.
The only member of the Legislative Assembly to engage with protesters
was Country Liberals’ Dave Tollner who had a friendly conversation for
several minutes, attempting to convince those he was talking to of the
safety of the uranium mining industry but also listening to what they
had to say.
There were other issues being protested at Tuesday’s rally: while the
Town Band kept the rally pleasantly entertained (no doubt not the
audience for whom they were hired), there was a flyer circulated about
their rehearsal space, the purpose-built music facility at Alice
Springs High School, being allocated to the Clontarf Football Academy.
There was also a banner calling for “No hi rise” in reference to the
exceptional development permit being sought for a five-storey complex
on the old Melanka’s site.
The issue of flood mitigation dam “being back on the agenda” was also
raised with the Alice News by a group of Aboriginal women.
Had they heard politicians making statements about a dam?
“Mr Giles has,” said one, referring to Adam Giles’ recent comment in
these pages (October 29).
These women had previously voted Labor but were adamant that they would
not do so next time around, because of the uranium issue as well as
GREEN, NOT LABOR
Most protesters the News spoke to were Green rather than Labor voters,
though some stipulated they would preference Labor.
Some who had been Labor voters said they would have to seriously
reconsider, while others said they would not vote Labor next time,
expressing great disappointment in Labor’s performance in government.
Whatever their political persuasion, a common theme for the protesters
was wanting community well-being to be at the forefront of
government decisions, rather than simple economics.
This was the view even of a baked-on Labor voter fervently opposed to
uranium mining: “The tradition of the ALP is to support the people, so
I live in hope.”
‘I was really
frightened. I should not be at my age.’ By ERWIN CHLANDA.
Aged people in rural areas are:-
• happy and resilient,
• supported by strong community networks and are less likely to be
surrounded by family,
• feel safe, and
• rate their quality of life quite highly.
That’s what La Trobe University has found in a national survey released
Life in at least one part of Alice Springs couldn’t be further from
that rosy picture.
Viv – she asked us not to disclose her real name for fear of
retribution – is 71 years old.
A few days ago she rang the police, shaking so violently she could
A man had appeared at the door of her Territory Housing flat in
Larapinta, punched through the flywire, demanding money.
She screamed at him at the top of her voice.
“I was really frightened,” says Viv. “I should not be at my age.”
Luckily the security mesh door, installed at her own cost, held firm.
The man then went to the flat next door, also occupied by an elderly
lady, smashed windows and the door and “trashed the flat”.
Viv says she is in fear of her life most days.
She says police and security personnel respond to calls but no sooner
is one disturbance dealt with, than another one starts.
There are drinkers in surrounding units and public housing, some
declared as dry, bush visitors camping in the yards of units, and a
gang of five teenage girls making life hell for the generally elderly
Viv has behind her an excellent career in the service of the community
and is still helping elderly people with their medicines, organising
for them meals on wheels and doing such things as arranging legal aid
for a pensioner facing a demand of $2500 from someone whose car he had
And she does casual shifts at Old Timers.
Yet when she gets home, where she lives on her own, surrounded by
photographs of loved ones, she enters a nightmare that has gone on for
This is her story as Viv tells it.
In Flat 1 was a man who was feared by security guards.
He had relatives, cursing, yelling and fighting.
Many cars arrived with lots of men and women, yelling, any time from
10pm to 3am.
They woke me up every time.
This went on for a long time until the man left and things quietened
down a bit.
Then people from out of town arrived and kept camping in his back yard.
They broke down the door and squatted inside.
Young girls from another part of Larapinta started visiting Flat 2,
occupied by a young disabled man.
They started trashing his flat, but there wasn’t much in it.
One Sunday in September the girls were really terrible and he was
trying to get rid of them.
I went out and spoke to them, so they attacked me with small sticks and
Then the lady in Flat 3 kept abusing them so they targeted her,
smashing her car window and throwing a piece of conduit into her front
window and smashing it.
Police and Security came when we called them, and they were good.
I was terrified and I still am.
I wake up with every sound. I want to be moved to another area.
Nearby are Aboriginal houses and they are always fighting and yelling.
It’s a restricted area but they take no notice of that.
One afternoon last week there were many Aborigines across the road,
drinking and yelling.
Women and children were sitting on the roadway to get away from the
The police were called, they came and arrested one man and sent the
There were about 20 people over the road, and down the other end – very
It’s like a ghetto.
We wanted a security fence around the complex but Territory Housing
won’t do it.
What prompted me to go public is that the man in Flat 5 has decided to
He is a strong and sensible man, but he will go in a few weeks and we
are left with no support, physical or mental.
In Flat 6 is a disabled Aboriginal lady.
I feel with three flats empty, who are we going to get?
Territory Housing have not changed for many years the minimum wage –
$621 a week – that allows people into subsidized housing.
If they raised that threshold we may get a better type of people.
At the moment only Aborigines and welfare recipients meet the criteria.
Wildlife restructure centralises decision-making. By KIERAN
Director of parks in the southern region, Andrew Bridges, has been
appointed to project manage Territory Eco-Link.
If you vaguely remember a Labor election promise of a north-south
conservation corridor, Territory Eco-Link is it.
It will be of “national and global significance”, according to a media
release of October 21, and the government has committed to it $1.8
million over three years and obtained a further $600,000 from the
The same media release announced that the government had “secured” a
conservation management agreement for the Fish River Gorge Block to
become part of Territory Eco-link.
It neglected to mention that the 1274 sqkm block belongs to the
Northern Territory Land Corporation, a statutory body set up by a
previous NT Government for the purpose of holding land in the NT.
It should not have been too difficult then to ‘secure’ a conservation
management agreement over the land, which now means that Parks and
Wildlife get to manage the block.
Fish River is the first of six “key links” that will join up
conservation areas to create Territory Eco-Link.
The link sweeps in a discontinuous arc through remote country in the
western part of the Territory.
There will be no forced acquisitions. It is envisaged rather as a
series of “vital partnerships with various landholders and
The Alice News reported on November 12 that it appeared that the widely
respected Mr Bridges would be pushed aside in a restructure of Parks
Executive Director of Parks and Wildlife, Graham Phelps, refused to
answer questions for our report, while on November 11, the day before
Alice News publication, his media advisor put out a release dealing
with some of the issues it raised – a breach of normal protocol for
dealing with a journalist’s questions.
The release announced “a new direction” for Parks and Wildlife, the
most important feature of which appears to be a move “from a regional
structure to a functions based structure”.
The new Territory-wide function-based units will of course centralise
They are Parks Operations, Planning and Partnerships, and Tourism and
Parks Operations and Tourism and Visitor Services will be headed up by
appointees from outside the agency.
Mac Moyses, from within the agency, will act in the position of
Director Planning and Partnerships for 12 months from late
Mr Moyses has led the planning for Joint Management (with traditional
owners) of parks.
MAP AT RIGHT:
White otlines: the Eco-Links.
Ligth green: National Parks and Reserves.
Yellow: Proposed Indigenous Protected Areas.
Dark green: Indigenous protected areas.
Red: Private Conservation Reserves.
Gerry’s council. By ERWIN CHLANDA.
Mayor Damien Ryan revealed some fresh angles to well-canvassed issues
when he put the town council’s case to the Council of Territory
Co-operation (CTO), chaired by Independent Gerry Wood.
• As we approach the peak of the bushfire season, there has been no
resolution to the sticking point (reported previously by the Alice
News) of the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority (AAPA) wanting to
charge council $37,000.
That’s not for removing hazardous plant growth in the Todd River, but
for considering an application to give permission for the council to do
the work. Mr Ryan said he has every respect for sacred sites, and
welcomes having so many in town, but their disproportionate number
compared to other jurisdictions, and the fees charged by AAPA, warrant
• The council is looking for someone – the NT Government? – to “adopt”
the glass and aluminium drink container recycling scheme, currently
paying five cents per item. Nearly 2.5 million containers have been
cashed in during the past 40 days, collectors receiving cash diverted
from the landfill budget.
Few would hold their breath about the NT Government buying into such a
scheme. It has consistently shirked away from a container deposit
scheme, notwithstanding undertakings made while they were in opposition
for 26 years. It could go a step further and take a leaf from its
southern neighbour’s book. The Mayor made a point of South
Australia having had for decades very well functioning container
• The Mayor says the Development Consent Authority frequently acts
contrary to the regulations requiring property developers to meet a
quota of car parks. He says the apparent fear of losing developments
has led to an “erosion of car parking stock” and exemptions are given
without orders to pay a fee to the council in lieu.
• The open storm water drains in town are owned by the NT Government
but the council is stuck with their maintenance. CTO member John
Elferink (CL) asked how that had come about – no-one knew but Mr Ryan
said he would find out. The annual cost is $376,000. Alice would
neglect this maintenance at its peril, “with a big flood hanging over
our heads”. A NT Government yearly contribution would be nice.
• Mr Ryan said the council was sticking to its decision to levy “liquor
litter” charges on buildings accommodating takeaway bottle shops. He
says they are the source of half the rubbish lying around town.
However, he said a legislative amendment was needed to make the charge
work. This had been raised with Local Government Minister Rob Knight on
June 4, but there’s been no action yet.
planned since 2006. By KIERAN
At least those attending last Thursday’s community meeting about the
Araluen development plan will be looking more closely at the next
Territory Government glossy brochure about the future of Alice Springs.
Many expressed surprise if not shock and anger at finding on their
table a copy of a page from the 2006 Moving Alice Ahead document.
It set out quite plainly the government’s intentions regarding how it
would put Alice Springs at “the forefront of developments in the
Indigenous art and culture industry”.
Under the heading “How it will happen”, the first action was listed as
“developing a permanent exhibition at the Araluen Centre
showcasing Indigenous art and culture”.
This became a reality at the start of this year, with controversy
around the change slowly building.
But as the document makes clear Araluen staff have simply being
carrying out government policy.
Precinct director Tim Rollason said he realised that a lot of people
were unaware of the document, which is why it was provided to the
It was suggested that it had not been publicised, that true
transparency would have required it to be.
M Rollason said there was quite a lot of information about it at the
time it was released.
Former MLA Loraine Braham described it as “very provocative”: “This is
what has caused a lot of community concern.”
It was asked whether a “board” representative of the community could be
set up in time to contribute to the current process of finalising the
precinct development plan.
Quite some scepticism had been expressed about whether people’s
contributions at the meeting would ever become part of the development
plan and there was more than one call for greater transparency and
Director of Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory, Anna
Malgorzewicz, described this last as a “very sound suggestion” – seeing
it as a broad-community-based working group to continue dialogue on the
development plan, and separate from a long-term governance structure
for the precinct (which will also be under consideration).
The well-attended meeting of close to 60 people, including several
Aboriginal artists and arts workers, was otherwise focussed on
identifying what people wanted to see happen at the precinct, their
vision for the future, with small groups reporting the results of their
discussions back to the wider group.
Continuation of support for current user groups – read those squeezed
out of the main galleries by the conversion of Gallery Three to a
permanent Aboriginal art display – was a repeated theme.
But equally there were calls for a superb purpose-built Aboriginal art
gallery – the equivalent of a Guggenheim – that would require funding
from other sources as well as government.
Other suggestions included:
• funding adequate to support the vision of the precinct as an
inclusive community place;
• a great cafe with a view, food, ambience and facilities to draw
multi-cultural, multi-generational patronage, helping the precinct to
become a meeting place;
• appointment of a public programs officer, an education officer to
work with schools, a coordinator of volunteers;
• development of the grounds, with an emphasis on shady landscaping and
• an outdoor performance space;
• exciting digital material to make connection with younger people;
• an exciting website for the precinct, separated from government if
• maintenance on the precinct of the museum of natural history and its
• promotion of Aboriginal art for children, Aboriginal and
• inter-cultural “harmony” events;
• building relationships with business and other local groups, such as
the Language Centre.
Submissions on the development plan close on December 1.
Probe into $1.3m
missing from Yuendumu council. By ERWIN CHLANDA.
Public hearings by the Council of Territory Co-operation (CTC)
revealed utter chaos and possible corruption in community
councils which were subsumed into the new super shires in 2007.
For example, the Yuendumu Willowra council spent $1.3m in the six weeks
leading up to the handover, and it is completely unclear on what,
according to the Acting CEO of the Central Desert Shire, Roydon
He was speaking to the CTC holding hearings in Alice Springs as part of
the Parliamentary sittings here this week.
Asked CTC member John Elferink (Country Liberals): Are there any
suggestions that there has been criminality?
Mr Robertson: Not in the books, however, the shire has taken the matter
Mr Elferink: Does that include taking it to the appropriate authorities?
Mr Robertson: Yes, it does.
Mr Elferink asked on what, in their dying days, did the Yuendumu
Willowra council spend $1.3m?
Mr Robertson: Good question. On a variety of things which the auditors
hadn’t been able to verify.
Mr Elferink: For example?
Mr Robertson: Plant, tools.
Mr Elferink: I need a break-down. You absorbed their equipment. How
many backhoes and graders did you get?
Mr Robertson: Of the hundreds [of items of] plant and vehicles we
inherited, a lot were in very poor condition. We’re actually going
through them now. It’s a huge job, we’re trying to get a handle on what
actually we do have. A lot of the vehicles, we discovered, were not
registered, and we’re trying to find out where they are. We’ve only
just discovered, a lot of the assets in that book are recorded as no
It emerged at the hearing on Monday that nearly a year and a half after
the commencement of the shires, the Central Desert Shire still had no
“opening balance” and was still grappling with questions such as
hundreds of thousands of dollars unaccounted for; which roads have to
be maintained; which assets they have.
And what exactly is their financial position, given that some moneys
transferred from the old community councils are residual amounts from
unexpended grants, all of which should perhaps have been paid back
because the conditions had not been met.
CTC Member Marion Scrymgour (Labor) asked Mr Robertson whether during
the handover phase, when there were no elected members and the shire
CEOs were in essence the councils, “did alarm bells not go off that
there is going to be a real problem?”
Mr Robertson said there was “plenty of talk about it” but the old
councils were still operating.
“What was happening at the other councils we really had no control
He said there was a committee under the auspices of the Department of
Local Government but “like everyone else, they did not have the books”.
The questions not asked were what on earth was the department doing –
wasn’t it supposed to have oversight of council’s operations? – and
weren’t funding bodies requiring acquittals?
The Council of Territory Co-operation has been set up as part of the
deal between Independent Gerry Wood and Chief Minister Paul Henderson
to keep the Labor government from falling.
How can they get
us to care about statehood? By KIERAN
How can statehood for the Territory become a barbecue stopper?
Chair of the Statehood Steering Committee Jane Aagard says she has
never been asked a question about statehood while she’s been in the
Getting people to care is seen as the committee’s biggest challenge –
only a third of the population are deemed to support statehood, with a
third against, and a third undecided.
Yet plans are afoot to hold a constitutional convention in 2011 and
marketing company Sprout have been engaged to design a statehood
“roadshow” campaign for next year.
Long-time champion of statehood, Fran Kilgariff, at a Statehood
Steering Committee luncheon on Monday, gave three examples of why
people should care.
The first was that a Territorian opposed to uranium mining has to make
their views known to the federal minister as it is he or she who
has the ultimate say. A South Australian on the other hand would be
able to lobby their state minister as uranium mining is under states’
The second was that in a federal referendum Territorians’ votes
are only counted in the Australia-wide tally. They are not counted in
the state by state tally which must also be won for the referendum to
get up. Thus Territorians have a lesser voice on issues put to a
The third was that the laws of the Territory’s Legislative Assembly can
be over-turned by the Australian Government. The instance to eclipse
all others, of course, and the one mentioned by Ms Kilagriff, is the
Commonwealth Intervention, from June 2007 to this day, in Indigenous
affairs in the Territory.
The last is probably the example that comes closest to being a
“barbecue stopper” but it’s two-edged.
Given that, as was clearly acknowledged at the luncheon, statehood will
be a “gift from the Commonwealth”, one might think that statehood
aspirations would be put on hold until the Territory demonstrates that
it can take control of its own Indigenous affairs.
As the SIHIP controversy demonstrates, there seems little chance of
that anytime soon.
This seeming body blow bravely ignored, Sprout representatives quizzed
the luncheon audience on why we should become a state.
• to have control of decision-making governing our lives;
• to have the right to our own mining royalties;
• to get out from under the “yoke of colonialism” imposed by the
Commonwealth since 1911;
• to make our government more accountable.
What should the committee tell you about? asked Sprout.
When there was no immediate response, the subject of a name change was
The consensus seemed to be that the word “Territory” has to remain:
“How can you be a Territorian if we’re not Territory?”
How would statehood help the Territory? asked an Anzac Hill High
student – a fair enough question.
Local identity Eli Melky pursued her point: people need to feel that
statehood actually would benefit them, that schools would offer better
education, that hospitals would offer better health care, and police,
improved law and order.
Until that’s made clear, statehood for the Territory remains just a
word that no logo or slogan is going to make real.
universal visual language. By KIERAN
Rather than trying to control his state of mind, he’d just relax and
let “whatever was going to be, be”.
It led him to the theme of his life’s work, “from Dreamtime to
machinetime” but, as such a span might suggest, this is no straight
Trevor Nickolls held the opening night crowd in the palm of his hand as
he talked about his work over almost four decades, brought together in
the exhibition, Other Side Art, showing at Araluen.
What he had to say was straightforward enough but he drew everyone in
with his warmth and conviction, his voice rising and falling with
little asides here and forays and jokes there.
“Dreamtime is the word used to describe the Aboriginal philosophy and
way of life but it’s also what we do when we go to sleep, we go into
dreamtime – there’s that duality which I like to think about.
“Then when we wake up we are in the machine time. I’ve got to work out
things in black and white, so I can alternate between the two, my
ancestral Aboriginal side and yet also being part of this crazy white
“I’ve tried to marry these styles together, Aborignal style and Western
“My aim is to make contemporary pictures using those styles which mean
something to both black people and white people, to everyone, trying to
make a universal kind of language that can appeal to everyone.”
The influence of the comic book is plainly clear and will delight
audiences, particularly the young as they spot figures like the tiny
Ned Kelly ready to puncture a tyre.
Equally there are art references from both the Western and Aboriginal
traditions as well as the visual detail and symbols soaked up during
his travels, such as his visit to Venice, where he represented
Australia at the 1990 Biennale alongside the Kimberley artist Rover
He has been delighted to rediscover in the exhibition, which he sees
“like a big diary of my life”, work that he has not seen for years,
some of which is providing the seeds of new work.
“I’m always trying to think what it was like once upon a time in this
country, long, long ago,” he said, “but also to bring it up to the
modern day, to now, because I’m living now and trying to make sense of
Nickolls’ way of making sense is all his own, but nonetheless
“A long time ago there was an ocean here, it’s not too far to fathom we
are all boat people here, then I begin to think about Biblical stories,
where was the original garden and where did civilisation truly start.
“You begin to read between the lines and don’t trust what they tell you
[this last in a conspiratorial whisper].”
Papunya Tula will dazzle. By KIERAN
The annual Papunya Tula group show is shadowed this year by the loss of
one of their leading artists, D. Reid, who died last month, at the
height of her career, aged just 50, from pneumonia.
Her passing came only a few weeks after her return from New York, where
she traveled for the opening of the successful company show at
Washington Square East Galleries.
Manager Paul Sweeney remembers Mrs Reid as “on fire in her work and as
a person, an absolute treasure and a great person to be out the front
of Papunya Tula, really good at talking to people”.
The group show is also taking place against the backdrop of a
crisis in renal care that threatens the life of another great painter,
Tjungurrayi is resident of the tiny Western Australian community of
Kiwirrkurra, just over the border from Kintore. Between them the two
communities supply the genius of Papunya Tula.
Tjungurrayi needs haemodialysis but is being told to go to Perth to get
it, as Alice treatment centres are at capacity and are being reserved
for Territory residents.
Papunya Tula is prepared to increase their contribution to renal care
(already significant), through the Purple House, if a solution can be
found that would allow the artist to receive treatment in Alice
Springs, says Mr Sweeney.
A proposal has been put to Health Minister Kon Vatskalis this week.
“Patrick would not for a minute consider moving to Perth,” says Mr
Despite the sadness and strain, the group show promises to be as
dazzling as ever, with Johnny Yungut Tjupurrula emerging as the star.
He is an elderly man who has been painting for some years but recently
“something has sparked inside him”, says Mr Sweeney.
His work, in rich reds, oranges, ochres and blacks, bursts with a bold
energy, seeming to challenge the edges of the canvas.
The large work by Tjupurrula reproduced on the show’s invitation has
already been acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria, but there
are others, including the one reproduced here.
The group show traditionally has one huge work, 8’x6’, that hangs on
the back wall of the gallery.
This year the honour goes to Warlimpirringa Tjapaltjarri.
The rigour of his work in a smaller format becomes at this scale a
compelling vortex of repeated narrow lines in irregular form around a
core that disappears into a space beyond the painting – a work to lose
yourself in. From year to year, through the highs and lows, the baton
of brilliance passes at Papunya Tula.
There is also a first for the company this year: a suite of etchings
produced during a two week workshop in July led by Sarita Quinlivan and
master printer Dian Darmansjah.
Some 40 etchings will be shown, including two by Mrs Reid, two by
Patrick Tjungurrayi and five by Naata Nungurrayi.
Off and racing
... at Wallace Rockhole. By CHRISTOPHER RAJA.
Wallace Rockhole had its first horse racing carnival in 10 years this
weekend. The excitement and pride was palpable as seven jockeys and
their horses lined up for a 500 metre gallop.
More than 80 cars were parked around the dusty red racetrack and people
from various communities sat under the shade of trees sipping cool
drinks and sharing food and talking as they eagerly anticipated the
The young people of the community seemed especially thrilled as they
got themselves and their horses ready. Young men were smoothing the
track and placing green bins for the crowds to dispose of their
rubbish. This was an extremely well organised event, skilfully handled
by the mainly Arrernte people of Wallace Rockhole.
People from Santa Teresa, Hermannsburg, Ilpurla and other neighbouring
communities took part by bringing their horses to race. Grog was
conspicuous by its absence.
Barry Abbot, one of the chief event organisers and a senior man at
Wallace Rockhole, said the event had come about because the young
people wanted it and had shown an interest in getting it up again.
They’re hoping the Wallace Rockhole Horse Racing Carnival will become
an annual event that gets bigger and better and will run again on the
first weekend after Easter 2010 when the weather gets
Cash exchanged hands through gates, railings and car windows. All
participants paid to be in the race, with the lodged money to be
divided between first, second and third place getters.
The wild brumbies were saddled up now and leaving the paddock. When
they reached the starting gates the jockeys adjusted their helmets. The
horses were roused to friskiness by the impending race.
They started. As they turned the bend a brown and white colt was in the
middle of the pack. The whole field stormed madly past us towards the
post. Chunks of red dirt flew, and the earth shook under their hooves.
A man to my right was saying the horse coming second, ridden by Daniel
Abbott, looked good.
“You wait,” he told his friends, “he’ll break away.”
But he was wrong. When they turned into the final straight the horse
bucked and swayed and threw young Daniel off. It looked bad but Daniel
got up, gingerly dusted himself off and adjusted his helmet. He wasn’t
By now the other horses catapulted past the finish line and the crowd
erupted into hurrahs.
Everyone was in rapture. Bobby Abbott, the winning jockey from Ilpurla,
pumped his fist and slapped the other riders hard on the back in
Daniel’s father was also in the race and rode back to see if his son
was okay. He helped Daniel get back on his horse and father and son
rode out the contest together. It was a special moment and everyone
After the obligatory checks and approvals, the three place-getters,
Bobby Abbott, Anthony (surname not known) and Eli Rubuntja, got their
prize money and then looked for members of their families to celebrate
in their victory.
In the second race, 14 year old Daniel was back but this time on a well
behaved horse. It proved to be a winning combination. The brave young
rider rode hard and this time thrashed the field and the crowd
fittingly acknowledged their new hero.
But in the same race another horse bolted. It seemed not all the horses
had been ridden in this fashion before.
Some needed coercion, some bucked, and some chose their own path
irrespective of the jockey’s intentions.
At three it was time for us to leave. Reluctantly we gathered our
things. My two daughters wished we could stay longer and listen to the
bands that were performing after the races.
Among the crowd I noticed Warren H Williams and his family.
Most families there had planned to stay the night, listen to music and
rest before the next day of races.
It was a world still mysterious enough for my family and I to find
everything fascinating. There was great pride and happiness there.
We enjoyed seeing and meeting different people at the racetrack – women
nursing babies, boys riding with their fathers, proud elders watching
as their young people shone.
My daughters, who have travelled to many places in the world, said that
their day at Wallace Rockhole was amongst the best they have
experienced anywhere. I have to agree.
Capital for a week.
Back in the day, Constantinople was a thriving metropolis. Trade
routes, affluence and the preferred place for the who’s who of a
civilisation to be seen.
Constantinople was a jewel in the crown of what we now call Turkey. It
was the seat of power for a mighty empire, the envy of many.
But just like the empire it oversaw and like all empires before or
since, Constantinople had its day.
Now the only signs of a once great city lie on cushions in the museums
of modern empires.
Istanbul may never reach the glories of Constantinople. It will never
glitter like the ancient capital. It will never be spoken of with the
reverence of an old cosmopolitan champion. But it is the capital of
Turkey. It is the place where government sits, where the decisions are
made and where laws are enacted.
Technically, the capital of a jurisdiction is the place where the
government sits. This week therefore, Alice Springs is technically the
capital of the Northern Territory. Those vocal Centralians who have
recently more idealistically rather than practically called for Alice
Springs to become the capital will have for a few short days been able
to see just how their dream might be in reality.
Parliament has been sitting in our convention centre and for those
interested in the cogs and sprockets of the political machine, having
parliament here in front of us, accessible, should provide that look.
But let’s ask the question everyone wants to ask. What possible benefit
can moving parliament give us?
Having 25 elected representatives and their staff move here for a week
is a way of putting some of our taxes back into the Alice Springs
I suppose it might allow those members of the Legislative Assembly,
hitherto unfamiliar with the issues here in Central Australia, the
chance to be exposed to them.
I guess it’s nice to think that in order to be heard by the entire
parliament, for once we don’t have to fly 1500 kilometres away.
And well should we take advantage of that fact. This week every idea
from nutter and professor alike should be given a voice.
Every single mulled over notion should be spoken in the company of an
elected representative of the Northern Territory legislature.
This is the perfect opportunity for those who want to make all our
power nuclear to get their point across. It is also the perfect
opportunity for those who wish to ban cars and trucks from the roads to
have their say.
And the 25 chosen men and women of the Northern Territory parliament
should be thankful for the opportunity. Because stuck in amongst the
ridiculous and the extreme will be suggestions of such profound simple
elegance that they could truly change the Territory for the better.
Back in ancient times parliaments debated for days the value of good
and evil. They pontificated over philosophies and they argued ethics.
Today’s parliament is not about that. Today politics is about winning
enough votes to keep your job. It’s about shouting down the person
shouting the loudest and it’s about being seen to be doing good things.
If that is the modern politic, then surely as the people who elect the
politicians we could demand the right to have our ideas heard.
Perhaps that could be Alice Springs’ gift to our empire as its new
Alice CBD to look like Darwin’s?
Sir,– The proposal to build up to five storeys on the old Melanka site
has raised strong community debate. This is good.
In Alice, buildings over three storeys are specifically not to be
It is shameful that such a large development comes as an application
for an ‘exceptional development permit’. That is not the usual, and the
application should not be approved.
Why? Because if planning policy for the future of Alice is to be
changed, it must occur only after genuine public consultation
within proper time frames.
Half a day’s notice, announcing through the media, is not listening,
and ‘ticking the boxes’ is not consulting.
Otherwise it is as if developers are taking a bulldozer to the NT
Planning Scheme, and future decisions will rest on this so called
‘one-off decision’ with every developer, ‘good and bad’, forced to use
such a precedent.
One only has to look at what has happened in the Darwin CDB in the
last few years.
The NT Government must respect the public and get back to the job of
planning for the future throughout the whole Northern Territory.
Planning Action Network
Sir,– There is something shameful about the most sun-drenched country
in the world, Australia, lagging behind Germany and Japan in the quest
for solar power. While we are opening new coal mines and planning
new coal-fired power stations, those two nations are investing heavily
Germany is exploring ways to tap the sun in the Sahara Desert and bring
the power under the Mediterranean to energy-hungry Europe.
Japan is planning to launch a satellite with solar panels as the first
stage of eventually tapping the sun in space and beaming the power back
The main argument against solar is that it cannot today produce base
Coal is immediate and comes with proven technology. The same can be
said for uranium. The pollies and CEOs enjoy reminding us of this,
while touting carbon emissions as a marketable commodity and avoiding
the topic of radioactive waste.
What is never mentioned is that the solar industry has progressed as
far as it has with only reluctant government and corporate support,
especially when compared to the support given the hydrocarbon and
Can anyone seriously doubt that with the level of commitment now being
made by Germany and Japan a technological breakthrough is just around
the corner? A way to generate base load solar power will be
found, and Australia might miss out on that.
A second good reason to back solar power is war. The vicious
turmoil currently raging from Sudan to Pakistan is almost all about
controlling the hydrocarbons found there.