March 4, 2010. This page contains all major
reports and comment pieces in the current edition.

Government fights weeds in less than 1% of Emily, Jessie parks. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

Traditional owners are on the job: They work 12.4 hours – a year

Weeds are controlled in less than 1% of the Emily and Jessie Gaps nature parks, 1221 hectares, according to Graham Phelps, head of Parks and Wildlife.
He says six Aboriginal people from Amoonguna “have been involved on an ongoing basis in weed control activity”.
“This group comprised five Flexible Employment Program (FEP) workers and one permanent Parks and Wildlife Ranger,” says Mr Phelps.
“Total hours dedicated to weed control by the FEP workers over the three years is approximately 186 hours.”
That amounts to 12.4 hours per worker per year.
Mr Phelps was responding to a report in last week’s Alice News: “Other Parks and Wildlife Rangers from the Alice Springs Telegraph Station, including other Indigenous Rangers not from Amoonguna, also undertake weed management activities at the Nature Park,” says Mr Phelps.
“Key values of the park are the art sites and the visitor experience of the gaps and the weed control program is primarily directed at protecting those values as well as protecting significant vegetation and infrastructure and controlling declared weeds.
“The eradication of Buffel Grass and Cooch from the Nature Park is not an objective of the weed control program because it is not likely to be possible due to presence of these grasses in surrounding lands which results in constant reinfestation especially along creek lines.  
“FEP workers have also been employed at Emily and Jessie Gap Nature Parks to repair and maintain floodgates, oil and paint furniture, re-cladding of toilet, replacement of entry road fence and the fencing of art sites.”

Ryder case: dead man was ‘very likely’ to have had an aneurism.

KIERAN FINNANE reports on the last day of the committal hearing, on February 24, the day after our last issue went to press. This report was uploaded on our website last Thursday, February 25.

The doctor who conducted the autopsy on Kwementyaye Ryder (pictured) says that it is “very likely” that Mr Ryder had a pre-existing aneurism.
He says the rupture of such an aneurism is the “most likely lesion” to produce the kind of haemorrhage that killed Mr Ryder.
And he could not isolate any single cause for the blunt force trauma deemed to have resulted in the rupture.
Director of the Forensic Pathology Unit of the Royal Darwin Hospital, Dr Terence Sinton conducted the autopsy in the evening of July 26, 2009, the day after Mr Ryder was found dead by the roadside at Schwarz Crescent, not far from the Todd River.
Five young local men will now stand trial for Mr Ryder’s murder, ordered Magistrate David Bamber at the conclusion of the committal hearing yesterday (Wednesday, February 24).
Arraignment (formal charging in the Supreme Court) will be on April 6.
Dr Sinton told the court that the sub-arachnoid haemorrhage suffered by Mr Ryder was “one of the more extensive I’ve seen”.
Although it involved “a relatively small amount of blood”, it had spread extensively through the “sub-arachnoid space”.
Dr Sinton was taken through his evidence by the prosecutor and later cross-examined by lawyers for the accused as to the nature of the “blunt force” that he found had likely caused the haemorrhage.
He said it was difficult to say whether the bleeding was caused by one blow or a number of blows: he could not isolate any single cause for the blunt force trauma.
He also said if injury occurs as a result of one blow, in terms of harm the “rest becomes irrelevant”: aneurism rupture is an “all or nothing” situation.
As aneurisms can rupture spontaneously, the degree of force necesary to cause a rupture need not be great: “It can can often be very minor,” said Dr Sinton.
He also said rupture could be caused by “any form of minor trauma to any part of the head”.
He had not been able to isolate the exact site where the bleeding had started and in his experience it is difficult to do that.
With such an extensive haemorrhage the blood vessels “tear to shreds basically”.
He said in his opinion it was “most unlikely” that the aneurism, deemed to have ruptured and caused the haemorrhage, could have done so before the alleged assault on Mr Ryder took place.
However, he agreed, when the possibility was put to him, that the rupture could  have been a result of Mr Ryder running, falling and hitting his head on the ground.
The abrasions, lacerations and bruising to Mr Ryder’s head and face and abrasions to shoulder and arms, none of which he described as severe, could also have been consistent with falling on a hard surface such as a bitumen road.
Dr Sinton did not believe that alcohol was a contributing factor to Mr Ryder’s haemorrhage.
The toxicology report for the deceased showed a blood alcohol content of .22%.
Dr Sinton said Mr Ryder’s mobility was “very likely to be impaired” by the high blood alcohol content but “to what extent” he could not say.
He had found no evidence of hypertension (blood pressure).
The court also heard from Sergeant Anthony Barry, a general duties police officer in Alice Springs, but also a trained crash investigator, with experience in well over 100 fatal motor vehicle accidents.
Sgt Barry was questioned about the details of the crime scene in Schwarz Crescent and also about his investigation of tyre tracks in the Todd River.
Sgt Barry agreed with defence lawyer Russell Goldflam that only the crime scene on Schwarz Crescent, the site of Mr Ryder’s alleged murder, was guarded.
There were two camping places in the Todd River where other crimes are alleged to have taken place – eight counts of recklessly endangering life, with which the same five young men are charged.
It is alleged that a white Toyota Hilux, driven by one of the accused, Anton Kloeden, and in which the other four were passengers, was driven at speed at these sites, endangering the lives of those camped there. 
Mr Goldflam, acting for Mr Kloeden, said these crime scenes were not cordoned off with tape nor guarded.
The crime scene examiner was not available to answer questions (being sick and not currently in the NT).
Sgt Barry was questioned extensively about evidence of braking that he may have found in his investigation of the tyre tracks.
He said he found no evidence of emergency braking and at the camping places he believed the tyre marks were “rolling friction” marks.
At the conclusion of the hearing lawyers for Scott Doody, Glen Swain, Joshua Spears and Timothy Hird, all made submissions that their clients should not be charged with “recklessly endangering life” as there has been no evidence that any of them had been at the wheel of the vehicle.
The prosecutor said that the four had been passengers in the vehicle for an extended period of time and had been in a position to get out of the vehicle if they’d chosen to do so.
He also said there had been evidence of more than one voice coming from the car  when it was driven at the two sites.
Magistrate Bamber found that a jury could consider that the four were involved with the alleged crimes on the basis of complicity and that there was a sufficient case to answer.
It was a sombre moment in the court when the five young men were asked to stand and Magistrate Bamber read them their rights.
These included the opportunity to speak to the court, but through their lawyers, they each declined.
In keeping with their demeanor throughout the committal hearing, the five remained grave and without obvious reaction, but as they were led away Mr Hird’s mother approached the dock and he hugged her tightly.
Mr Ryder’s family members had sat in the front row of the public gallery and maintained their composure as the five were committed to stand trial.
Mr Ryder’s mother, the artist Theresa Ryder, was present in the foyer before the hearing started but did not enter the courtroom.

Alcohol rehabilitation mess: insider joins the debate as govt. stays mum. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

A person with many years of experience with alcohol rehabilitation in Alice Springs was one of several people who have come forward after the publication of a report in the Alice News (Feb 18 & 25) about serious shortcomings in NT Government funded programs.
They spoke to the News on the condition that their names are not disclosed.
We summarized these concerns in an email last Friday and sent it to Joanne Townsend, of the Department of Health, and to the media officer of Health Minister Kon Vatskalis.
We’ve had no responses.
These were the questions:-
• Are you aware of the shortcomings of DASA [the Drug and Alcohol Services Association] as outlined by our [story] contacts?
• I understand the department did a review [about 18 months ago]. Can I please have a copy of that report?
• There has just been another review of alcohol and other drugs [services in Alice Springs]. What triggered that review and can I have a copy of the report?
• Two policy officers and one services development officer were moved from Alice Springs to Darwin [a few years ago]. Why? The services development officer’s brief was mainly to monitor government contractors such as DASA, as I understand it.
• Why is there no separation, with some contractors, between “withdrawal” and “treatment” patients?
• Why are children and young people in Bushmob accommodated in an unsafe location, next-door to the DASA drying out shelter, with no barriers between the two facilities, and people in one can easily access the other?
• What is the evidence upon which recent resourcing decisions [for more treatment] have been made? Who decides where the money goes and how?
• What proportion of Commonwealth Heads of Government related funding paid to the NT is spent in Alice Springs, and what proportion is focussed on improving quality and range of services?
• How does the government coordinate the services (DASA, CAAAPU, Congress, Tangentyere, ADSCA, Holyoake - are there more)?
• Does the government issue instructions about coordination? Who does? How?
• What coordination and collaboration is in place?
• Are there enough [treatment beds] in Alice Springs?
• Do Court or Corrections referred clients, who are instructed to undergo treatment, take up places that should go to people seeking voluntary admission who, because of their clear desire to reform, have a greater likelihood of success?
Had the government responded we would also have asked the following question: How many people are on waiting lists?
• How many people does each service send away for lack of beds?

Celebrations of the past are an occasion to look to the future. By KIERAN FINNANE.

His legacy is all around us: 150 years ago John McDouall Stuart led the first expedition of white men into the Centre and life here changed forever.
Together with William Kekwick and 18 year old Benjamin Head, Stuart got as far as a place he later named Attack Creek, north of Tennant Creek, where Warumungu men made it clear they didn’t want the expeditioners lingering on their land.
By then Stuart had already named the MacDonnell Range and had planted the Union Jack atop the hill later to be called Central Mount Stuart.
He wished it to be “a sign to the natives that the dawn of liberty, civilisation and Christianity is about to break upon them”.
These weren’t the only things about to “break upon them” – the bitter tide of dispossession was too.
So how, in Alice Springs in 2010 where the upheaval heralded by Stuart’s arrival is still so keenly felt, can the 150th anniversary of the 1860 expedition be remembered? It’s a question at the forefront of the anniversary committee’s collective mind.
Together with Mayor Damien Ryan and Andrew Bridges from Parks & Wildlife, Stuart Traynor, who in retirement has made local history one of his passionate pursuits, convened the committee in July last year to work on a week’s program of events.
Others involved include historians Dick Kimber, Jose Petrick and Barry Allwright , musicians Scott Balfour and Barry Skipsey, Warwick Marsh from the National Trust, Ken Johnson, Laurelle Halford, Bill Hayes, Peter Grigg and Wayne Kraft.
The Public Library, the Museum of Central Australia and the NT Archives have also played a very active part.
“The centenary anniversary in 1960 was a big event in Alice Springs,” says Mr Traynor. 
“A gala ball was held at the Memorial Club on Friday, 22 April 1960 to officially open the club’s new hall, with the Deputy Prime Minister, Federal Opposition Leader and the NT Administrator attending.
“Next day the dignatories drove to Central Mount Stuart to unveil a plaque commemorating the explorer’s exploits.
“The following Friday, 29 April 1960, the first Alice Springs Show was held on Anzac Oval. Among the festivities they had a black baby competition.
“I can’t help but wonder what became of that baby. She (or he) would be 50 years old now – are they still alive? What has their life been like?”
A black baby competition is probably unthinkable now.
“The town has changed enormously since 1960,” says Mr Traynor.
“It’s no longer the place romanticised in Nevil Shute’s ‘A Town like Alice’ but it’s still a town with a wonderful sense of community and where people have found they can prosper financially.
“The demography has changed big time and it has a cultural mix that’s quite extraordinary.
“But regrettably, we all know there are problems which have grown along with the population. And many long term residents, who’ve invested years of their lives here, have left, saying that the town’s not the place it used to be.
“I also appreciate that there will be people in our community who would say the 150th anniversary  is no cause for celebration.
“So in October last year Dick Kimber and I went to talk to Darryl Pearce, Brian Stirling and Karen Liddle of the native title body Lhere Artepe.
“We wanted to tell them about our plans but also seek their views on whether we could use the week to help take the town forward.
“We agreed that we can’t change the past but we can certainly work together to create a positive future.”
So the occasion will be used in part to make the space for some inter-cultural thinking and dialogue about where Alice Springs can go.
Lhere Artepe has been invited to have representatives on the platform of the Doreen Braitling Memorial Lecture, to give an Aboriginal perspective. 
“We can’t make this a celebration for Aboriginal people and we can’t organise on their behalf but we have reached out to Lhere Artepe,” says Mr Traynor.
Tony Liddle, of the well-known and large Central Australian Aboriginal family, has said he is willing to take part.
His perspective is that he wants to gain greater recognition for the part that Aboriginal people have played in the development of Central Australia since Stuart’s arrival.
“They played a big part, not only in the cattle industry but in just about every other industry until the place got bigger and people came from south and did Aboriginal people out of work,” Mr Liddle told the Alice News.
“I can only go back to my grandmother’s time and the hard life she put up with. Her father, Harry Earwacker, was the first blacksmith at the Telegraph Station and my grandmother, Mary, married Bill Liddle who had Angus Downs Station.
“The role of Aboriginal women who were with white men is very often not recognised.
“And sometimes the white men would remarry white women and have other families and the Aboriginal women and children would be left behind. These are things that people don’t always like to hear about but that’s how it was.
“All the Aboriginal people in the cattle industry worked like hell until equal pay came through and they were pushed off the stations.
“That wasn’t so much the case in the government settlements, where people were sitting around. If they’d educated these people properly, the town would be a lot different today.
“These are the things that I’m thinking about.”
The Doreen Braitling lecture is just one of the week’s features.  Once an annual event focussing on local history, the National Trust has decided to revive it and once more make it an annual event.
There will also be a second lecture on an issue of significance for the town, sponsored by Desert Knowledge Australia, which will hopefully also become an annual event.
Philip Jones will give this lecture, titled Mr Stuart’s Route, Telegraph Stations and the Early Meeting of Two Cultures.
Mr Jones has been the curator in the South Australian Museum’s department of anthropology since 1984. He co-curated the exhibition, Australia’s Muslim Cameleers, with Alice Springs anthropologist Anna Kenny and his most recent book is Ochre and Rust: Artefacts and Encounters on Australian Frontiers.

Now you see them ... now you don't. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

Now you see them now you don’t: It’s the mystery of the appearing and disappearing dongas.
Recapping ...
Early December: Locals start to depart on their summer vacation and rellie rallies, a period when, for obvious reasons, they are not wanting to be burdened with weighty decisions of town planning.
December 14: The NT Government calls for proposals for worker’s villages in Alice Springs and Darwin (Alice News February 11 & 25).
January 18: Owners of Lot 288 Ross Highway, Graeme and Carol Bernie, and a day later, Tony Smith, authorize Darwin consultants Master Plan to act as the applicant for a Development Permit. They submit plans dated two weeks before the government’s call for applications
January 22: The application goes on display.
February 5: It goes off display. Locals still trickling back to town have missed all the action.
The application will be heard by the Development Consent Authority on Wednesday next week, at which – maybe – some light will be cast on some very puzzling circumstances (neither the Bernies nor Mr Smith were prepared to give information, on the record, to the Alice News):
On or about February 6 (a day or so after the application had gone off display) eight dongas with four rooms each materialized on Lot 288.
By February 10 they were all gone.
As title and company searches reveal, on February 1 Green Ant Pty Ltd paid $2.1m for Lot 288.
That is seven and a half times as much as the previous owners of the 4.04 hectare block, apparently Mr and Mrs Bernie, had bought it for in 1993, namely $280,000.
Green Ant Pty Ltd has two owners in equal shares, Anthony Ward Smith (Tony to his mates) and Elizabeth Anne Prell (Libby, to hers).
The value of the block has multiplied by more than 100 since it was bought for $20,000 in January 1978.

Rain stressed ponds. By ERWIN CHLANDA.

The water channelling out of the swamp at Ilparpa road and into St Mary’s Creek contains partially treated effluent from the sewerage ponds, a reason why some locals dub the flow “Perfume Creek”.
The Alice News asked the Power and Water Corporation to confirm this.
A spokesperson replied: “During a large and prolonged rain event, the waste water treatment facility is inundated by flood water coming off the range and from Commonage Road.
“Wet weather overflows are released in accordance with Power and Water’s discharge licence.
“The discharged waters are treated via a primary and secondary treatment system.” 

Alice Solar City forging ahead. COMMENT by GLENN MARSHALL, Arid Lands Environment Centre.

Back on 23 May 2001, I wrote an article in the Alice News laying out the vision of the Arid Lands Environment Centre (ALEC)  for Alice Springs as a Solar City. The town had very little solar infrastructure at that time, and the vision was at first poo-pooed by various ‘movers and shakers’ as not viable – “let’s stick to solar panels out bush where they are cost-effective”. Luckily we persisted along with others and in time Alice Solar City was born.
It is worth reflecting on how dreams can become reality. In that 2001 article, ALEC floated various ideas, many of which have come to fruition.
We flagged a large solar power plant on the outskirts of town (a one megawatt Ilparpa Solar Farm will be built this year), homes dotted with solar power systems (there were zero in 2001, there will be at least 500 by the end of 2010), Araluen Precinct promoting solar concepts (their solar air conditioning system goes in soon), major commercial operators promoting solar knowledge (Crowne Plaza installed the largest rooftop solar array in the Southern Hemisphere in 2009), houses upgrading their energy efficiency (over 1700 homes are signed up to the Alice Solar City program, close to 20% of homes in Alice Springs, and over 50% of the town uses solar water heating), and a big sign on the highway saying “Welcome to Alice Springs – The World’s Premier Solar City” (it’s coming).
It has been a wonderful achievement and testimony to the many people who have shared the vision and hard work to make it a reality.
We are now, however, at a critical point in our solar town development.
This is because there are no large new solar initiatives planned for Alice Springs beyond the Solar City program that ends in 2013.
In the worst case scenario, we could revert to a solar backwater.
There are two major drivers right now to keep Alice as a vibrant Solar City.
Both need immediate action to give them momentum. One is Target 13 of the NT Government’s recent Climate Change Policy.
It seeks to “develop Alice Springs and Central Australia as a world-leading solar energy centre by 2020”.
This ongoing government support is obviously welcome, although there are no indications yet of what resources will be provided to achieve this goal.
The second is the national Renewable Energy Target that was passed by the Australian Government in late 2009.
All Australian energy retailers must provide 20% of their energy from renewable energy sources by 2020, including mandatory interim targets each year.
In the Territory, the NT Government has put an additional requirement that Power Water must source these renewables from within the NT.
At present, Power Water could source all of this from the Top End – we need a commitment from the NT Government and Power Water that Alice Springs will generate at least 20% of its power from solar by 2020.
Is that a viable goal? Yes. ALEC understands that Power Water needs to add 5 to 10 MW of power generators to the town in the near future to avoid further summer ‘brown-outs’ that happened in Alice Springs this year when supply couldn’t keep up with air conditioner demand. Power was shut down to some suburbs for up to half an hour.
This 5 to 10 MW is in addition to the three new gas turbines being installed at the Owen Springs Power Station this year.
According to Lyndon Frearson of CAT Projects in Alice Springs, 10 MW solar power stations are on the verge of achieving good economies of scale.
As an example, the wholesale price of rooftop solar panels has dropped 50% in the last 18 months.
And there is plenty of interest from solar suppliers. Alice Solar City recently received Expressions of Interest from 15 solar suppliers around the world to install their systems at the upcoming 1MW Ilparpa Solar Farm.
A 10 MW plant would provide around 10% of our town’s power, a good start towards the 20% target.
We can then start aspiring to additional solar capacity to replace gas turbines when they are retired through age or are relocated elsewhere by Power Water.
By that time, baseload solar power plants will most likely be a commercially available technology, and we can aspire to 100% of the town’s power coming from solar energy, both day and night.
And then in 2019 when we re-read this current article, we can once more say “We made that dream a reality”. It is an exciting prospect.
Glenn Marshall represents the Arid Lands Environment Centre on the Alice Solar City consortium.

The measure of a local’s time. Naturally with ALEX NELSON.

Alright, calm down, everybody – yes, I know, it’s very exciting to see the Todd River in flow.
There’s a popular myth that reckons if a person who stays in the Alice sees the Todd flowing three times, one becomes a local. Now honestly, do you really think it’s as simple as that?
For one thing, the Todd flows at the drop of a hat. The combined catchment’s area for the Todd and Charles rivers is 500 km², and it’s all rocky hill country.
So any half-decent shower can quickly overcome the capacity of the rocky soil to absorb water (which nonetheless absorbs a lot), and the excess rapidly flows into tributary gullies and creeks merging into the Todd.
My mother’s anecdote of a night-time storm on April 17, 1961, reveals this: “Lightning lit the landscape bright as day … then came the rain! Todd Street was soon flowing like a river.
“I accompanied a hostel friend as he drove to various vantage points to watch the flowing torrent. At Heavitree Gap, Chinaman Creek raged across the road with no access north or south – there was no bridge.
“At the junction of the Todd and Charles, foaming swirling water roared past. We joined a crowd of people on the Wills Terrace footbridge, watching personnel from Water Resources Branch as they accomplished stream gauging in very difficult conditions.
“The awe-inspiring flow of water was just below the level of the footbridge as the river ran a banker”.
This occurred during one of the worst droughts on record in Central Australia – and my mother, Pat (nee Colley) was off to a flying start as a local. She had been in the Alice only two months. Her “hostel friend” proposed to her that same night.
OK, so I admit to having an unfair advantage as a local – but the thing is the Todd flows quite readily, the more so during dry periods.
This seeming paradox is simply explained – as drought sets in, vegetation cover diminishes and exposes more bare soil and rock; and this in turn permits faster water run-off.
As I approach my half century in the Centre, I suggest there is a better measure of one’s local longevity – it’s the humble little St Mary’s Creek, just south of town.
Laugh if you like but this creek is distinctive. It commences as the overflow of Ilparpa Swamp, heads directly east at the foot of the Blatherskite Range across the Stuart Highway in front of St Mary’s, where it swings sharply south-eastwards behind Pioneer Park racecourse and across the Arid Zone Research Institute, where it floods out before reaching Colonel Rose Drive – about five kilometers long at most.
The creek bed lies about 400 meters at its closest proximity to the Todd River near St Mary’s but it is not a tributary of the river. Even during the biggest floods the two streams never link up, at least on the surface.
To place this in context, Roe and Laura creeks, 15 and 30 km west of town respectively, flow in wide loops south of the Alice and eventually link up as a tributary of the Todd on Undoolya Station to the east. St. Mary’s Creek is completely isolated within this drainage zone.
Another distinctive feature is that the creek almost never flows – apart from this week, I have witnessed it do so on just four previous occasions: January 1966, the breaking of the drought; 1974, the wettest year on record in the Centre; and in 1983 and 1988, during major floods. (It may have done so in 2000 or 2001 but unlikely for the full length).
Not many “locals” would qualify as such against this measure.
Most memorable for me was the flow of 1974 – our family was living at AZRI and I was a young lad with a keen interest in nature. As the creek subsided into a series of slowly diminishing waterholes, it became a small boy’s delight.
There were masses of tadpoles and frogs, of course – at least three species. There were many aquatic insects – water beetles, ranging from sand grains to 20 cent coins in size, water boatmen, caddis fly larvae, dragon fly larvae, and fearsome-looking water scorpions.
There were lots of snails and literally blood-red worms wriggling in the water, coloured by haemoglobin to extract oxygen from the water.
Most fascinating were the shield shrimps and transparent shell-shrimps (ostracods) that proliferated in the ponds.
This was my first introduction to these creatures, and I’ve never again seen as many as on that occasion, in a little short creek at AZRI that thousands of us pass by each day.

Alice Prize back in Gallery One. By KIERAN FINNANE.

The biennial Alice Prize, opening this year on April 30, will once again be presented in Araluen’s Galleries One and Three, as will the annual Advocate Art Award.
This news comes after controversy last year over the dedication of Gallery One to a permanent exhibition of Aboriginal art to be be taken down only for the exhibition of Desert Mob, the annual show of recent work from Aboriginal art centres of the region.
The Alice Prize and the Advocate Art Award were to be relegated to Gallery Three and Witchetty’s, refurbished as a multi-purpose arts space.
Director of the Araluen Precinct, Tim Rollason, announced the news as part of the program launch for the arts centre last Friday.
Among other points of interest at the launch was the announcement of the acquisition by the Friends of Araluen of a superb, monumentally-scaled (200 x 500cm) landscape drawing (pictured) of the Larapinta Valley by one-time Alice resident,  Dutch-born Robert Klein-Boonschate.
The work won the NT Art Award (which has now amalgamated with the Advocate Art Award) in 1993 without ever being acquired. It had languished in the storeroom until unearthed recently by curator Kate Podger who approached the Friends with a recommendation to buy the work.
It is currently on show as part of an enlarged Paper Cuts show of works on paper from the Araluen Art Collection (the Friends have donated the Klein-Boonschate work to the collection).
The performing arts line-up announced on Friday includes a concert by Shellie Morris in April; the Big hART production, Namatjira, in August;  Circus Oz in September; Wombat Stew (a musical for kids adapted from the famous storybook), also in September; and TaikOZ, a dynamic taiko drumming group, featuring also a solo dance choreographed by Meryl Tankard, in October.
Then to crown it all, the play, When the Rain Stops Falling, which premiered in Adelaide in 2008, will finish its national tour here in November.
The story opens in Alice Springs in 2039 where it seems that an 80 year old prediction about a flood that would overcome the human race is coming true (after the last week, readers might think this scenario has gained considerably in credibility).
Among local performers featuring in the program are the zany duo, Circosis (Sarah Mason - pictured  - and Andrew “Cooky” Cook), with a full-length show, their first, in June.
They gave a teaser on Friday and their combination wit, vaudeville and circus tricks promises to please.

Production in the desert. By KIERAN FINNANE.

Women’s role in food production in the desert is the subject of a temporary exhibition opening this Sunday at the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame (Old Gaol, Stuart Terrace).
It has responded to the 2010 theme of Women’s History Month (March) which is “Demeter’s daughters: women’s harvest history”.
Anne Scherer, formerly interpretation officer with Parks and Wildlife, and also a grower, with husband Tim, of dates and figs at Deep Well, has put the 13-panel exhibition together.
Titled Desert Harvest History – No place for a woman?, it starts with Aboriginal women’s food gathering and moves through the early homestead and market gardens that followed white settlement, the development of the farm area, the niche horticulture businesses and, of course, what has become the predominant land-use in Central Australia, grazing for meat production.
It’s not easy to uncover women’s roles in the official history which is dominated by the names of men, says Ms Scherer, but plenty of women have made a contribution and “got their hands dirty” in primary industry in the Centre.
In putting the display together she has been struck by the truth of the saying, “everything old is new”, cycling through the original Aboriginal gathering story, to the interest in bush tucker products today, through the Chinese and Afghan market gardens to the Vietnamese market garden of today.
Time and space does not allow the display to be comprehensive. For example her own story has been deleted in favour of the earlier women date growers, Sue (Ursula) de Fontenay and Trudi Luedi, past operators with their husbands of the date gardens just south of the Gap.
Independent MLA for MacDonnell Alison Anderson will launch Desert Harvest History at 5.30pm on Sunday.
There’s free entry to the Old Gaol from 4pm and the launch will be followed by refreshments and music. – Kieran Finnane

Swimming against the current. By POP VULTURE with CAMERON BUCKLEY.

Like red mud a long time coming,  Melbourne producer and Combat Wombat DJ “Monkey Marc”, gives the underground his debut solo offering.
This release is reviewed by way of a conversation between  a Todd riverside rescuer who knows little of music and a swimmer who knows much of music but little of swimming.
RESCUER: What word of “Please don’t swim in the river” don’t you understand?
SWIMMER: Sometimes the only words best heard aren’t spoken! Music is a tool of evocation!  It summons emotion, thought and idealism.
RESCUER: Here’s an emotional idea! Why don’t you get out of the river?
SWIMMER: Like the release of Monkey Marc’s album, what I am doing is a statement, symbolic if you will. By me floating here I represent one brick in the dam wall that impedes the seemingly uninterrupted flow of “Pepsi Choice” music that saturates the minds and bodies of the consensus youth. 
Monkey Marc’s Album (As The Market Crashed) is another arsenal addition, a soundtrack to the neo-style trench warfare against the plastic devastation weapons of mainstream music. You see it’s not me that needs rescuing! It’s choice itself!
RESCUER: Rescuing choice eh? I don’t think that’s in my job description!
So what constitutes good music these days?
SWIMMER: Why, choice! The ability to refrain from the constrictions of one category, and this album, which is currently doubling as a miniature life raft, is a paradigm of such an ability.
It’s like a time signature attached to a compass, strong global sounds abound. With that unmistakeable sway of Dub, stepping its way back and fourth like some blurry drunk punching bag swinging in an empty.
And it all begins with a sample from “Blues for Gamblers”, an old blues record featuring “Lightning Hopkins, Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry”, that true delta sound that holds an eerie significance to life in the central desert.
Then add a canteen of Hip Hop to this backpack of beats, and you’ll end up somewhere nearabouts a description of this album’s content. 
Soft is the sensory suicide, it’s quite the peaceful journey this album, really a gentle killer.
RESCUER : You mean all this time I could have  been exploring this world you speak of! This colourful terrain of transgression!
SWIMMER: Yes. You can even sport that fluorescent jacket, that ever glorious, ever present glow. Cos’ real music transcends fashion, moves outside circles and swims against the current.
As the Market Crashed resembles more an artistic installation, a drumming monkey peaking out of a tired black and white wall. One brick in the dam wall!
It’s really you that needs the lifeline, leave the shore and wade into difference!
Monkey Marc often swims by here, working with fellow Combat Wombat MC “Elf Transporter” constructing Hip Hop workshops around local communities.
And prone to the odd improvised show, can be caught and caged live if you keep an ear on town musical proceedings.

Better place for solar unit. LETTER from JOHN CHILDS.

Sir – There may be an alternative site for the solar plant and array at Araluen.
There is plenty of vacant land at the southern part of the site – see image. The rectangular outline top right is roughly the proposed site, while bottom left is what seems to me a good alternative site. The line connecting both shows where existing building services are at the rear of the Araluen building and the distance to the two sites.
I don’t have a copy of the draft development plan, so don’t know if other uses are proposed for the alternative location. The draft plan has been removed from the department website, replaced with the message, “A revised Development Plan for the Araluen Cultural Precinct will be available in February 2010 on this website”.)
In terms of the main connection from the new solar plant room to the existing building services, the currently proposed location is slightly FURTHER than the alternative at the the southern end.
In terms of the “icon display” aspect, a southern location actually makes as much sense because it allows a continuous interpretive loop through ALL parts of Araluen and could include the cemetery if desired.
It would also improve the balance in overall site layout by retaining more of an even distribution of buildings / facilities on the overall site.
John Childs
Alice Springs

ED – The Alice News invited Director of the Araluen Precinct, Tim Rollason, to comment and specifically asked whether other locations and other ways of reducing the centre’s carbon emissions had been considered. Through a spokesperson he provided the following:
Several locations of the solar plant on the Araluen Cultural Precinct were considered by the Alice Solar City Committee, however they were deemed not suitable due to technical, practical or ongoing maintenance issues. The most suitable location is adjacent to the Araluen Art Centre.
This project, as part of the Alice Solar City program, was incorporated into the consultation of the Draft Araluen Cultural Precinct Development Plan, which involved two community consultation sessions held late in 2009 in addition to a 15 week public comment period.
An information display of the Araluen solar air conditioning project has also been on display at the Araluen Art Centre for several weeks.  In addition to this a further information session on the project will be held in the coming weeks.
The Araluen has over a number of years made a strong effort to reduce its carbon emissions, however the reductions that will be achieved by the installation of the solar air conditioning, a world first for such a cultural institution, will be so large that it will reduce the electricity usage for air conditioning by an estimated  50% and gas usage by an estimated 70% per annum.Mr Rollason advised that the revised development plan will now be available on the departmental website in April.
Araluen is iconic enough

Sir – I wish to respond to Araluen Director Tim Rollason’s claim (Alice News, Feb 25) that the Araluen planned solar array will stand no more than two metres high and will not abscure the view of Big Sister Hill.
Please tell us, Tim, how high the fence will have to be to keep large rocks from being thrown and damaging the highly polished reflectors? This is the sad reality in our town.
How safe is the 8m high heat exchanger (absorption chiller) tower sitting beside the main building? I understand that it will be running superheated steam or brine at about 140 degrees C. (If my data is incorrect it is because we aren’t being told the details).
How can Tim defend an obvious no-brainer? I really feel sorry that he is put in this position, but at the end of the day his role is to defend our wonderful arts facility and surrounds.
To have it defaced by this “iconic project”, as he calls it, puts into question his aesthetic values.
For an (arts)  director to be defending the indefensible, an aesthetic nightmare, simply beggers belief. Moving the facility a couple of metres to appease Central Craft changes nothing.
Mark Wilson
Alice Springs

LETTERS: King’s Canyon in hot water over service.LETTERS: King’s Canyon in hot water over service.

Sir – I am writing to share with you my horrible experience at the Kings Canyon Resort recently.
I live in Alice Springs and often have people from other states visiting. After my experience of the Kings Canyon Resort I would not recomend anyone to go there.
I addressed the letter below [ED – slightly edited] to the Acting Manager and Delaware North Companies who took ownership of the resort in November 2009 and have since contacted me to advise of the actions they intend on taking [ED – reproduced also below] and with an offer for me to have free accommodation in the future (which I have not yet accepted as I would prefer to sleep rough than to return to that so called “resort”):-
On Saturday 20/2/10 we arrived at Kings Canyon Resort at around 8pm expecting that we were going to be staying in a “cabin” as this is what I had booked over the phone a couple of weeks prior at $175 per night for three people.
The cabin turned out to be nothing but a bug infested room with previous people’s leftover food still in fridge and questionable linen with stains and burn holes.
We could not drive up to the door as with all other cabins I have ever stayed at – we had to lug all our gear 50 or more meters from the car park.
The kitchen where we had planned to prepare our dinner, breakfast and lunch for the following day had no lights, no power, no cutlery, crockery or cooking equipment and also an infestation of bugs.
The shared bathroom stunk of sewerage or untreated grey water and was full of bugs and creatures.
I went to reception to complain, where I was advised that we should submit a complaint to the manager’s email address as they had “run out” of complaint forms and that they had been having problems with cleaners (not really my problem).
I was told that I could purchase an upgrade for $29. I refused to pay for an upgrade given the situation and was upgraded free of charge.
The new room had no front light, smelt badly of sewerage, still had no cooking facilities whatsoever and, although it looked much nicer and had its own bathroom, was still full of cobwebs and bugs, had burn holes in linen and only had two towels and two mugs for the three of us.
We had no access to cooking facilities, not even a toaster.
I phoned reception – they could not offer me any assistance other than to heat our dinner in the office microwave.
They still could not offer any cup/mug, bowl to heat our food in or cutlery for us to eat with or a towel.
We went to reception supposing that we could eat our dinner with our one teaspoon which was in the room. The young man there offered us his own personal cutlery, whilst the other young man mocked us for not bringing our own cutlery if we were camping and for staying at a resort and not eating out as he suggested most people who stay at resorts do.
We reminded him that we had booked a cabin. We were not campers and it did not seem unreasonable to us to expect that there would be at least a shared kitchen if not a kitchenette with cutlery, crockery and cooking equipment supplied as with all other cabins we had previously stayed at.
We asked what they would do to assist us with breakfast and preparing our lunch for the following day as we had planned. They could not offer us any assistance other than using one of the other two camp kitchens or going to the hugely overpriced restaurant.
They advised that rooms are not allowed to have a toaster in them as it is a safety issue.
I found this to be strange considering the rooms have an iron, kettle and hair dryer– why are they not safety concerns? Did I mention that I overheard another complaint about the facilities whilst we were in reception?
The following morning we attempted to use another kitchen – the oven was broken, so with no other option we went to the third kitchen, which was a complete mess and full of bugs. We did not have breakfast nor were we able to prepare our lunch as we had planned.
This place is a disgrace as far as safety, hygiene, cleanliness and price is concerned.
This “resort” [seems to have] been purposely set up in a way which manipulates people into having to eat out at its extremely overpriced restaurants and if they are run anything like the accommodation I would not touch the food for fear of becoming ill.
In this situation [a person] we believed to be a senior staff member was sitting in an office nearby the reception desk – he heard our complaints and did not bother to talk with us.
Charmaine Kelly
Alice Springs

ED – A copy of the letter in response from Delaware North Australia Parks & Resorts Managing Director Wayne Kirkpatrick is reproduced in part below, having been provided by the company.

Dear Charmaine,
Thank you for your time on the phone and in the first instance by means of your email bringing to my attention, the very many shortcomings at Kings Canyon you experienced during  your recent visit.
It’s simply unacceptable for rooms to be unclean, with cobwebs and bugs, for food to be left in the fridge by a prior guest, for linen to be stained and have holes in it.
Of equal concern, perhaps more so, is the attitude of some of the staff according to your email.
Again, this is unacceptable.
All staff should always be helpful, courteous and eager to please. Nothing should be impossible.
Kings Canyon is a special place and it’s critical to have good people to run it if we hope to be successful.
We’re in the process of replacing the entire senior management team there, ranging from a new General Manager (Helen West has been acting in this role under difficult circumstances to assist the transition), a new Food and Beverage Manager, a new Executive Chef and a new Maintenance Manager, to name a few.
I’m confident that we’ll improve the standards there to a high level in time as a result of these changes and our preparedness to invest capital where it’s needed. Your note will be very helpful in this regard.
As to value, again, as I explained, we share your view that Kings Canyon, and the restaurant / cafe offerings in particular, do not represent good value for money. 
We must address this too and already this exercise of considering various operational change options has started.
We’d be delighted if you would consider visiting there again in the near future from your home in Alice Springs, after we’ve settled the new team in, invested funds and made many of the necessary changes and improvements I anticipate will be implemented on the basis of your helpful criticisms and those of others we’ve also received. 
You would be our guest on a complimentary basis, in effect a “mystery shopper” and as a result I would then welcome your comments once more.

LETTERS: Consultation ‘two autistics talking to each other’

Sir – Hal Duell (Letters, Feb 25) makes several points that with all due respect I have to take issue with.
I agree that across cultural divides much is lost in translation. This is often brought home to me when bureaucrats come to Yuendumu to ‘consult’ or ‘engage with’ the ‘community’. I have heard such meetings described as “two autistics talking to each other” (no offence to people affected directly or indirectly with this neurological disorder is intended).
As for “..if a culture is to remain alive, its original language must be preserved...”:
“Cultural survival is not about preservation, sequestering indigenous peoples in enclaves like some sort of zoological specimens. Change itself does not destroy a culture. All societies are constantly evolving. Indeed a culture survives when it has enough confidence in its past and enough say in its future to maintain its spirit and essence through all the changes it will inevitably undergo. It is not change that will destroy culture but power.’
— Wade Davis, The Massey Lectures, Century of the Wind on Radio National’s Big Ideas program, Feb 25, 2010.
As for “So I applaud the NT government’s decision to teach the first four hours of the school day on remote communities in English ...  Where else will those students learn the national language?”: I’ve witnessed the introduction of bilingual education (Warlpiri/English) at Yuendumu School and its subsequent ups and downs.
I’ve seen it get strong and effective and I’ve seen it eroded by bureaucratic sabotage and ignorance. And I’ve seen it effectively killed off by the four-hours English only policy.
At its height it produced a ‘crop’ of fully bilingual literate students, and guess what, those that went through Yuendumu School at that time are now our best English speakers!
I don’t know how many times I’ve repeated it, the purpose of a bilingual program is NOT, I repeat NOT, to deny those children the English Language; it is not to retard their intellectual development by forcing them to learn in a language they do not (yet) understand.
Por ejemplo si hubieran tratado de enseñarte a escribir oh leer en español en vez de ingles, creo que posiblemente no te estuviera contestando.
The final word to T.G.H.Strelow (1958): “.... There is no need to fear that their own languages will interfere with the learning of English as the common medium of expression for all Australians.
In most areas of Australia the natives have been bilingual, probably from time immemorial. Today white Australians are among the few remaining civilized people who still think that knowledge of one language is the normal limit of linguistic achievement.”
Frank Baarda,

Wide benefits of own language learning

Sir – Hal Duell (Letters, Feb 25) says that “the purpose of a taxpayer-funded public school system is to enable children to succeed in the national culture”.
Fair enough. Some people in bush communities won’t have any interest in succeeding in the national culture, but they all have the right to be taught how to.
Then he goes on to say: “So I applaud the NT government’s decision to teach the first four hours of the school day on remote communities in English.”
The program ‘Lingua Franca’ on Radio National on February 27 featured an interview with a Canadian professor of Psychology on his work with Inuit (Eskimo) children in the north of Canada.
He studied the educational outcome for children in remote communities where there was a choice between education in Inuktitut for the first three years and then a switch to a national language (either French or English, depending on the community), or education in the national language right from the start.
The results were that the children who were educated in their mother tongue for the first three years:
• caught up to the other children in French or English before the end of their primary school years;
• were better at speaking, thinking and reading in their own language than the other children, as well as being just as good in the national language;
• were better at abstract thinking than the children who had been in the national-language-only program.
It is only common sense to expect that children will do better at school if they don’t have to waste the first couple of years trying to catch on to the language their teacher is speaking to them in.
But this research shows that the range of benefits is perhaps wider than people might have thought.
The interview can be heard on
Gavan Breen
Alice Springs

Haven complaint resolved

Sir – In June 2008, several trainee lifeguards launched an anti-discrimination complaint against The Haven Resort in Alice Springs.
We are happy to announce that on February 2, 2010, the matter was resolved.
Enid Gallagher, a Mt Theo Committee member, and one of the complainants has stated the following:
We have met with Haven, they said sorry.
We have accepted that apology.
They have had Anti-Discrimination training.
We are happy with that mob. They did the right thing now. We have no problem with that mob now.
Mt Theo Program is grateful to the previous Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, the late Tony Fitzgerald, and the Acting Anti-Discrimination Commissioner, Lisa Coffey for their tireless efforts to bring this to a successful resolution.
Amelia Watson
Mt Theo Program

Stories of governesses

Sir – I am currently researching governesses who worked in Australia during the nineteenth century. 
I am appealing for information from the general public, and I believe your readers may have some information to share, and may also be interested in the progress of the research.
More information: <>.
Kate Matthew

McGuigans in Alice?

Sir – I am trying to track down family in Alice Springs.  
My aunty’s name is Sadie McGuigan, originally from Belfast in Northern Ireland.
Her deceased husband was Joesph McGuigan who I think passed around the late ‘80s. 
Debbie Graham
Northern Ireland

LETTERS: Trev vs Charlie: Camel debate at fever pitch

Sir –  Re Dr Carter’s letter of Feb 18, most of my information was derived from the BBC world service, and our own national newspaper, and these sources should hardly need substantiation, as he puts it.
I am well aware of the 30% unsuitability for slaughter criteria from our local abattoir, but would suggest Dr Carter ask the SA operators as mentioned recently in the national newspaper, and the SA press (APY lands responds to camel cull) what they propose to do with the extra 70% as they are wanting to increase their throughput to 500 a week.  This equates to, conservatively, 20,000 a year – about a quarter of the alleged national increase, and once the commercial disincentives are removed this number will increase.
I repeat that the solution to the current situation is commercial, as is being displayed in SA. What is happening there should be happening here, but the bureaucratic negativism based on why things cannot be done here is impeding a solution. 
It would be sad to see opportunities go wanting because they are not seen as substantiated by the purists.
The time to start planning for the future camel industry is now, or we will again miss the boat as we have done with so many industries.
There is a glaring opportunity to do this on the AZRI field, where an international research, planning, and demonstration  facility for all that our area has to offer, including camel science, bush tucker research, and demonstration of what is possible, for the benefit of the Indigenous community could be a world class  attraction, and have a huge social impact on what can be done here. 
The short sightedness of our thinking is well illustrated by the fact that this land  will inevitably go under housing, unless we speak up. 
Again Dr Carter with his expertise and contacts, could play a major role, should he choose to, and aim for both emerging industries to be  free of government funding. All it needs is incentives, but currently what is offered is disincentives  and bureaucratic blockages. Correspondence  from Peter Garret’s office to me says the culling program is “essential if future costs are to be constrained.” Is this their real criterion?
What about the obvious benefits of having a new and planned industry here?
What this means is rather unclear when if commercial disincentives to harvest these animals are well and truly in place in the NT – that only leaves governments to handle the current situation.                  
I would also respectfully suggest that Dr Carter ask Steven Smith, Foreign Affairs Minister, and Lindsay Tanner, Finance Minister, why it is that Australia is currently spending around 3.5% of GDP on foreign aid as against the UN benchmark of 5%.
Should not some of the difference be used in removing the surplus animals by converting them into a produce suitable for distribution as disaster relief, and overseas aid? 
Only yesterday the WFO was appealing again for one million meals for Haiti, and it is only a matter of time before we have a similar event closer to home.  
I leave it to Dr Carter to calculate the difference in $ terms between what we are expected to contribute overseas, and what we actually  do but you can be assured that it will be substantially more than the $19 million so far allotted for the cull.
This puts Mr Garret’s statement of constraining further costs onto a different perspective.
Mr Garret also seems to indicate in his letter to me that one of his concerns is exploitation of Indigenous people by unscrupulous operators.
That is obviously happening with the APY operations but one has to wonder at the Docker River operation where processors were keen to get in and do the job but were prevented from entering.  
There seems to be an expectation at Federal level that communities will be exploited, and that they should be protected from commercial realities at all costs.
There has also been a proposal to start a camel milk industry here, which has been met with a degree of scepticism (Dr Carter would probably call it unsubstantiated  stupidity ). To others it is far reaching thinking, something not common here.
Holland has a commercial camel milk industry catering for the substantial Islamic European community  and growing rapidly.
Dubai has a growing Halal based camel milk industry, including even camel milk chocolate, and Saudi has the largest conventional dairy in the world with 100,000 animals, and we sit next to a 250 million Islamic nation with an exploding and affluent middle class and doing nothing to encourage or plan entering that market.
Instead we have knockers (a boom industry if we could export them).
Trevor Shiell                 
Alice Springs

ADAM'S APPLE: The armchair approach.

In the timeline of a man’s life there is a day. A day that may seem unremarkable to those around him but is incredibly tough for the man to push through.
It is a day of reckoning and at the end of that day, each man loses a little of himself.
This day happened for me too. Boxing Day 1999. Sure it was over a decade ago but I remember the moment as clearly as it was yesterday.
I was at my grandmother’s house. It was Boxing Day and the extended family was all in the lounge room watching the Boxing Day Test Match.
We were particularly excited because Brett Lee, the much talked about New South Wales speedster was making his test debut. What could this young kid do on Australian cricket’s most prestigious of stages?
Lee came on first drop. Nan mentioned that he was a good looking young man. So did Tony Greig. His stats came up on the television. It was then that my heart dropped. I sat in Nan’s comfy lounge chair and cried a little to myself on the inside. I could feel a little bit of my soul coughing the cough only souls can cough when they are on their last legs. I sunk a little into the lounge.
There it was. White letters on a green background. Name: Brett Lee. Bowl: Right Arm Fast. DOB: 30 November 1976.
Brett Lee is a whole 14 months younger than I am. He was the first Australian cricketer born after me and it was that realization that prompted the next. It dawned on me that day that no matter how great I played in the after Boxing Day lunch family cricket match, I, Adam Connelly, Left Arm Slow, DOB 26 September 1975, was never going to play cricket for Australia.
With no father to ask, I wondered silently to myself the entire rest of the day. I played well in the game of backyard cricket but could have played better if not for this pall over my head.
Later, when bonding with people my own age I realised that this is a day all men face.
When we are boys we idolise the Australian Cricket Captain. We think of them as superheroes. Modern Greek gods sending down lightning bolts made of red leather and holding tridents of willow.
Now as men we begrudgingly respect the captaincy. Because we all know that given the opportunity, the dedication, the talent and the genetics, we too could have been the captain of the Australian cricket team.
There are many strategies to cope with this tragic voyage of self discovery. Some men try and hide from cricket. The pain is too overwhelming. Their very manhood questioned by the sight of 11 men in canary yellow. They take up computer games or jogging or alcoholism. Some try and bolster their manliness by becoming stock brokers or financial consultants. Most of us however cope with it by becoming armchair supercoaches.
Now I’ve seen snow maybe four times in my life. I played a little ice hockey at school and I could never ski a black diamond. Give me a television, a place to sit and enough refreshments to get me through a long night of the Winter Olympics however and I’ll tell you how you can win gold.
If you live within a hundred metres or so from me, you may have heard someone shouting a strange sentence late one night last week. You may have heard a man yell “My Nan can curl better than that!”
Don’t worry. It wasn’t some mid perm disaster. It was just me yelling at the Canadian Curling Team. Now my Nan is 84 this year and a bit forgetful. So it is more likely that she’ll think the “rock” or as we call it here in Australia “the thing they chuck down the ice in curling” is a new fangled iron and will try and press my underpants like she did when I was six.
But that doesn’t stop the armchair supercoach. Nothing does. Except playing cricket for Australia.

Government’s first botanist dies. OBITUARY by DES NELSON.

The botanist who established the Herbarium of the Northern Territory, in Alice Springs in 1954, passed away in Canberra on February 16, aged 88 years.
He was George Chippendale, appointed first resident NT Government botanist under the leadership of Colonel Lionel Rose, remaining in the position until 1966.
He had grown up in Sydney and served in New Guinea during World War II, where he contracted malaria.
After the war he studied taxonomic botany in Sydney.
To establish the herbarium he travelled all over the Territory and into adjoining states to build his plant collection, discovering previously unknown species along the way.
Among his exploration feats, in 1959, was retracing the route taken by explorers Giles and Gosse in the NT Western Desert in the 1870s.
George pioneered pasture assessment methods for Central Australia and published numerous botanical and ecological papers.
His work was well received in Australia and internationally. He was appointed for a year to Kew in the UK as Australian liaison botanist.
At his recommendation, together with that of CSIRO colleague Bob Winkworth, Sturt’s Desert Rose was adopted as the floral emblem of the NT in 1962.
Other botanists named newly discovered plants after George, among them Acacia chippendalei and the prominent Western Desert bushtucker plant, Solanum chippendalei.
George transferred to the ACT in 1966 to work with the Forestry and Timber Bureau and CSIRO but always maintained contact with and an interest in the NT.

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