ALICE SPRINGS NEWS
June 30, 2011. This page contains all
major reports and comment pieces in the current edition.
To our home page.
Emily catalogue would cast
light on forgeries.
By ERWIN CHLANDA.
Emily Kame Kngwarreye, from the Sandover River region north-east of
Alice Springs, died penniless in 1996 but her paintings sold – and are
selling – for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Her works hang in the Australian National Gallery in Canberra, in the new indigenous art
wing (photo below courtesy
of the Australian National Gallery, Canbera: 22 works
dominate the entrance hall to Australia's top indigenous art gallery.)
of Japan were "ecstatic" when 120 of Kngwarreye's works were shown
there in 2008, according to curator Margo Neale, of the National Museum
"Here we are – Emily from Utopia we now can say in the same breath as
Monet, Modigliani, Cezanne and so on," Ms Neale said at the time on the
ABC, in a comment about the largest exhibition by an Australian artist
to be seen overseas.
But there is still no authoritative catalogue of Kngwarreye's work,
says a prominent figure in the Central Australian indigenous art scene,
who did not wish to be named.
He says such a catalogue should now be compiled, to protect the
reputation of the artist and the interests of collectors while
forgeries – and genuine 'Emilies' – are still surfacing. He says
artists Freddy and Lenny Jones made an appeal as long ago as 2000 for
imitators to stop "doing old lady's paintings".
They say in a letter (pictured
- names are blanked out but Alice Springs News Online has the version
with the names showing) that a prominant woman artist who has since
copying Kngwarreye's work. And the letter writers said false claims
were being made about relationships to country and money issues by some
imitators and forgers.
The source says some of the forgeries can be detected easily because
paints, canvas and linen used were not available in Kngwarreye's
The existence of fake Emilies, and low-grade originals, has been known
for many years and these facts are not setting the art world on fire.
Christopher Hodges has dealt in Central Australian art for many years,
and owns Utopia Art Sydney. He says Kngwarreye's "top group of works,
hundreds not thousands" of pieces, possess an immediately noticeable
"They stand apart," says Mr Hodges. "All people who have studied
Emilies will recognize what's true and authentic. The range is
Nevertheless, a catalogue raisonné should be drawn up, he says.
The question is, by whom?
"It would be a challenging task for a good scholar," he says. "All the
people who had a vested commercial interest in Emilies during her
lifetime have their own perspective."
Mr Hodges, whoworked with Kngwarreye, says she was in a very
different position of, say, white painters living in a city, who have
access to alternate employment during lean times. Kngwarreye did not,
and she was under constant pressure to provide for a big family, an
obligation "Aboriginal way". The only opportunity for her to make money
was to paint.
"If someone said I have $1000 and I need 10 paintings by Friday she
would deliver – but they would get what they paid for," says Mr Hodges.
In addition to that there was a group of family members, hangers on,
peers – a whole School of Emily, who copied her work, not necessarily
without her knowledge.
But her top authentic works will always be a national treasure, says Mr
An end to the stink of Perfume Creek? By
The inadequacy – becoming acute yet again
– of the Alice Springs sewage treatment plant seems set for a
Perfume Creek is flowing again but all or some of this overflow may
soon have a far more useful destination.
In official parlance that waterway is called St Mary's Creek. It is fed
by partially treated sewage from the settlement ponds just outside The
Gap. The ponds rely on evaporation – essentially wasting billions of
of water a year in the driest part of the driest inhabited continent on
When the weather cools, evaporation slows and sewage escapes into the
swamp and St Mary's Creek.
It flows on the surface, crosses under Ilparpa Road and the Stuart
Highway (pictured) through
makes its way south along the eastern side of the Stuart Highway.
A decade ago, Power & Water, which is responsible for sewage
disposal, was given a December 2006 deadline to
stop "dry weather discharge" from the sewage ponds. It still hasn't.
And it doesn't get much drier than this: monthly rainfall this year, in
millimeters (for those still on the old scale, 25 mm is an inch):-
January 64.2; February 107.6; March 120; April 0; May 2; and June so
There is a pipeline from the main ponds to new settlement ponds on AZRI
land, near where the 1200-block Kilgariff suburb is planned.
These ponds were 10 years in the making but clearly are not up to their
or Perfume Creek would be dry.
And the project still doesn't have an end user for the water, beyond a
75 ML allocation to AZRI for future use. It has been hoped to attract a
horticulture business as an end user but that search has been going for
years and has still not borne fruit.
One thing that has changed is the disappearance of the term "dry
discharge" from the Power & Water vocabulary.
"This discharge and others fall within our existing operating licence
with the Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and
Sport (NRETAS)," a spokesperson for Power & Water said this week.
Of course the people who run NRETAS are the same people who own Power
& Water, namely the Territory Government.
So the NT Government is giving the NT Government permission to break NT
Power & Water says it is heading a consortium
"working on long-term solutions that may alleviate the need for
The consortium includes the Arid Lands Environment Centre, COOLmob,
the Town Council, Tourism NT and NRETAS. It is not surprising that more
than half of the $15m budget for their program comes from Canberra.
Much of it is about telling people to use less water – shower with a
But Power & Water also says it is "looking at a major investment in
infrastructure that would allow some large water users to use recycled
This is good news but it also raises concerns about the current, long
Well informed sources say the "major investment" is upgrading the DAF
plant at the town's main sewage disposal facility – apparently
$8.5 million infrastructure project mentioned in the March
for Dissolved Air Floatation, removing solids from the raw
sewage. At present, as we understand it, that water does not have
Health Department clearance for use where it can come in contact with
The only commercial user at present is Blatherskite Park, the show
grounds, where a patch of lucerne fodder and the oval are being
irrigated with that water.
However, users of the grounds are warned of its impurities and the
risks associated with it.
The warning is included in the usage agreement and on signs around the
We hear the infratsructure upgrade is due to be announced on July 12,
at 1pm in the Mall,
Now for the bad news: what comes out of the DAF plant right now is
clearly dangerous to people. This will be the case until the plant is
upgraded, a process that will apparently take 18 months.
That water now flows past a children's home, the new houses where
people learn how to live in a suburban context, a place where babies
are born and the
News Online will
report updates as they come to hand. Google our archive for related
reports going back to 1997, and a dossier
preceding that date.)
convention last chance to empower Alice Springs
OPINION by ALDERMAN JOHN RAWNSLEY after a lively
exchange on Twitter between him, Prof Rolf Gerritsen and the Alice Springs News Online.
Section 121 of the Australian constitution provides for an avenue for
new States to be admitted. It will be a decision of the
Australian Parliament on the ‘terms and conditions’ they see fit.
The consent of other State governments or its people through a national
referendum will not be required.
Under this process the sticky points will likely be those that have a
direct effect on the Australian Parliament, such as how many Senators
we will be entitled to (all other States have twelve, a number which
will be unlikely for us, but in any event it is likely we will receive
more than the current two).
My focus, however, is what our new State will look like internally.
The upcoming constitutional convention is a blank canvas. It
will be up to elected delegates (three from each electorate) to show
Territorians what this new State would look like.
This constitutional convention is a once only
opportunity. I will be putting my hand up as a delegate and, if
elected, will be working with other delegates from all sides of the
political spectrum for a united position. We need fundamental
change, and with the new city of Weddell near Darwin expected to grow
by 73,000 people within ten years, if we don’t achieve structural
now as to how we are governed then places like Alice Springs will be
irrelevant as we move forward. If we don’t get it right this
time, in terms of coming up with a new way of empowering regions such
as Central Australia as distinct from the current power base of the
capital of Darwin, then we will likely never have another opportunity.
I haven’t stated a position either for or against Statehood, but
strongly agree with the process that is to take place which will
ultimately be decided by Territorians.
PROF GERRITSEN comments:
I didn't say
(in last week's article by Kieran Finnane) that the Commonwealth would
in future renege on our statehood.
But, they could amend the Statehood Act to override the NT Assembly –
for example over euthanasia, if the NT's politicians ever again muster
the courage to enact it! So we are left where we are now.
The problem of our referendum vote not counting as a jurisdiction could
be overcome by counting us as part of the national vote (as happens
now) and then including our vote in South Australia's. Other
territories have that happen to them; Lord Howe Island is counted as
part of NSW; I think Norfolk is too. I don't know about Christmas and
Cocos-Keeling, but they are counted in the NT for federal election
In my opinion getting the distributional architecture right in the NT
is a must. We need a form of fiscal constitution before the
Commonwealth will even countenance statehood. I think Mr Rawnsley is
with me on that?
Google statehood in our five million word
Shooter pleads guilty, says he was on Ice. By
The man charged over the shooting of Paul Wallace, near Junction
Waterhole north of Alice Springs on May 29 last year, has pleaded
guilty – not to attempted murder, as originally charged, but to intent
to cause serious harm and causing serious harm. In extraordinary
developments during his plea hearing last week, he claimed that at the
time of the shooting he was heavily under the influence of the drug
Ice; he also offered to pay his victim restitution.
His plea was heard by Justice Judith Kelly. The no-nonsense judge
challenged him on his restitution offer, put by way of demonstrating
his remorse. She asked exactly what was being proposed, given that Mr
Wallce has lost his ability to practice his trade for the rest of his
life and that his time off work and extensive medical treatment have
almost rendered him bankrupt.
She described victims of crime compensation as "a pittance" in the
circumstances and asked Mr Nadich whether he, rather than the victim,
would be prepared to be the one who "lives in poverty" for the rest of
his life. If that were so, he should be prepared to enter into "a
When Mr Nadich, through his lawyer, agreed, Justice Kelly adjourned
sentencing to "enable Mr Nadich to put his money where his mouth is".
Prosecutor Michael McColm agreed to help the Defence establish the
figures involved, essentially the difference between the victim's
earning capacity before the shooting and his current earning capacity.
The intention is to draw up an enforceable deed. As a demonstration of
remorse, it would entitle Mr Nadich to some discount off his sentence.
If the deed were not complied with, he would have to serve more time in
The court had not previously heard Mr Nadich's claim that he had smoked
Ice before the shooting. Mr McColm did not object to the Defence
putting this forward as a fact, with no knowledge of the matter one way
or the other.
Mr Nadich had had a "florid poly-substance drug habit", said his
lawyer. It had led to him dealing in drugs himself, over which he had
been charged in Adelaide (a matter not yet dealt with) and also in
Alice Springs. He had been kept in custody for over a year awaiting
trial on the Alice drugs charges. Once convicted, the remainder of his
sentence was suspended and he walked from the Supreme Court on May 14,
2010. Under the conditions of his suspended sentence, he was not to
take any drugs. The shooting occurred on May 29.
As a remand prisoner he had received no drug rehabilitation although he
had not consumed in that time. On the night of the shooting he claims
he was given half a gram of Ice by Jason Corp, a passenger in the car
that had taken Mr Nadich to the vicinity of the waterhole. His lawyer
said he was "grossly affected" by the Ice as his resistance was
Justice Kelly said she would not be accepting "without evidence" the
relevance of the drug-taking or any of the other additional facts put
by the Defence in mitigation, especially as Mr Nadich had told police
"lie after lie" attempting to minimise his role in the events.
His lawyer put Mr Nadich in the witness box. Mr Nadich said he had
known Mr Corp in gaol, Mr Corp had produced the Ice on the night, and
"the temptation got to me". Asked how it made him feel, he said "happy,
high as normal".
He also claimed that he himself had been shot on the night, by a "wad"
(a cutdown cartridge), which had wounded his arm, causing swelling and
bruising; and that the victim, in a heated exchange with the occupants
of Mr Nadich's car, had said, "How would you like it if I get my gun
and shoot yous" or something similar. He said the combined affects of
his "altered state of consciousness", the shock at having been shot
himself, and the victim's words which he interpreted as a threat, made
him panic. He wound down the window and shot the victim, with a
single-barrel 12 gauge shotgun.
In cross-examination, Mr McColm asked Mr Nadich why he had taken drugs,
when he not been out of gaol three weeks and was on a good behaviour
bond. His lawyer objected: "Why is something drug addicts can't
Justice Kelly ruled that the question was fair in cross-eamination.
Mr Nadich said it was a relapse, that he had had no rehabilitation, as
it is not offered on remand.
"So, it's someone's else's fault?" asked Justice Kelly.
"No," said Mr Nadich. "I didn't address my issues with drugs, I still
When Mr McColm asked him why he had shot the victim, Mr Nadich
said it was "hard to say", he again referred to panicking but
said he didn't intend hurting the victim.
Justice Kelly reminded him that by his plea he had admitted intending
to cause serious harm. Why did he now say he did not intend to hurt the
victim? Mr Nadich didn't know; the only explanation he had was that he
The unexplained nature of the shooting was mentioned by Mr Wallace and
his partner, who had been present at the scene, in their victim impact
Mr Wallace said, "I don't understand why he shot me and never will." He
said it was a "random act" and that Mr Nadich is "a menace to society".
He called for the maximum penalty and hoped that Mr Nadich "never walks
the streets again".
His partner described the shooting as "beyond comprehension"; one year
later she still feels "incredulous". She said she has always been able
to find forgiveness for people who have hurt her in the past, to find
"some sort of understanding". But she can't find "any reasonable
explanation" for the shooting and sees it as "a black spot on my
soul to think I may never find forgiveness for this person or believe
that he is anything but a monster".
Mr Wallace is still in constant pain as a result of his injuries. It
affects his sleep and makes him short-tempered which has affected his
relationships with his children, friends and colleagues. He can no
longer work as a diesel mechanic nor take part in the many physical
activities that were part of his life – motorbike riding, off-road
racing, boxing, running, cycling.
His months off work have forced him to sell all his assets and spend
his savings. He said he is just about bankrupt, suffers from depression
and no longer has the energy to enjoy life as he used to.
The couple no longer live in Alice Springs.
you're sorry: judge.
By KIERAN FINNANE.
The guilty plea by Reuben Nadich in relation to the waterhole shooting
would likely not have been made without the willingness of the men
originally co-accused to give evidence against him.
The charges against them for the shooting were dropped at the committal
stage but both have since gone on to be tried for an assault that
occurred later on the same day, May 29, 2010. In April they pleaded
guilty to unlawfully causing serious harm to Jarrod Sellars. Sentencing
submissions were heard last week.
The two men are 38 year old Jason Corp and 20 year old Benjamin Gaff
(19 at the time of the assault).
According to the Crown facts the assault took place at Tony's
Auto-Wreckers, which at the time was both Mr Corp's place of business
and his residence. The business has since folded and won't reopen,
according to Mr Corp's lawyer.
Late in the evening of May 29 Mr Sellars was taken to the auto-wreckers
by Mr Nadich. He waited outside for a while, but was then told to come
inside. Shortly afterwards he was hit in the nose by Mr Gaff (a "king
hit", he said at committal, which broke his nose) and was elbowed in
the face by Mr Corp. When he tried to escape and scale a fence in the
yard, he was pulled down by Mr Corp, who told him to get down on the
ground and roll onto his back. Mr Corp then started to choke him and Mr
Gaff hit him with a shovel below the knee. The victim also felt the
blade of the shovel against his neck.
Mr Corp then appeared to help him by giving him a bowl of water and a
towel to clean himself with. He was on his knees when Mr Gaff kicked
him a number of times (with steel-capped boots, Mr Gaff has admitted).
The victim was later taken to hospital by Mr Nadich and has had facial
surgery for the injuries suffered during the assault. He now has a
permanent hole in the bone below his right eye socket. Medical opinion
cited by the Crown described the harm as "serious".
Mr Corp has been in custody since his arrest last June, while Mr Gaff
was released on bail before Christmas last year until his plea of
guilty in April, after which he returned to custody.
At the time of the assault Mr Corp was under a suspended sentence for
an assault on his former girlfriend and her son; in fact, like Mr
Nadich, he had only been out of gaol for a number of days and was under
a good behaviour bond when he got involved in the assault on Mr
As with Mr Nadich, sentencing submissions for the two men were heard by
Justice Judith Kelly, who again showed herself unwilling to accept
anything on face value. If the offenders claimed to be remorseful, she
Lawyer John McBride, acting for Mr Corp, admitted the Crown facts. He
suggested that the fact that his client had not applied for bail
demonstrated "some contrition" and an acknowledgement of seriousness of
Justice Kelly retorted that it was an acknowledgement of the
seriousness of his own situation.
Mr McBride said his client was intoxicated at the time, he'd drunk a
large number of beers and half a bottle of whisky.
Justice Kelly pointed out that he had had "sufficient mental acuity" to
observe and act on his observations during the unfolding assault.
On his prospects of rehabilitation, Mr McBride pointed to, among other
things, his relationship with his mother, who had "stood by him in a
Justice Kelly: "That says more for his mother than for him." She went
on to comment that family members can be the "collateral victims" of an
offence – it is "such a common story".
Mr McBride said that his client, to his regret, had not had a father
figure in his life.
Justice Kelly, who had heard that Mr Corp has fathered four children by
three mothers and has a "significant relationship" only with one, said:
"It hasn't motivated him to take an interest in his own children."
Mr McBride said the assault was not pre-meditated by his client.
Justice Kelly said that as no explanation had been offered for the
assault, she could not know that.
Lawyer Peter Elliott, acting for Mr Gaff, said his client accepts that
the assault was "a disgrace" and something that he is "completely
ashamed of". He referred to a psychiatric report made about his client,
but Justice Kelly warned him that she would not accept any opinion by
the psychiatrist as to Mr Gaff's remorse "without evidence". She said
that on a reading of the facts of the case she finds it "highly
unlikely that these people are at all sorry or remorseful" and that the
onus was on the Defence to establish that they were, "on the balance of
Mr Elliott referred to the observation of another judge that
submissions from the bar table ought to be accepted unless there is
strong reason not to. Justice Kelly produced her strong reason: It's
"inherently improbable" that the people who did this "could suddenly be
Mr Elliott then put Mr Gaff in the witness box.
Mr Gaff said he was ashamed of the assault because it was "stupid". He
said he was sorry because the victim did not "deserve" it. He referred
to Mr Corp having told him things about Mr Sellars that made him angry.
He said he used to "look up to" Mr Corp but did not now, "not at all",
and had asked to be kept away from both him and Mr Nadich while in
He said he had been drinking on the night because he was upset about
the shooting earlier in the evening. He said during the assault on Mr
Sellars he had been provoked by Mr Corp, who was yelling at him to hit
Mr Sellars again and then to stop. This was so Mr Corp could get Mr
Sellars' "ecstasy pills" off him.
Mr Elliott asked him what he thought of people who did what he had
done. Mr Gaff said they are "sad, lonely people who are hurting
He said he wanted to get on with his life, start a business,
living with his girlfriend, in a flat at his father's home, and that he
would be willing to promise the court not to drink alcohol for "as long
"What does that mean?" asked Justice Kelly.
Mr Gaff suggested five or 10 years and said he would be willing to be
randomly breath tested by police at any time of day or night.
In cross-examination Mr Gaff was taken to the shooting by Prosecutor
Michael McColm. He stunned the court when he suggested that the victim
of the shooting had threatened him and his passengers (Mr Corp and Mr
Nadich) with "an AK47 and 3000 rounds". Elaborating, he said the victim
had threatened to "hail us with bullets as we drove off".
Mr Gaff continued: "I said, 'With what?' and he said, 'With an AK47 and
Mr McColm suggested that was not true. Mr Gaff said he was "pretty
sure" he had put it into his statement to police. Justice Kelly
exclaimed, "This is becoming ridiculous!", but on objection by Mr
Elliott, withdrew the word "ridiculous".
There was more evidence led about the shooting until Mr Elliott
expressed his concern that it was not a matter for which his client was
being tried. Justice Kelly said the differing accounts given by Mr
Gaff of the events – to police, to the psychiatrist and to the
would be of assistance in assessing his reliability.
Mr McColm said the history of the events given to the psychiatrist was
not accurate, and that the Prosecution had never accepted that the
shooting victim threatened Mr Gaff and the occupants of his car.
Mr Elliott attempted to bring the argument back to Mr Gaff's acceptance
that what he did was "an outrage", that he didn't seek to excuse it,
that he should not have done it. However, Justice Kelly said that her
impression was that Mr Gaff was seeking, through his statements in the
witness box, to lessen his moral culpability.
Mr Elliott said his client was seeking to explain why things had
happened, not why they were OK. He said what happened was "completely
out of character" and pointed to the several testimonials about Mr Gaff
that said as much. He said Mr Gaff was a very good worker but, as
happens with a significant number of young men, he had fallen in with
the wrong crowd and gone off the rails. He argued that his prospects of
rehabilitation were "very, very good" and that the community as a whole
would be better served by his rehabilitation rather than by further
time spent in gaol. He pointed to the public gallery where a large
number of friends and family were present in support of Mr Gaff.
Justice Kelly commented that so many coming before the court "are not
She also asked for submissions regarding the implications for
sentencing of different versions of the same event that were now before
her. Mr McBride said his client was before the court on the facts
agreed with the Crown and that to take Mr Gaff's version into account
when sentencing him would be entirely to his disadvantage.
Mr Elliott accepted that Justice Kelly could take into account Mr
Gaff's comments only in relation to him and not to Mr Corp. Mr McColm
Sentencing was adjourned till July 15.
MOZZIE BITES falls in love
Last Friday I awoke suddenly with a gushing, flooded feeling. I had
been dreaming I was a part of a blood cell traveling down someone’s
thick red vein. We swerved the fleshy, wet corners and came gushing out
the severed end into a surprising pool of cool, blue water. I looked
around confused and then realized delightfully that I had simply been
in the red water slide at the new Aquatic and Leisure Centre. Lucky! It
may sound gruesome, but in all honesty this slumber simply shows my new
enthusiasm for the place!
When the Aquatic Centre opened a couple of months ago I was too busy
with assignments and dentistry problems to take much notice. Yeah,
yeah, yeah. I thought. So the project cost $18.3m – who cares? I was
simply obsessed with who was going to cover my tooth job!
When a good friend of mine showed horror at my lack of enthusiasm for a
pioneering visit, however, I decided it was time to drag myself down
there and have a look ...
When we stepped through the motion detector doors and felt the heated
air on our winter bodies my whole being began to well with delight. It
is becoming more rare in adulthood to feel such bewildered joy, but
looking at all the fresh, exciting inside-pool features made my heart
race and my eyes boggle. The old town pool was almost wiped instantly
from memory. Two massive, swooping waterslides (including my adored red
one), a beautifully shaped whirlpool, a spa, a toddler paddling area
and so much more is connected through one huge leisure pool. There is
an isle that sprays heated water when you walk through and many
fountains with their own quirky attributes. We jumped around like
children and ran our hands through one feature that pours water like a
fast growing afro. My favorite, however, is the shallow end’s bubble
mock ring of mushrooms that makes a perfect circle to meditate, or
Now, it’s been a few weeks since I first discovered the center and the
enthusiasm is starting to wear. Simple things, like are you trying to
kill us with so much chlorine!? Or, the promise of a café? It’s
hardly a canteen, guys, yet alone a kiosk. They don’t even know how to
use the coffee machine! That being said, I’ve promised myself to hold
onto that original feeling of wholesome love and over look the
On a practical level, the new solar heating system supposedly supplies
40% of the heating requirements for the indoor pools and will increase
to nearly 100% during summer. So, environmentalists and greenies can’t
complain too much!
More important, from what I’ve experienced, is that once you step into
the water and begin to wade, kids come up to you and ask if you wanna
play, or what’s your name. It is such a trusting, friendly environment.
One kid offered to lend me his blue-lensed goggles sporadically and
another instigated a game of hide and seek. Last weekend I took a work
colleague of mine there for the fist time and within half an hour he
had kids scrambling on him and being playfully thrown from his
shoulders. It was quite entertaining!
Though I’ll always remember fondly learning to swim in the old pool,
the two trampolines that provided endless hours of fun and the daggy
shade cloth picnic areas, which would have been directly beneath what
is now the Aquatic Center, I can’t help but feel pleased that Alice
Springs is finally getting some class. If this pool were in another
major town, or city in Australia I probably wouldn’t bat an eye, but
because it’s in my hometown, it seems so extraordinary!
Anyway, I really just wanted you all to know the passionate love affair
I am having with the Aquatic Centre. It’s beautiful.