@2 In response to Steve Brown, just a few points. First, …

Comment on LETTERS: Dr Boffa honoured. Offer in Todd Mall: Want a girl? How many generations, Steve? And the bicycle track’s missing link. by Alex Nelson.

@2 In response to Steve Brown, just a few points.
First, I’m well aware of the history and contribution of his parents, grandparents and relations to the history and development of Alice Springs and Central Australia, and that’s not in dispute. But they were not born here, and that is (as I understand it) the definition of being a “generation” of a certain locality. I’m happy to be corrected if I’m wrong but at present I stand by my assertion that both Steve and I are first-generation “Alicespringians”.
With regard to Lionel Rose’s role in the “gaff” of mistakenly ordering a dairy herd for White Gums, I can only state that the original source of that information to one of Rosey’s men is your father, Steve. And (to my knowledge) it wasn’t claimed as being a mistake at the time, quite a few years ago, when this story was first related – it was actually done so with a very much more positive regard to Colonel Rose. But perhaps this is a case of “Chinese whispers”, I don’t know.
With regard to AZRI, I can speak on this topic with a great deal more authority, having had (with the possible exception of my father) the longest continuous association with that area of land of any person alive.
Steve, do you recall that there was a proposal for a 180 hectare citrus orchard utilizing the town’s sewage effluent to be established on AZRI in the early 1990s, to be set up and run by the Biggs family (who also estabished Territory Grape Farm at Pine Hill in the mid 1980s)? All exciting stuff – Fred Finch, the Minister for Power and Water, delivered a very enthusiastic Ministerial Statement to the NT Legislative Assembly about this project in late 1992, and the Minister for Lands, Steve Hatton, fast-tracked approval of the lease by early May 1993. But it was objected to by Aboriginal Traditional Owners on the basis of native title rights in early 1993, consequently the Biggs family withdrew from the project in May that year, less than a year after the High Court’s Mabo decision. Chief Minister Marshall Perron claimed this was probably the first example in Australia of native title preventing a development project from proceeding (Centralian Advocate, 21 May, 1993). Naughty TOs! But, don’t you know, we’ve not heard a word about this in any subsequent development affecting this land although a local Eastern Arrernte man (who lived at AZRI as a boy when I was there) never fails to mention this issue to me.
AZRI, amongst other areas south of the ranges, has been considered for urban development in the past. A study was done about future development options for Alice Springs during the Whitlam government of the early 1970s, at a time when the town’s population growth was projected to reach up to 60,000 by the turn of the century. The “AIB Reserve” and neighbouring areas were deemed unsuitable for future expansion of the town. What’s happened to these reports, I wonder, and what’s changed about this land and geography since then?
The NT Government, under CLP rule, adopted the same stance (with the same projected population growth rates) during the 1980s – all published material on the public record (and I’ve got copies of it).
The local member, Ray Hanrahan, the Member for Flynn and deputy Chief Minister, personally told me in 1986 that the NT Government was never going to develop AZRI for urban development. I was a member of the Executive Committee of the CLP’s Flynn Branch, as were a brother and cousin of Steve Brown. Hanrahan subsequently formally announced (in 1987) the development of the Undoolya sub-division to the east of Alice Springs, and the NT Government officially allocated $10 million to commence initial headworks for the development in early 1988. This was still at the time when the population of Alice Springs was projected to grow to 50,000.
All on the public record, and all of it strangely disappeared from discussion about development of Alice Springs that is occurring today. Interesting, isn’t it?
[ED – The AZRI block, where the suburb of Kilgariff will be built, is Crown Land but the Federal Court has determined that native title over it has been extinguished.]

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Alice to get first Aboriginal owned earth ground station
If I recall correctly, the Geoscience Australia Antenna commenced operation as a Landsat receiving station in 1979, so this year marks its 40th anniversary.
Our family was living at the CSIRO residence by Heath Road at the time, now the Centre for Appropriate Technology.
There was one funny occasion when my brother was wandering around in the paddock nearby the new facility, and wherever he went the antenna would swing around and point towards him.
I think he got a bit spooked by it but it was the technical officers in the adjoining demountable lab that were just having a bit of fun.


Architect of Katherine’s masterplan to be Alice council CEO
This is tremendous good news for Alice Springs. I shall put on hold my plans to move to Katherine 🙂


Car crashed into supermarket, alcohol stolen
Certainly not the first time that kind of offence has occurred at those premises!


Nationals in Canberra run Country Liberals media
Perhaps it’s splitting hairs but there were two previous Trades and Labour Councils established in Alice Springs before Warren Snowdon “founded” the Central Australian Regional TLC.
The first was in December 1976 when Miscellaneous Workers Union officials Bill Thomson, from Sydney, and Ray Rushbury (Melbourne) arrived here to establish the Alice Springs Trades and Labour Council, as an adjunct to the TLC in Darwin. This was achieved by the end of the year, and Rushbury was appointed the permanent organiser in late 1977.
In early 1977 the Alice Springs TLC shared office space with the NT ALP in Reg Harris Lane. The new NT Labor leader, Jon Isaacs, was the secretary of the MWU in Darwin – he rose to prominence during 1976 when the North Australian Railway was closed.
The first Alice Springs TLC appeared to have become defunct by the end of the decade. In January 1981 a new organiser, Ray Ciantar from Perth, was appointed to re-activate the Alice Springs TLC but with responsibility extending to Tennant Creek and other regional communities; however, this effort seems to have been even less successful than the first.
The third “founding” of the TLC in Alice Springs was by Warren Snowdon in 1985, this time called the Central Australian TLC.


Wards for Alice council, including one for town camps?
Wards for the Alice Springs Town Council are not a new idea but have never been supported by the NT Government.
There was discussion about wards in the mid-1990s, which was firmly rejected by the government.
It was also raised by candidate Steve Strike during the town council election campaign in May 1988. Like Eli Melky’s current proposal, Strike also suggested five wards, each with two aldermen; however, he didn’t overlook the rural area on that occasion over 30 years ago (the other wards suggested were for Eastside, Gillen, Braitling and the Gap Area).
The town’s municipal boundaries were expanded significantly in early 1988, incorporating the whole rural area for the first time despite widespread opposition from affected residents. The idea of a ward system was the final suggestion to differentiate the rural area from the town, after calls for a separate community government and a shire were rejected by the NT Government.
It’s interesting to note that during the operation of the original Alice Springs Progress Association from 1947 to 1960, the town was divided into wards a couple of times for choosing delegates onto the association. The wards were the (now old) Eastside, town centre (now the CBD), the south side of the town, and the Farm Area along what is now Ragonesi Road. The town’s population grew from about 2000 to over 3000 residents during this period, which was long before there was a town council.
One person who represented the south ward from 1958 onwards was Bernie Kilgariff, kickstarting what was to become an illustrious career in NT politics.
Personally I support the concept of wards; for one thing, it would substantially reduce the cost and inconvenience of town council by-elections.
With regard to increasing the number of councillors from eight to 10; well, it’s just over a decade ago the reverse occurred.
Moreover, the ASTC first started off with eight aldermen (plus the mayor) in 1971 until 1977, when the number was increased to 10.
Here we go again?


Be Sociable, Share!

A new way to support our journalism

We do not have a paywall. If you support our independent journalism you can make a financial contribution by clicking the red button below. This will help us cover expenses and sustain the news service we’ve been providing since 1994, in a locally owned and operated medium.

Erwin Chlanda, Editor