It’s a shame I missed this event, unfortunately work commitments …

Comment on Developments today are the heritage of tomorrow by Alex Nelson.

It’s a shame I missed this event, unfortunately work commitments intervened.
Frankly, I regard the debate about Stuart is done to death but the impact of Pine Gap (or the Space Base as I originally knew it) on Alice Springs is hard to overstate.
It’s one of what I consider to be the five major developments that have influenced the character of Alice Springs – in order these are the establishment of the Overland Telegraph Station in the early 1870s, the Central Australian Railway in 1929, military occupation and control during World War Two, the establishment of Pine Gap in the late 1960s, and finally the Memorandum of Understanding that financially underpinned the NT’s economy at the commencement of self-government in 1978.
All of these were government-financed and caused massive changes and boosts to the growth of Alice Springs.
The “American presence” in the latter history of Alice Springs is immensely influential, but commenced well before Pine Gap was established.
The Joint Australian-US Geological and Geophysical Station at Schwarz Crescent started in April 1955, more than a decade before the lease for Pine Gap was negotiated.
It was originally described as a “weather station”, much to the amusement of locals at the time. The Americans of Detachment 421 quickly became an accepted part of Alice Springs society.
There’s an interesting twist to the establishment of Pine Gap, too, as initially it was intended to be a Fly-in Fly-out operation, with American staff and families housed in Adelaide.
This provoked consternation in Alice Springs, and a concerted campaign by local politicians and business people convinced the Federal Government to provide housing and services for the Americans who were to come to Pine Gap.
This was a major reason for the expansion of Alice Springs in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the town’s population growth was as high as 10 per cent annually at one stage.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Minister Lawler determined to demolish Anzac High
@ James T Smerk (Posted July 21, 2019 at 12:09 pm): Uh huh, and there were people like you who said the same kind of thing about all other heritage listed places in town that barely avoided the bulldozers.
How little do you know!
That old school was once the pride of Alice Springs and a major tourist attraction – yes, truly it was!
Because that’s where the world-famous School of the Air was located from 1954 to 1968 – and there’s no reason why that can’t happen again.
Isn’t it easy for the instant experts to make pronouncements from a position of ignorance – I mean, have you or the other critics actually bothered to find out about the building’s true history?
No, I thought so.


‘Catastrophic’ drop in construction work
@ Evelyne (Posted June 28, 2019 at 3:15 pm): Perhaps you should ask people working within the public service/bureaucracy about the difference between democracy and tyranny. On second thought, don’t bother – they all have to keep their mouths shut.


‘Catastrophic’ drop in construction work
@ Interested Darwin Observer (Posted June 28, 2019 at 8:04 am): Oh! Are we a democracy?


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 🙂


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