In 2011 in an ABC interview I revived the idea …

Comment on National Indigenous gallery: what should come first? by Alex Nelson.

In 2011 in an ABC interview I revived the idea of an Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Alice Springs, suggesting the vacant Melanka site would be an ideal location for it to be constructed. However, last year I belatedly realised we already have a building virtually purpose-built for such a centre.
During my research on the history of the Strehlow Research Centre intended for a presentation at the 25th anniversary symposium, I gained an appreciation of just what an extraordinary world-significant facility we already have here in Central Australia of which most of us are largely ignorant; certainly its importance has been underestimated. The problem we have with the SRC is that it’s obliged to share its premises with the Central Australian Museum, and this arrangement seriously compromises their integrity and limits the potential of both facilities housed there.
My suggestion is that the Central Australian Museum ought to have its own purpose-built building or complex which has the potential to be a major visitor drawcard in its own right – and, again, the old Melanka site may provide us with an ideal location for it.
Meanwhile, the SRC can recover the full use of its own purpose-built facility, with the public space vacated by the CAM to be dedicated for Aboriginal culture and art, and local anthropological history.
That’s my initial thoughts on this subject.

Recent Comments by Alex Nelson

Fire threat: Where are the big water bombers?
It seems increasingly unlikely we’re in for a horrendous bushfire summer precisely because of the current drought continuing, following on now from two earlier years of low rainfall.
Recently I compared this year’s rainfall figures from the Alice Springs Airport to 2009, the driest on record.
For the first seven months (January to July) both years were virtually identical with totals of 47.2mm (2009) and 46.8mm (2019) respectively.
However, in August 2009 the airport recorded 13mm while this year it was zero. If there is no rain recorded this month we will be almost 20mm less than at the same time in 2009.
The total rainfall for 2009 was 76.8mm which was 5.3mm less than the previous lowest record of 82.1mm recorded in 1965, some 44 years earlier.
A decade after 2009, we are on track not just to beat the new record but to smash it; and long term forecasts are not encouraging for avoiding it.


Police gets street parking, cops’ private cars in compound
On the odd occasion I walk past the police station vehicle compound in Bath Street, I recognise some private vehicles that previously were parked in Parsons Street outside the old police station.
I used to see these regularly after finishing work at Woolies and walking home that way late each evening.


Authorities underrated risk to Pine Gap, Alice of a nuclear strike
Just read a comment piece by ABC North American correspondent James Glenday, who notes: “According to the Gun Violence Archive, 9,418 Americans have died from bullet wounds so far this year. 18,785 have been injured.”
To put that in perspective, more people have been killed and injured in the USA by gun violence up to the end of August than there are residents of Alice Springs.
That’s just this year. We think we’ve got problems?


Authorities underrated risk to Pine Gap, Alice of a nuclear strike
I note this book becomes available on September 3, which this year marks the 80th anniversary of the declaration of war by Britain and France (which included Australia) on Nazi Germany following the invasion of Poland that started two days earlier.
In that same month the German Army Weapons Bureau commenced work, and one of its first projects was research into creating a nuclear bomb. German physicist Werner Heisenberg delivered an initial paper on building a workable atom bomb before the year was over.
Albert Einstein, whose equation of E=mc2 lies at the core of nuclear physics, had already warned the US of this research – as did British intelligence – but the warnings were largely ignored until 1941, and the Manhattan Project began shortly after Japan’s attack against Pearl Harbour forced America into the war.
The first nuclear arms race was actually between America and Nazi Germany; the first bombs were intended for Europe but the war ended there before they were ready so ended up being used on Japan.
Meanwhile, the Soviet Union had embarked on its own nuclear weapons research program, which was significantly aided by information obtained by spies from the Manhattan Project – and thus was born the arms race of the Cold War.


Aboriginal flag to fly year round on Anzac Hill
I wonder why everyone seems to insist this issue began 20 years ago? As I pointed out in my article last year (https://www.alicespringsnews.com.au/2018/03/25/in-a-flap-over-flags-a-possible-compromise/) the original request for flying the Aboriginal flag on Anzac Hill was first made in 1989 which by my mathematics is 30 years ago.
It’s also forgotten that the two large flag poles erected in 1989 replaced four smaller ones. These were used to fly the national flag (which flew on the east side of the monument) and the individual armed services flags which overlooked the town. These flags were only flown on Anzac Day and (I think) Remembrance Day but for the remainder of the year there were none.
This issue had its genesis from the protracted political and ideological disputes between the NT Government and the major land councils that dominated Territory politics during the 1980s.


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