The saving of the Old Alice Springs Gaol was the …

Comment on The gaolers and the gaoled: new exhibition by Domenico Pecorari.

The saving of the Old Alice Springs Gaol was the last major win for our town’s built heritage.
It makes me laugh when I hear some blame the “conservationists” for stifling growth and bringing on the town’s present-day economic woes.
From my recollection, developers have won practically every heritage-related battle since that time, much to the detriment of our town’s once iconic Outback character.
And yes, there is still a fire in the belly of most of us from that time, but it is a slow burn, drenched in a sadness and disappointment that the system itself is stacked against our town’s heritage and that there are just so many times one can bash one’s head against a wall that just won’t budge.

Recent Comments by Domenico Pecorari

Minister Lawler determined to demolish Anzac High
This story is so reminiscent of the public fight to save the Alice Springs Gaol in Stuart Terrace, next to the RFDS, against a then CLP minister determined to demolish everything on the site.
Same with our Old Hartley Street School, which the council of the time wanted to demolish so as to have more car-parking!
I’d have hoped that we lived in more enlightened and culturally-aware times but, sadly, it seems not.


Gallery: no deal yet on land swap
The Alice Springs Town Council site is not only the best block in town, Hal, but it is crowned by one of the most significant architectural designs by one-time Alice Springs architect, Andrew McPhee, namely, the original Council buildings.
Andy practised in Alice between 1966 and 1984 and his body of work contributes not only to the built heritage of our town, but towards the development of a local culture, if it is not demolished first.
The tent-like design, with its wide eaves, acknowledges the Afghan connection with the site and represents an appropriate design response to our desert climate.
Only the most un-cultured amongst us could contemplate its loss.
Andy’s design achievements in Central Australia are many and include the Anglican Church in Bath Street, the extensions to OLSH School, his own Pyramid House in Andrews Court, and the Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Church in Hartley Street, for which he was awarded the NT Architecture Award for Enduring Architecture in 2017.
Being practical as well as creative, he also developed the Aputula House design for Aboriginal communities (Finke, 1974), designed to be put together by community members using a mechanic’s toolkit, and which allowed for an open fire at its centre.
In a town that has already lost many of its older historic places, we need to begin recognising the importance of our more recent built heritage and not knock everything down on the whim of unqualified politicians and so-called “civic leaders”.


Say no to no go, urge anti-frackers
I agree wholeheartedly with Ted Egan, but fear that it will all be too late by the next election.
I’ve tried to make a submission but the maps I’ve seen provided online are very pixilated and difficult to read.
Maybe this is being done on purpose?
It’s never-the-less easy to see that the biggest “no-go” area on these maps is all around Darwin.
Call me cynical, but it seems to me that the NT Government is selling us all out for the benefit of the capital.
Time to get very vocal, folks, or live with the consequences.


Architect of Katherine’s masterplan to be Alice council CEO
At last, a real chance for the development of a workable masterplan in turning around our town’s presently bleak outlook.
My optimism is based upon reading Mr Jennings’ recent Big Rivers plan for the Katherine region, a well recommended read.
I wish Robert Jennings all the best and hope he will have the support of all our councillors. Like Alex Nelson, I now have a strong reason to stay in the town.


Salvos: The small acts of kindness, and the big
The Salvos do an absolutely marvellous job in Alice Springs, providing the less fortunate amongst us with support services that, in a more fairer and more compassionate society, would be the responsibility of government.
We all need to support the Salvation Army’s fundraising efforts, not least by donating our unwanted, good quality recyclable goods to their Thrift Shop on Whittaker Street, a move that not only reduces landfill and the need for resource extraction but also contributes to our local economy while helping create a more caring, sharing community.


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