Alex is right. It was first proposed out of the …

Comment on ‘Affordable land’ in a man-made desert by Trevor Shiell.

Alex is right. It was first proposed out of the blue hy Henderson with a promise of $10m for infrastructure.
This was followed within days by a masterpiece in pork barrelling by the current Member and the current leader of the Feds promising 1500 houses on the airport land.
At that time NT Airports was 28% controlled by Macquarie Bank and as a shareholder at the time I contacted them to be told that they had no knowledge of the project.
In the mid 80s as the chair of St Mary’s village we put up a proposal to make a school holiday / outdoor education facility at St Mary’s.
Everingham was in on that and thought it a great idea. We were told very firmly by the consulting engineer that approval would never be given to develop in that area because of St Mary’s creek and sewerage overflows.
How times change at the convenience of the pollies.
It was I think no coincidence at the time that the financial advisor to the Anglican Diocese was a prominent real estate agent in Darwin. Say no more.
There were and still are many more productive uses for that land and the whole of the area between The Gap and the airport could and should have been a dedicated tourist precinct.
Can anyone claim that the dinosaur display has flooded tourists into that end of the mall? Or wonder why the banks left?
I shudder when I look at Pitchi Ritchie. The centre should be based around Yirara and the proposed cultural centre being in conjunction, and a display area for Indigenous education and training in their own culture, complete with bush tucker etc,
A new visitors centre at the Transport Hall of Fame, and based on the Winton model (this is our competition), and a display of older methods of transport as has happened east of Longreach.
The lack of foresight has been appalling.
On the 80s we could have had a high tech solar research facility there from Germany (Frauhoffer Institute) but no one bothered to look further than the next housing block.
This is just making us the same as everyone else. Sad.

Recent Comments by Trevor Shiell

Tweedledum and Tweedledee both like fracking
There is no need for the NT to get into gas and the Territory Alliance is right.
There is a deluge of info from commercial investment advisors that it’s not a good investment because of a world oversupply.
The US has vast resources under the Permian basin in Texas and nowhere to sell it let alone the Middle East.
At the preliminaries to INPLEX Japanese interest waned to the extent that it nearly halted for this reason.
Our major investment bank attempted to corner the export market by controlling the export infrastructure and therefore control the domestic and export price.
This led to their interest in our local supplier.
They don’t call this bank the “millionaires factory” for nothing. The solution to the alleged domestic shortage is WA gas and a pipe it via Brewer Estate to the WA grid, not via the Beetaloo basin.
This is around 400km shorter than to do the same thing via Moomba in SA, but politics has triumphed over reason again.
This was first proposed by Conner in the Whitlam era but laughed out of court.
The irony is that the US is now trying to sell its surplus gas to – guess who?

Way forward for nation-building projects – south of the Gap
At last a bit of common sense. It should be in conjunction with Yirara and used also as a training ground for the students there in managing and displaying their own culture as well as displaying the positive side of Indigenous education.
It is taking such a long time to realise that the economic future of this town will inevitably move to the area between the Gap and the airport, including Brewer, leaving the current CBD to accomodation and consumer functions as it is now.
No one has asked for reasons why two major banks and now another retail shop have left that area of the mall, and looking at the numbers going into the museum there tells the same story. The Anzac site will not remedy this.
I have spent time at the cafe opposite the current tourist office and watched people movements there and I suggest Govt does the same. People divert to the Post office.
The Cultural Centre should be a large part of a completely new tourism focused precinct incorporating a new and up to date tourist centre at the Transport Hall of fame revolving around tourist motor transport and buses just as has happened everywhere else but here.
Red Hot Arts is neglected but has so much to offer the mall and visitors. It’s been sad to watch the vested real estate interests dictate who does what and where in the CBD and planners have lost sight of the long term picture.
And what of the burgeoning bush foods industry or remote area water recycling technology? Where do visitors learn about them? Advances in that should have been on display where the drain is now.
There are so many other things that could have provided long term industries in that area but ignored. 30 years ago a major German research institution was interested in coming here to do solar research. No one bothered to push it. We reap as we sow.

High season caravan occupancy rate: Zero.
Brendan is spot on.
I tried to visit Stanley Chasm the other day and was told they are renovating while they have the chance.
That’s exactly what the industry should be doing here.
The Berri Barmera Council in the SA Riverland has just got $1m to establish short environmental walks around the lake there.
There has been a rush to do the same in other parts of the country.
Fleuriou peninsula Wauringa in Sydney, have done the same, while we sat watching people go right past.
Our thinking has been so limited in what is possible here. The walk east along the ranges will no doubt be thwarted by the possibility of a housing subdivision.
The Arumbera land with all its bio-diversity will be an industrial subdivision which I am sure visitors will come here to explore and enjoy.
I shudder to think what could have happened at Kilgariff with all the native food display possibilities, and the mega fauna museum in conjunction with the geological displays.
Townsville has a hub of excellence in mining. We have a drain!
The tourism hub will inevitably shift south of The Gap, mainly because that is the major entry point to the whole of the NT and will inevitably be the centre of economic activity, starting with an up to date visitors centre like Katherine, Winton and McLaren Vale but at the Transport Hall of Fame with a central theme just as Winton has Waltzing Matilda and fossils and the cultural centre here in conjunction with Yirara, and the students involved in the management.
Short sighted planning in the extreme.

A touch of light: native passionfruit
Lovely! I have several plants just for the fragrance, and the neighbours’ bees. I also had 120 seedlings in pots until the dreaded lurgy got to them – I suspect overwatering but will try again next year. Great article and even nicer to see something other than conflict.

Tourism smaller but better, pollies must talk to the people
Charlie is correct, but no one bothers to ask the tourists themselves what they expect to see here: It is invariably Indigenous, or walking trails.
I spent a lot of time talking to visitors on Anzac Hill and at the Welcome Rock.
We don’t look around at our competition. Winton has a dinosaur theme, Mclaren Vale has its wine -both portray them very well and just like the fast food outlets, use ease of vehicle access as a drawcard.
We don’t have a theme and demonstrate it, and our theme should be the cultural side of the Indigenous people.
As Charlie points out it should be education which puts the proposed Cultural centre at Yirara as another School of the Air for both tourism and the Indigenous kids there to participate in and demonstrate their own culture.
I watched Catalyst on ABC TV last week to see the bush foods project and constantly ask myself why is it not on display here?
Then we have bush tomato developed at a SA country high school, the Tanami apple with its medicinal properties developing in Qld, spinifex, with its super strength cellulose nano fibres, developing also in Queensland, our Acacias being developed for both human and animal food in India and Africa, Camelicious in Dubai to mention just a few that should have happened here to make the place unique again.
Even the two storey facades in town have gone!
But we got politically expedient houses, just the same as everywhere else.
A few years ago there was a document “Towards 2030” put out by Government.
There was one contribution advocating solar powering the NS railway and distributing the electricity in the eastern states.
It was pooh-poohed. Now it’s happening, but to Singapore.
Our planners often don’t see past the end of the left nostril.
We have a surplus of gas in Australia and the USA can hardly give it away.
We don’t need new gas fields.
It is 400km shorter to feed gas from WA to the eastern states market via Brewer than through Moomba – a fact not lost on Mac bank.
Hence their interest in our local company, and the pipeline. There are two wells here, high in helium which is much more lucrative than natural gas but the government does not seem to notice, or encourage.
Adelaide is about to start producing hydrogen, the fuel of the future.
Their justification is the quality of their sunlight in hydrolising water. No one ever invited them here to test our sunlight, to my knowledge.
Harvey Norman interests have the second largest cucumber factory in the world, factory farming, but no one invited them to look here.
The Costa family with tomatoes – same story, so we really can’t complain.
The Old Man Plains research station does not even have a sign post so I am told.
Brewer with its unique three cross country highways, rail and air all co-incidental, is the obvious place to promote the economic development that we all need but seemingly ignore.
I am reminded of the inscription on the tomb of king Ramasees 11 of Egypt: “I am Ozymandius, King of Kings. If anyone wishes to know how mighty I am and where I lie, let him surpass my works.”(Apologies to Shelley.)
Here that should be relatively easy.

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