In the context of the Black Lives Matter movement and …

Comment on Global statues controversy hits Alice Springs by Alex Hope.

In the context of the Black Lives Matter movement and recent protests I have been waiting for this topic to re-emerge, so good on you for bringing it up, but I think you are wrong and the street name should stay.
In discussing this we should remember, before we lynch him posthumously, that
Willshire was tried and acquitted by a jury, who presumably were not sufficiently convinced by the evidence to convict him.
However, although I have not done my own original research, and have only read secondary sources, there are enough of these to convince me that Willshire was guilty of the murders he was charged with, and numerous others as well.
Paradoxically, this is why the street name should be retained.
In the 35 years or so I have lived in this town, the question of renaming Willshire Street must have come up three or four times.
Each time there is publicity, public debate, and a revisiting of the violent invasion and appropriation, without compensation, of the whole of Central Australia.
For many people over the years this has been an eye-opener, and the fact that individual deaths in this colonial war can be attributed to this named agent of the White State can bring the reality of this history home in an almost personal way.
Erasing Willshire’s name from public view may have the unintended consequence which is the opposite effect to the one you seek, as the periodic public revisiting of this history will no longer happen.
If we are to have reconciliation with Aboriginal people as a society, then non-Aboriginal Australia has to acknowledge and own its dark past. For too long have we tried to pretend it didn’t exist.
So yes, by all means, please name some new streets for those brave Aboriginal warriors who resisted the invasion of their land, but let us not consign our troubled history to oblivion under a layer of red dirt.

Alex Hope Also Commented

Global statues controversy hits Alice Springs
@ Alex Nelson: I have not checked, but my memory is that Colonel Rose Drive was originally Lionel Rose Drive, in honour of the local veterinary pioneer.
However most people thought it was in honour of the better-known Victorian Aboriginal singer and world championship boxer.
I am not sure whether the change came about because of the embarrassment of the local ruling class at inadvertently honouring an Aboriginal, or that the family objected to kudos going to the wrong man.
@ Logos: My point is that, ironically, the periodic controversy is effective at raising consciousness about our violent history and thus does more good than changing the name will.
And taking the cue from Rose Drive, I like the idea of changing the person honoured to a pioneer with the same surname, a very neat solution!
Meanwhile, do we not need to balance the statue of Stuart with one of a subject chosen by the traditional owners of Alice Springs?

Recent Comments by Alex Hope

Country Liberal Party: custodians ignored on gallery
Thanks to Kieran for this article, and making the point that consultation has to happen before a decision is made, the analogous process after the event is called marketing.
And thanks to Alex Nelson for pointing out the irony of white fellas having the respect for Aboriginal culture to think a national gallery is a good idea, while having no respect for the Aboriginal cultural processes involved in deciding where and what it should be.
Is is such a surprise that there is no immediate consensus amongst the local Aboriginal community about the matter? The rest of us are struggling with it too!
However a fundamental principle is that no Aboriginal person should speak on behalf of another’s country, notwithstanding that they may be a disagreement to be sorted out first about whose country it is.
If the non-Aboriginal people try to subvert that process, they can expect to get it wrong!
And lastly, on a point I have raised several times before, I still have not seen anyone come up with the name of the appropriate national Aboriginal body to give the “national” in the name of the proposed gallery any credibility.

Mparntwe custodians: Lhere Artepe does not speak for us
@ Jack, @ WB: Aren’t you both missing the point here?
If we were talking about a generic structure maybe you might be right.But a national ABORIGINAL art gallery?
Surely it has to have the support of the traditional owners to have any credibility?
What is it about NT governments?
The CLP used to divide and rule and bribe selected Aboriginal people and groups to further their political ends.
Now Labor seems to be pulling the same tricks, find a group and persuade them to support the party line, irrespective of their standing in traditional culture.
For example, I call on Alex Nelson to remind us of the story behind the Aboriginal housing between the Ilpeye Ilpeye town camp and Undoolya Rd.
I forget the details but I’m sure there was shenanigans involved.
And as I have asked before, who has the authority to put “national” next to “Aboriginal” in the name of this gallery?
Not the NT government, that’s for sure.

Gallery: Anzac Oval still the sticking point
What they said….
1.The TO’s, when last I heard, had said they want it south of The Gap; and also
2. Given this potential olive branch offered by the council by shoe-horning a gallery onto the now-desecrated whitefella heritage site of the school, why would the NT government want to spend even more of the taxpayer money we don’t have to relocate the rugby ground?
3. I still don’t get where the “national” in the name comes from. Will local Aboriginal people want to take responsibility for deciding to call such a gallery “national” without a national Aboriginal consensus? Has any effort been made to gain such approval, and if so from which national Aboriginal body with the authority to give it?

Former Anzac Hill High School: time to take stock
In the days of the CLP government of the 80’s and 90’s it was easy to believe that under a Labor government things would be different, and some pride might be taken in our heritage.
However things have fared little better under the ALP. Memorably we saw the irony of an Aboriginal minister approving the demolition of the whitefella heritage Rieff building (with the charming pressed tin verandah ceiling) on the corner of Hartley and Gregory, to enable the expansion of the Aboriginal-owned Yeperenye Centre. Was this a bit of payback for the wanton destruction of Aboriginal sacred sites around town (eg the Caterpillar tail on Barrett Drive)?
And now we have the apparent childish peevishness of “well you mob don’t want to let us build the (so called) National Aboriginal Art Gallery where we know it should go so guess what we’re going to knock down your old high school so Nyah Nyah Nyah”.
For Goodness’ sakes.
I can’t tell the difference between the CLP Drongos and the ALP ones.
It will make it hard to get out of bed on polling day…

Council cemetery: Seven years of planning, no conclusive result
It is indeed hot and barren at the Memorial Avenue cemetery, so how about building a giant shade structure over the top?
This could be two stories high and be used as, guess what, a National Aboriginal Art Gallery.
There I already lots of car parking available at the Aviation Museum and Araluen Gallery…
Oh, I forgot.
Perhaps the Aboriginal artists and their community might like to be asked where they want a gallery.
Sorry. Stupid idea. I take it back.
But only half as stupid as knocking down a 10 year old, $10m “state of the art” sustainable council chamber to build a gallery.
Though of course that would avoid any arguments about the need to heritage list the Council Chambers in future.
Oh dear oh dear, we really do live in Drongoland.

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