Story Archive » Volume 18 » Alice Springs News, Issue 24, July 21, 2011 »

When pettiness gets out of hand



Given the lavish provision of recreational facilities in The Alice, mostly publicly funded, you’d be inclined to think that playing sport is a great way to build a harmonious, happy and healthy community.

You’d be wrong – in at least one case: the Alice Springs Tennis Association.

It has about 200 members, mostly white and middle class.

Amongst them is a part-Aboriginal 12-year-old boy, Zoltan Ross (pictured), who wants to be a tennis star. He’s happy to train hard and has some runs on the board in interstate competitions. But that’s no thanks to the club nor, apparently, to its manager and coach, Craig Gallagher, who is said to have told Zoltan, in front of other children, that his “feet stink” and refuses to give him singles coaching.

Mr Gallagher’s partner Pat, allegedly said to Zoltan, also in front of other children: “You smell.”  This prompted the boy, described as shy by his parents, to withdraw from all junior club activities. So says Zoltan’s mother, Angela Ross, a school teacher and a member of a prominent local Aboriginal family.



Sir – I cannot understand why this young man has been subjected to the shame and unacceptable behaviour of the coach. Great to hear Matt Roberts is returning – he will sort out the association and continue of the fantastic work he did years ago. Zoltan stay strong and ignore the ignorant people.

Trevor Read, Darwin


Corp, Gaff get gaol for “vicious joint assault”

A “callous, calculated, vicious joint assault” in which the victim suffered “serious harm” earned the perpetrators, Jason Corp and Benjamin Gaff, sentences of three years and nine months imprisonment from Justice Judith Kelly last Friday.

The “sustained, unprovoked and unexplained” nature of the attack, aggravated by the two perpetrators being in company and by the use of a weapon (a shovel), put the offending in the “middle to serious end of the range for offences of this nature”, said Justice Kelly.

In her judgment, the perpetrators bear criminal responsibility for the violence they personally visited on the victim, and for the violence visited on him by one another. KIERAN FINNANE reports. FULL STORY »

Canberra, not Yuendumu is the capital of porn

Frank Baarda, long time Yuendumu resident, Manager of Yuendumu Mining Company (which runs a store at Yuendumu), multi-linguist and occasional wearer of shoes has his finger on the pulse of the remote community.

The events he chronicles in his current “Musical Dispatch from the Front” are grist to the mill of the ardent anti-intervention campaigner: One of the notorious blue signs planted by the Canberra interveners (Exhibit 1) was creatively modified by locals (Exhibit 2), but that was swiftly removed. This is how Frank saw the “snaffling”:-

After I dispatched this morning’s Dispatch, I went to the airstrip to assist with fuelling an aircraft.

Two Shire workers were unbolting our Welcome to Yuendumu (if you want porn go to Canberra) sign. I asked them why.

Don’t you ever ask them why …

They were told by their boss to snaffle it. FULL STORY »

Remote control not new


Voice recorders and a desk from which Flight Service officers at the Alice Springs airport assisted pilots flying in the vast and sparsely populated Central Australian outback. The facility, once employing two dozen highly skilled people, was shut down in 1992. The equipment shown is now in the aviation museum which is part of the Araluen complex.


“There has definitely been no diminishing of services out of the Alice Springs tower.”

So said Airservices Australia manager of corporate communications Rob Walker, responding to concerns that a remote system, to be tried out next year, may replace with cameras the human beings in the traffic control tower at the airport.

In fact, there has been quite a lot of diminishing.

Until the early 1990s the tower was staffed 24/7, was in charge of all air traffic over Central Australia, international jets and all, and had about a dozen highly qualified controllers living here in Alice Springs.

Today the tower is staffed 8am to 6pm Sunday to Friday, and 8am to 7pm Saturdays, looks after only low-level traffic in the close vicinity of Alice Springs, and has a total staff of four. Brisbane and Melboure now look after the rest.

The flight information service, Flight Service as we used to call it, has been shut down altogether. ERWIN CHLANDA reports. FULL STORY »

Flat tourism season due to big picture factors, not to negative publicity, say operators


Offering more for visitors to do: nocturnal tours are regularly booking out at the Desert Park. A guide helps visitors spot any of the following creatures of the desert night: the Bilby, Mala, Spectacled Hare-wallaby, Burrowing Bettong, Brush-tailed Bettong, Stick-nest Rat, Short-beaked Echidna, Bush Stone-curlew, Golden Bandicoot. Photo courtesy Desert Park.




The current tourist season may be “a bit flat” but it’s a cyclical business and it will “come back”.

That’s the view of Michael Toomey, manager of commercial and retail operations at the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Alice.

He believes big picture national and international factors are a much greater influence on the current flattening than specific factors such as the Tiger grounding and negative publicity about the town’s social problems.  Violent incidents and anti-social behavior in town get “blown out of all proportion” in the media, says Mr Toomey, and are “insignificant” compared to what happens in the capital cities.

There must be two airlines into Alice Springs and Mr Toomey wants to see the NT Government working on persuading another operator to service the town. But if people were intending to visit, the Tiger grounding would not have been enough to stop them coming, he says. FULL STORY »

Nature can still turn on a show – but can the man-made Outback?

Lake Eyre, Australia’s biggest salt lake, continues to experience bumper years as a tourist attraction. Thanks to significant rainfall beginning in 2009, it has slowly filled and brought the surrounding desert to burgeoning and magnificent life. A visit to the natural wonder also takes travelers to the very heart of the man-made Outback, the legendary Birdsville and Oodnadatta tracks, the old Ghan railway and their tiny human habitations, some abandoned, some still clinging to life, trading on their Outback image. Last summer KIERAN FINNANE returned to the site of her earliest encounter with “the Outback” – Marree, linked to Alice Springs by shared explorer, Afghan cameleer and railway histories. Many in Alice believe that our town’s Outback image has taken a big dent in the last three decades at the hands of planners and developers and inadequate heritage protection. Marree looks to have shared a similar fate, though from an absence of attention rather than too much development zeal.


Watch the slideshow! FULL STORY »


We welcome your comments: Email:   Will the good news outweigh the bad?   Sir – Do we focus on the good news or on the bad news? This is the question being asked by the Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce and our tourist industry. Let’s look at some good news first. Part of… FULL STORY »

Stuff, big and small



(Mozzie Bites is on holidays)


Last year I lost all of my stuff. A fire ripped through my house leaving behind a lot of burnt out carcasses of stuff I had collected over the years. It was amongst other things a cathartic and maybe timely release as it led to my upping out of town in a very hassle-free, liberated fashion. FULL STORY »