German Foreign Office says mobile homes should stay only in caravan parks with guards, warns of rapes, armed robberies in Alice Springs


An attack on two German tourists in a mobile home in the West MacDonnell Ranges is of the kind described in a German Foreign Office security advisory website (pictured), in its Australia section singling out Alice Springs alone.
Under yesterday’s date the site says: “In Alice Springs, particularly in the hours of darkness, special caution is necessary. Repeatedly there have been reports of attacks on foreign tourists (including armed robberies and rapes). People in mobile homes should only go to camping grounds with guards.”
And prominent tourist industry figure Brendan Heenan, who is at the Adelaide caravan and camping show, describes the attack as “deplorable” and says it makes it hard to promote the NT to potential visitorswhen such alleged crimes are being committed.
Police say a 49-year-old man and a 51-year-old woman were inside their campervan at Ellery Creek Big Hole (pictured below) when they were approached by four “unknown males” at around 8:30pm on Wednesday.
Police describe them as “young males of Aboriginal appearance. The offenders’ vehicle is described as being silver in colour.“
It is alleged the four demanded the couple open the door to the caravan and give them some water.
“When the couple declined the alleged offenders proceeded to throw rocks at the campervan, smashing the windows,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Malley.
“The offenders allegedly smashed a window of the driver’s cabin and stole a number of items from inside the campervan.
“The couple gave the men a small amount of money which the offenders took before driving away.”
No arrests have been made as yet.
The Big Hole, some 90 kms from Alice Springs, is The Centre’s biggest waterhole and a major tourist attraction.


  1. There is currently quite a bit of noise being made over moving the Tourism NT main office from Darwin to Alice. But if incidents such as the recent attack at Ellery Creek Big Hole, and the even more brutal attack on two young European women about one year ago while camping within the municipal boundaries, are anything to go by, the office might as well be opened on the moon. Tourists, other than those in escorted groups, can no longer make an assumption of safety. Full stop.
    There might be those who will suggest the couple at Big Hole should have opened their car doors and given the four men the water they were asking for. Smart tourists! Is Big Hole empty? I only hope they had insurance.
    No point in asking who the four young men were, not that they couldn’t be identified if the matter were pursued. But so what? Does anyone really think they would be held to any sort of account? Fat chance!
    And we want the tourist trade? I suggest our chances are slowly slipping into that Buckley’s and none category. The days when travelers could pull up anywhere and roll out a swag are long gone. Solitary travelers and couples would be well advised to read the warnings posted by the German government.
    And here’s a question: Is the Alice Springs Town Council being remiss in its duty of care to the visitors to this town in not warning all incoming tourists along similar lines? Perhaps a sign at the airport to accompany the Welcome to Country rattle, and another one at the rail station, and another at each of the sandstone entry signs north and south of town.

  2. Hal (Posted February 23, 2013 at 10:54 am): incidents like these have been occurring occasionally over the last 40 years.
    What should concern authorities and tourism investors is the coincidence of the Ellery incident, two probable murders on the edges of the town, the stabbings and threatened revival of payback feuds at Hidden Valley, and the general strife and drunkenness which required much police attention over the last two weeks (since the All Stars / Richmond game brought thousands of visitors into town, many of whom stayed on to holiday, party and wait for the West Coast / Port Adelaide game on the 9th March).
    It has been obvious for decades that the combination of easily accessible, free flowing alcohol; access to welfare cash; and severe economic and social underdevelopment in the Aboriginal communities, are together conspiring to create a situation which is dangerous for Aboriginal citizens and settlers alike.
    Wave after wave of elected officials and business leaders have stubbornly buried their heads in the sand about the situation, finding it easier to try short term fixes rather than co-operate with Aboriginal leadership and the health and education sectors to work through the hard slog of rectifying the dire conditions which are hindering mutual co-existence and economic progress.
    Presumably many current settlers and their opinion leaders will go to their graves proud that despite all logic and sense, they never reneged on their determination to resist compromise: they are pleased to die with their IDs safely stuffed in their wallets, and never again be asked to produce them in a bottle-shop.
    What heroes they are.

  3. Guys, get over yourselves. Alice Springs exists for many reasons. It is the town that provides everything to people on stations. And yes there are [people] out there that think it’s okay to do this stuff. But there are people like this everywhere. They are sick in the head! There are also people who sleep in the creek and drink till they pass out and these are not just Aboriginal people. It’s A LOT OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE. These issues should be the first to tackle than others, then the violence will drop. Then the Tourism NT main office should be moved to Alice Springs because it is super popular with all the culture and all the places you can go and see!

  4. @ Robert Dobalino. Why does Alice Springs exist? That’s a good question. It once existed, not so long ago, to remind the nation that it had a culture that existed before White Australia, that spoke many different languages with words for sentiments rarely even contemplated by movers and shakers who don’t see beyond the lawnmower and who talk to their washing machine.
    I might as well continue to express myself, rather than be an armchair commander, Alice Springs exists to remind blackfellas whose ancestors named the place, that it was annexed by whitefellers who continue to make a killing selling booze to their people seven days a week, causing such degradation that racist cliches are their daily lot, in the streets and in the supermarkets (not excusing criminal behaviour, of course).
    These epithets are usually delivered by those whose culture is the bland, suburban, television-fed, wheelie-bin filled junk food, shock-jock opinionated life, without dance, “live” music or much to say if it isn’t about sport, mate.
    But Alice Springs is not entirely dead. When the rain comes, you can smell the grass and see its natural setting for the beautiful place that it is. I’ll skip local and Territory government.
    The closing of businesses in the so-called “CBD” are adding to the empty shops and the threats of others who are going out of business is an opportunity to witness what happens when real estate greed and liberal alcohol supply combine with the mix described above to produce a postmodern culture that they can’t understand, much less correct.
    I found it quite nice walking through the Mall the other night after the movies. I was the only one in it.

  5. No question that Alice Springs continues to work its wonders on those of us who choose to live here. Of course we love it. How else could we put up with it?
    And by comparison, don’t all other locations in Oz pale? Try living down there. BORING! I know. I’ve tried. No edge.
    And yet, and yet…
    After 15 years of having a spring-loaded water tap on my front fence for the use of any passer-by, I have finally had to dismantle it. Why? Because when I asked children visiting from communities west of town not to waste water to the point that it was flowing down the street, their response was to drop their trousers and shit in my driveway.
    Or how about the charming child I caught with his hand in my letterbox? When I asked him what he was doing, his reply was, “Playing”. And the interesting thing is, he probably was just playing. He had no idea that the bank statement did not belong on the sidewalk, nor that the residents in the house he was staying in had no right to the book that had finally arrived from Fishpond.
    So I wonder about the four young men of Aboriginal appearance who terrorised the two German tourists at Ellery Big Hole. Were they, too, just playing?
    So, sure, limit access to grog. But I suspect the problem has gone way, way past that. I suspect the main problem will be found to have something to do with trying over almost 50 years and through at least two generations to shoehorn the concept of self-determination into a tribal context. Can’t happen. Doesn’t fit. Oil and water. And therein lies our problem.

  6. You could try putting a lock on your letterbox, Hal. And let’s indeed “try” limiting the alcohol supply. We “can do” that. You have campaigned for it.
    It appears that the elected NTG and local governments are about to be shoe-horned into a compromise by a Federal constituency underwhelmed at having to prop up romantic concepts of the Outback.
    So much for the free market when the dreaded interventionist policies impede on unreconstructed provincials who believe they have a right to self-determination, or even, for that matter, self-government.
    Indigenous in central Australia know that their culture has taken a mortal hit and from what I see, there are not a few who are wondering what will happen next, which puts them way ahead of most whitefellas.
    Yes, madness is here. It’s official. NT Tourism could use that as a slogan. “Come see the Territory! Watch the sun set on the West! Your opportunity to get a seat at Armageddon.” Discounted, of course.
    You could be right in saying that it has gone way past alcohol supply reform, but in the words of Alice Springs Deputy Mayor Heenan, “we have to start somewhere.” Why not here? Or as the British punk poet laureate, John Cooper Clark said in the late 1970s, “the world doesn’t end with a bang, but a Wimpy.” That’s a burger, of course.

  7. Clearly there is not enough concern about the severe economic and social underdevelopment in the communities.
    Mis-identified as communities they are zoo exhibitions, where residents denied the opportunity to develop opportunities they find, denied control over themselves, housed where denied basic rights at tenancy standards.
    Whilst denied leases residents denied basic human rights such as for their families and friends to visit them or live with them.
    Efforts to escape this totalitarian obstructive control regularly rejected by Land Owning Trust corporations and their agents the Land Councils.
    Efforts to escape this racist and totalitarian obstructive control rejected by Commonwealth.
    Commonwealth clearly sees some benefit from maintaining tragic servitude lifestyles of zoo exhibits, so Commonwealth maintains them.
    Mostly NT is denied responsibility – thus accountability, for actions of these private landowners on their land.
    No changes possible until Commonwealth removes their exemptions from holding these corporate land owners to accountability.
    Commonwealth must accept responsibility for these results.

  8. I am with you Paul. As I have always said time to stop the segregation and its funding from Federal level. I was listening to Marcia Langdon on the TV yesterday and her view is like yours and mine and so many others that see the human face of destruction.
    And before Russell jumps in and informs us yet again of the horrors of the devil drink this is not about rivers of grog this is about people and their basic rights. Marcia has written some amazing articles and yet no government has acted to do the right thing.
    The CLP has taken the first step by having people from the communities in government. Believing in the Territory and how each piece fits. But on the issue of the German tourists as frightening as this is was to them we need to address tourism to ensure that people are aware that they have to be vigilant and be aware that we do have issues about safety and security.
    Better to pre-warn our incoming tourist of the dangers rather than read about it in overseas papers. Prevention is best when there is no cure.

  9. @ Janet Brown. Since there are few people who can be bothered debating with you, Janet, I’ll jump in as long as you continue to post these little homilies of yours as gospel, e.g., “prevention is best when there is no cure.”
    You speak of “the human face of destruction,” “people and their basic rights” and then downplay “the devil drink” in reference to Aboriginal residential arrangements.
    While people on “communities” and town camps deserve better than the politicised decades of underdevelopment, the basic rights of the most vulnerable women and children are at risk by liberal alcohol supply, (I’m not talking about banning it as you and some others often go on as an act of prohibition or even in terms of your generic “devil drink” hyperbole), but since you and Steve have never admitted that it’s part of the problem, it’s no surprise to read you as having “no cure” for various social events, an extension of your recent admission to depression and escapism as a social prescription.
    Since you appear to have accessed a dictionary or a ghost writer or run out of your self-confessed supply of cooking sherry in the preparation of this latest epistle, I suggest you bone up on Chaos Theory, or perhaps, re-read reports of the success of the recent AFL weekend grog restrictions.

  10. Russell Guy
    Posted February 26, 2013 at 11:23 am
    IMHO problem is less “the devil drink” than it is “the devil drunk”.
    Larger problem is those not learning the difference, thus not applying consideration.

  11. The letter from John Boffa is that your evidence base for your comment about the AFL weekend. My oh my now you are inferring that if John Boffa makes a statement it is gospel … you really need help your focus on grog and only on grog is not healthy.
    It would appear to those reading that you once had and experienced a problem with the demonic drink. Not all people have a problem and not all people are a problem when they drink.
    As for me I don’t drink the dreaded evil as you portray it.
    Coffee drinker and it never had an issue with it. And again Russell learn to read and understand the comment re prevention is better when there is no cure related to social issues into the situation that these German tourists found themselves subjected to the French girls and their horrors. Assaults, attacks and so forth it happens around the world.
    No rivers of grog just acts of violence and deprivation of liberty. We can and never will cure this illness in society. No grog was consumed in writing this reply.

  12. @ Janet Brown. “(Y)ou really need help your focus on grog and only on grog is not healthy.” See my article on “unhealthy commodity industries” to debunk another of your spurious claims.
    You have no evidence at all regarding whether alcohol was involved or not in either of the two crimes you refer to, but many crimes, on balance, could have been avoided by a more sensible alcohol management plan for Alice Springs than is currently the case, so therefore, it is worth stating that there is a cure in those cases and it involves reducing supply.
    @ Paul Parker. My point, Paul, is that you cannot dissociate alcohol from the situation that you describe. The sooner liberal supply is regulated, the sooner we can see how to proceed with some of the issues you raise.

  13. Janet (Posted February 26, 2013 at 3:17 pm): how come these uncouth and provocative personal attacks on Russell when you haven’t had a go at me for ages? I’m getting jealous!
    By the way: the police and Licensing Commission have both provided confirmation for the extremely widespread belief that there were far, far less alcohol-related problems just before and after the Richmond vs Indigenous All Stars footy match on February 8th. That is, there was much less trouble on the days of extra alcohol restrictions and more thorough policing of the destination of alcohol leaving outlets.
    There have been similar reports on the ABC radio, and in the Advocate.
    Contacts at the hospital have also supported these viewpoints.
    Now get on that keyboard, and have a good go!

  14. @Russell Guy
    To answer your patronising comment, I have had a lock on my mailbox for 18 years. Now I’ve doubled it’s depth so it will take a kid with a very long arm to reach thru the opening and steal the mail.
    Do you really think you’re the only person in Alice with any brains? There are times when you sound like it! You’re not, you know. For instance, in the latest exchange between you and Janet, Janet did you like a dinner.
    But Bob is right. The restrictions over the footy weekend worked. Now I’m thinking that from what I’m picking up on my morning harvest along the rail corridor, a special must be running on plonk. I wish they would drink beer – it’s so much lighter carrying the empties home.

  15. Re Russell Guy post on February 26, 2013 at 7:22 pm
    Can dissociate alcohol from many situations, look further at the statistics.
    Can dissociate many who consume alcohol on a regular basis yet not appear in the alcohol damage/injury statistics.
    Three types of people:
    (a) those who learn from observing others’ mistakes;
    (b) those who learn by repeating others’ mistakes;
    (c) those who just do NOT learn…
    Sooner concentrate on those not learning, particularly those who re-offend, sooner problems will reduce.


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