Culture centre: No place like Alice


Kay Eade
“It’s needed in Australia so let’s have it here.”
Chamber of Commerce CEO Kay Eade (at right) gives her enthusiastic thumbs-up to the proposed national indigenous culture centre in Alice Springs.
As she understands it, the promoters want it to be “living” – a permanent building but with an ever changing content and – lively.
Static displays would be enhanced by performances ranging from painting, preparing bush tucker, use of traditional medicine, dancing, to speaking traditional languages and historic re-enactments.
Ms Eade says “sitting in the dirt, painting or weaving baskets” could be part an authentic portrayal of an ancient culture more alive here than in most other places of Australia.
“Visitors are amazed that you can buy kangaroo tails at the butchers, and people in town speak native languages which have faded elsewhere,” she says.
This would make a perfect setting to celebrate indigenous culture from all corners of the country – all year ’round, providing a powerful reason for tourists to come here.
Ms Eade says the idea had been floated many years ago, and it’s clear that there will be hurdles.
One would be that indigenous families don’t always agree with one another.
The location is likely to spark debate: Should it be in the middle of town or at its periphery – perhaps the Desert Park or the Desert Knowledge complex?
Where will the money come from – private enterprise or governments or both?
p1819ryandamienMeanwhile Mayor Damien Ryan (at left) says the idea has the full support of the town council in response to the presentation by Harold Furber and Scott McConnell.
“We listened to their case and it is a very good case,” Mayor Ryan said.
The project would need some funding from the Federal government.
He says the idea had been discussed in broad terms for some six years.
At this point all the council had been asked for was its support and “we have done what we were asked for”.


  1. Another thing this proposal will need is respect. Respect for the people and culture the proposed centre will celebrate.
    Respect it seems is something the town council and many in this town don’t understand.
    The erection of a huge statue that symbolizes the theft of Arrernte people’s land and the complete disregard for their culture and rights as humans and owners of this country is a case in point.
    The many derogatory remarks heard about these people and their legitimate grievances since further the insult.
    But let’s back this idea – after all some white business and a bunch of white tradies will make a lot of money building it. Blackfellas are good value when you can make money out of ’em.

  2. Why should the Federal goverment put money into this project? Let these people put their hands in their own pockets and do more for themselves with less handouts.

  3. Not everyone expects government funding.
    Indeed most raise funds or loans privately for their improvements.
    Government(s) contribute public funds to many social and cultural projects with little public fuss.
    Perhaps public funding can be provided at a proportional rate, to ensure applicants must exercise their own capability to raise funds before drawing upon public funds.
    Reasonably some applicants may receive public funds at $1 for $10 rate, while others receive public funds at $10 for $1 rate, or similar.
    The challenge is to determine relevant ratios.
    I believe the Commonwealth Grants Commission previously operated in a similar way.
    Where (eg =>10%) total costs sourced from public funds, need these significant donors be listed.
    This ensures public aware, with usual complaint process for raising concerns.
    Will failure to report such funding raise other legal issues, or need an NT/Commonwealth body like NSW’s ICAC ?
    Clearly some donors, Commonwealth,NTG, may already be talented at hiding their funding of things when it suits them.
    Does community seek such reporting ?
    Will government(s) agree to such reporting ?

  4. What say we keep TIO so we don’t get hit with massive increases in flood insurance and not have a government funded cultural centre. This would be a good project for CentreCorp to invest in.

  5. We had one right here in Todd Street.
    What happened to that?
    It was next door to KFC. Now it’s an empty lot, used as a parking area for a tour company.


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