McDouall Stuart, aboooouuuut turn!


p2209-Stuart-statue-4By ERWIN CHLANDA
The controversial John McDouall Stuart statue has done an about-turn, and is now facing south where he should be going, as one local wag puts it.
And if he has a bad back, there is a massage parlour just behind him.
And if he procrastinates Rex Neindorf’s crocodiles may give him a hurry-up.
The Town Council has forked out $3500 for this latest work on the placement of the statue.
We emailed the council at 8:33 this morning, asking what was the cost of the heritage-style fence to create an area between the monument and the road for viewers, who will now be looking at Stuart’s rear? No answer yet.
Remember, the plinth – for this statue “gifted” by the Freemasons to the ratepayers without them being asked – cost the ratepayers more than $73,000.


  1. I think alcohol being sold by an Aboriginal owned organization directly across the road is far more damaging than mere symbolism. Let us talk about real issues perhaps?

  2. It believe that the cost to save lives is worth every cent.
    Reading and listening to journalists who openly participate in lying and defaming the man is beyond belief.
    Our local historians have come out with facts to disprove the lies and yet there are those intent on bringing disrespect and deliberately making up stories to justify their goals.
    They are changing historical facts and their stories are based on hate and lies.

  3. Should be on the bloody council lawns along with statues of all the other explorers who came through.
    No wonder Alice Springs is a laughing stock.

  4. Rename the council lawns Explorers Park, put up statues of the explorers as well as famous indigenous people and any modern day explorers from Central Australia.
    Oh, but that would be racist.

  5. I heard that there was some ill feeling in that the statue was holding a gun (rifle).
    The fact of the matter is that there are many statues of people holding various things: Rifles, spears, swords etc.
    I am sure that these are not intended to be offensive or disrespectful.
    We all need to move on, maintain honour and respect.
    BTW, I too think the statue should be on the council lawns, even if only to give it more exposure, rather than being hidden.

  6. Despite the widely held view of many in the community (including myself) that from inception this should have been handled very differently, let us hope now that the real historical debate and contemporary self-reflection that this statue promotes may actually come to be a good thing for Alice Springs and indeed the Territory in the long run.
    @ various anonymous commentators:
    It’s a shame you have so little of substance to contribute except what seems to be the usual hide-behind-false-names sniping or typical “get over it” and “move on” rhetoric. Why not step up, use your real names and show some depth of understanding of the issues at play here?
    @ Janet Brown:
    Please advise which journalists you are talking about when you refer to “Reading and listening to journalists who openly participate in lying and defaming the man is beyond belief”.
    @ Janet Brown, Regarding Historical Truth:
    I encourage you to read or listen “a little more deeply” to what various historians, researchers et al have actually been saying on the public record. If your interest is limited simply to the validity of absurd propositions like “JMS was nothing more than a murderer” or “how many dead Aborigines was fair or justified”, I’d like to suggest you are missing the point.
    PS: Regarding the change of direction for safety reasons. Good common sense. Good work ASTC!

  7. I have seen our Mayor on a number of occasions at openings etc acknowledge the Arrernte people, traditional owners of Alice Springs / Mparntwe.
    Yet when respected elders send an open letter (published in this paper) outlining their concerns about the lack of sensitivity displayed by the erection of this statue he chooses to completely ignore them.
    When some of these elders hold a smoking ceremony to try to heal some if the pain they feel by the lack of respect shown by council they are threatened with prosecution.
    What is the Mayor’s and the council’s real position re respect for the traditional owners? Do they mean it or is it just a load of politically correct BS?

  8. Heard an amusing comment today “he’s turned his arse towards town, now bugger him”. But seriously he has turned his back on town, just like our council turned their back on their own processes, bypassing their public art advisory committee, and turned their back on an important and large section of our community showing a complete lack of care or concern for their legitimate grievances and failing to respond to the carefully written and respectful open letter (as published in this forum) from Arrernte elders detailing their concerns.
    I think he’s heading South now and should continue on his journey at least as far as the Freemasons’ temple.
    Interested to see the next phase of this sorry saga when the council finally places a plaque on the expensive plinth identifying the man. Just what will they say?

  9. So the big outcry comes from the Aboriginal people whose ancestors this man may or may not have raped and murdered? For many of the coloured ones he may be their Great Great Great Grandfather?
    What about the Anmatjerre man at Aileron holding that huge killing spear?
    Don’t you think he may have killed white explorers and early settlers? Always double standards with you mob.

  10. Anmatjerre man stands on the traditional land of the Anmatjerre people. Its like he’s protecting it perhaps. The other statue doesn’t stand on the traditional land of the Scots – it is on Arrernte land. It’s like he’s invading it.

  11. We are a weird mob. Who wanted to try to hide the statue that was given to the town in good faith.
    All this hoo haa is making our history a laughing stock.
    Grow up and and appreciate the the statue for what it is, not complaining if you do not like it.

  12. Our history will always be ridiculous if we only look at one side of it. We have to look at and accept both sides of the story.
    Mr Stuart was the first whitefella in Central Australia yes, but what he did wasn’t necessarily good for all concerned.
    Trespassing and fouling water supplies, not to mention the killing or dispersal by force of the landowners that challenged him at that time, is not really something we should be proud of, but it must be acknowledged.
    Especially as the families of many of the longest term residents of our community suffered these injustices.

  13. Just another example of Council being so out of touch and over buerocratic.
    Any fool could have seen the original placement was going to cause the danger of tourists walking backwards onto Stuart Tce to take phots (and risk being struck by traffic).
    Better place to put it would have been on top of Anzac Hill with a full plaque explaining the history, significance. Next we have to put up with the stupid perentie sculpture to be placed on the Wills Tce, Undoolya Rd rounabout, once again a total waste of ratepayers’ money, with no consultation with the Community. C’mon Bess, sack this useless Council.

  14. As I was there the other morning. I was impressed and to see so many indigenous people sleeping around him, they seem to like him. They were sound asleep, perhaps the rifle makes them feel safe?

  15. Just who is that statue of anyway? Doesn’t look like a Scotsman to me. Maybe its a half caste bloke, he’s about the right colour.
    If he is a mixed race person perhaps we will get the full (his)story not just a one sided version.
    Can’t wait to see what the council puts on the plaque. I feel they’re sure to put their foot in it again and give us all a good laugh.
    Well, ya gotta laugh, don’t ya, its just too tragic otherwise.

  16. About 150 years ago the government funded the lifestyle choice of this bloke. He wanted to be an adventuring hero.
    The first whitefella to make it across the centre to the top end and back. They supported him with guns and ammunition, in case the peoples whose country he would trespass on, whose laws he would break should complain.
    He was followed by another bunch of people, making a lifestyle choice to look for riches in the centre. Pastoralists, miners etc.
    The government supported them too. Making it legal or creating an environment where it was OK to steal people’s land its OK to treat the owners as slaves and have them build up your station for you.
    These people were followed by still more lifestyle choicers choosing to live in Alice and its surrounds for a variety of reasons. All these people’s lifestyle choices are supported too in a variety of ways services subsidies etc.
    Now the people of Mparntwe what lifestyle choice have they had? Abandon your culture. Don’t celebrate your ceremonies. Don’t look after your sacred places that have been in your family for countless generations.
    Watch your country cut up by strangers. Don’t walk that path your great grandfathers walked. Don’t complain about the destruction of your laws land lives. Shut up and live like a white man.
    The government is still supporting the lifestyle choices of miners, pastoralists, tourists, mountain bike riders and a whole bunch of whitefellas who choose to visit, utilise, mine, farm and trash the lands of the mparntwe~arenye people, the people who belong to mparntwe (Alice Springs).
    The people who are abused daily in the street with racism, who witness everyday their laws broken with no consequence. What lifestyle choice do these people get? They have lived in their country for thousands of years and now it has been swamped by thousands of foreigners leaving the locals as unknown, uncared for, second class citizens.


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