2.5km of the MacDonnell Ranges to be lit up


p2328-Mervyn-Rubuntja-1By ERWIN CHLANDA
Parrtyeme – a Festival in Light – will be Australia’s biggest-ever light show installation, with more than 2.5km of the MacDonnell Ranges being illuminated, Chief Minister Adam Giles announced at the Desert Park this morning.
“It will be the first authentic Indigenous light festival of its kind in the world,” he said.
“Parrtyeme will be a breathtaking light display that will present the oldest continuous culture on earth through the newest technology on a 300-million-year-old natural canvas.”
p2328-Maher-&-NamatjiraThe project has been controversial, with claims that traditional owners have not been consulted – Mr Giles said this morning they had been.
Three Aboriginal people spoke at the function this: Mervyn Rubuntja (pictured above) gave probably the briefest welcome to country: “I am happy for you all to come. Thank You.”
A featured installation will be a series of large illuminated 1950s-style circle skirts featuring the watercolour artwork of Lenie Namatjira, granddaughter of Albert Namatjira (Mrs Namatjira is pictured at right with translator Marisa Maher).
Mrs Namatjira spoke in Arrernte about her art at the launch, translated by Marisa Maher.
The show will be held from September 23 to October 2, at a cost of between $1.5m and $2m, according to Mr Giles.


  1. Great idea, Adam!
    Perhaps after your Facebook rant yesterday you can take all the kids your have locked up from wherever you have put them, ram different coloured light sticks in their backsides and have them run around the hills all night like crazed glow worms as partial repayment of their debt to society.
    That is less silly than what he has proposed as a solution, anyway.

  2. Its not an authentic indigenous light show when it is breaking important indigenous law, when the stories for other places are being put onto a very important sacred site which has its own story, when it is being driven and developed by outsiders from Sydney and Darwin, when a woman recognised by many as a/the senior apmereke-artweye is feeling insulted and disrespected by the process and level of consultation, when she finds an invite to the launch shoved under her door sometime on Monday night saying RSVP Monday.
    When senior men are feeling disrespected and pressured into compliance. There are many things wrong with how this project of Mr Giles has been run.
    That site is a part of the dog story, a story about an intruder coming into someone else’s country with no respect and trying to take over to take that country.
    They may not be telling or honoring that altyerre but they are reenacting it.
    And perhaps their guts will end up spread – metaphorically speaking – across the valley floor like the intruder’s from the proper story for that site.
    This story has been shared with the developers of the show and they have chosen to ignore / disrespect it.

  3. This crap has to stop. The world is moving and the people of the world want to prevent happiness benefiting all.
    Penangke: Stop being foolish and silly – you and all other politically correct Aboriginal people. It’s just bullcrap.
    By the way there is a train line that runs straight through The Gap. A tower and antennas on top of the range.
    Near Baldessera Road is that little range of great importance. People are building all over it. Women are talking about men’s stories in Alice Springs. Jingeloes me!

  4. Cultural sensitivities aside, of all the useful sensible things $1.5m to $2m could be directed to in this community, is this facile self serving “piss it up against the wall” ego trip even in the hunt!
    The Romans had their circus. The French were “offered” cake when they needed bread.
    Why not just splash it up against the side of the overpass. Better still, give us back Rego stickers, or at least the option to have them.

  5. Elvis has left the building … of a safer more respectful and inclusive community to others.

  6. Actually Elvis is disappointed with women talking for country, boys talking for country, people squatting on country not belonging to them – the whole Arrente urban raised landscape is out of control. Signing off. Elvis is all shook up!

  7. I find it very interesting that this “lightshow” is already set and has a date when it will be happening. I could think of many better ideas to spend the money as well, but guess, yes, it will look pretty. Interestingly enough though, I was told, that we cannot have solar powered lights to light up Alice itself and the bike paths for safety at night etc, because of “sensitve issues” with TOs?
    Well, should be safe enough to walk along the ranges, when they are lit up in late September, then at least? Surely with money would be better invested in permanent light features for safety?
    it seems like some politicians are good at digging deeper and deeper holes for themselves.

  8. @ KM: “I could think of many better ideas to spend the money as well, but guess, yes, it will look pretty”.
    My thoughts exactly after opening the letter of Vinnies stating: “There are 7,794 women facing homelessness in the NT.”
    Adam Giles, you tell those women that there is a light in front of their tunnel: 2.5km of it on the range at the cost of nearly $2m. As for the children on the street tell them: “No shelter in the old police station but sit quietly and look at the show.”
    We all have lost the plot: 1 – Our so call leaders. 2 – Us who let them be in charge.

  9. @ Elvis: I read frustration in your comment, maybe it’s because YOU can’t talk for THIS country!
    Yes the world is changing and when the proper custodians are consulted everyone benefits because the correct processes are followed.
    AAPA has a lot to answer for when these processes are not adhered to and custodians are left to pick up the pieces again!

  10. It’s a sign of the times we’re living in. Regardless of whether this is money well spent or not, or whether cultural sensitivities are offended or not, I don’t doubt this will be a spectacular event.
    However, this light show will be reflecting off the slope of the range that is carpeted in buffel grass.
    Not that anyone will care, I expect, but it serves to illustrate just how compromised the experience of the local environment we seek to sell to tourists has now become (see also “Chinese supermodels knee-deep in buffel grass”).

  11. This Saturday 2pm at Madigans, Desert Park the organisers of this event are inviting various indigenous people and others to talk about this grand plan of Adam Giles.
    After being told for many months by senior custodians and others with a strong cultural connection to this site that what they are proposing is wrong, the organisers AGB Events are continuing anyway. They have already said that it is too late to change their plans and they will go ahead regardless.
    This is respectful consultation at its best. NOT!
    It is a real shame because this could have been a great opportunity to build community cohesion and share indigenous culture in a respectful manner.
    As one old man has told me “it is an insult to the country and the people”.
    The organisers have been told quite a few times over several months that they are wasting this opportunity and are operating in a disrespectful and insulting manner. But they carry on regardless, to create the first ever completely disrespectful indigenous light show.

  12. Dr Wrongo is 100% correct. What a completely absurd situation this is!
    2pm Saturday!? How long has this been publicised? How many TOs have been contacted about this date and time?
    Of course it would be great to make positive things happen but unless it is done the right way we are trashing our greatest asset! Just to let the CLP win a few election points.
    All of us who value the place of stories and their role in the living reality of our town: It is time to stand up!
    We must not throw away decades of hard work just because our Chief Minister has a bag of cash to throw around.


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