Member for Braitling, Dale Wakefield, announced the “$1.5 million initiative” this morning as part of the planned revitalisation of the centre of town. She says this investment is additional to the $20 million announced last week to revitalise the Alice Springs CBD .
She says the exhibition will have a flow-on effect for businesses in the CBD who will benefit from extra foot-traffic and customers. The refurbishment of an existing building will create local construction jobs, and there will obviously be ongoing exhibition jobs.
Negotiations are still underway for a venue but Ms Wakefield says “planning for the fit-out and display will begin immediately.”
She says the new venue will also provide more appropriate storage, preparation and research space for the eight million year old fossils recovered from the Alcoota fossil beds, north-east of Alice Springs. These include some of the planet’s most unique mega fauna – the largest flightless bird, a giant crocodile and the largest wombat.
Ms Wakefield says the exhibition is expected to open by mid-2018 “with further enhancement and evolution over time”.
When the museum in the Alice Plaza closed, the palaeontology collection was controversially moved into storage in the rehearsal room at Araluen, which was thus lost to the performing arts. A fraction of it later absorbed into the display of the new Museum of Central Australia in the Araluen precinct.
Ms Wakefield says Araluen will now be able to “claim back the dance rehearsal room where the fossils are currently stored”.
– Kieran Finnane
Photos from our archive, courtesy Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in 2009, show the main excavation pit at Alcoota, and a giant crocodile skull.