Recommendations in for National Indigenous Art Gallery site


p2499e Desert Park Parrtjima 660

Above: There is a large area of land available at the Desert Park, including the area cleared for the presentation of Parrtjima. Photo from our archive. 

UPDATED 5.40pm.
Two potential sites that best meet the requirements of a major national gallery have been identified by the steering committee for the National Indigenous Art Gallery, proposed for Alice Springs.
CEO of the Department of Tourism and Culture Alastair Shields told the Alice Springs News Online this afternoon that they are:
• the base of Anzac Hill; and
• Alice Springs Desert Park.
He said the selected site needs to take into consideration proximity, accessibility, size, landscape and cultural considerations. The steering committee, headed up by Hetti Perkins and Philip Watkins, investigated a number of sites around Alice Springs on this basis.
p2499e Anzac Oval aerialThe “base of Anzac Hill” actually refers to the Anzac  Oval site (not the parkland on the Stuart Highway side as previously speculated) and the adjoining site, formerly the location of Anzac Hill High, currently of the St Joseph’s Flexible Learning Centre (see aerial view at left). This is made clear in a video outlining the proposals on the government feedback site.
The video says if this site is chosen, an alternative sporting ground with two ovals and a stadium will be constructed. It also says the historic Totem Theatre and sacred sites and trees in the area will be protected in any development.
Feedback is sought from the people of Central Australia on their preferred site out of the two that have been nominated. You can have your say here.
UPDATE 12:45pm Friday:
Chamber of Commerce CEO Kay Eade says for the sake of revitalising the CBD the option close to it is the better one.
“It would bring people into the town and they will spend money,” she says.
The Melanka site seems unsuitable because it is not big enough: “The project seems to include open space, a big area. It’s not just a building plonked somewhere.”
UPDATE 4:15pm Friday:
Mayor Damien Ryan says he “enthusiastically” supports the Anzac Hill proposal: Being close to the CBD “is a very good idea”.
Rugby – currently played on Anzac Oval – has been looking for a second pitch for a long time, and Blatherskite Park could accommodate two ovals.
Mayor Ryan says the gallery could be part of a re-development “right up through the mall” including the meeting place project the town council has been planning together with the Uniting Church for some time.
The Anzac Hill location could well stimulate private enterprise to build another motel, which the town needs, in collaboration with property owners in the Mall.


  1. Wasn’t the oval upgraded only a few years ago with new seating, change rooms etc..?
    And a National Gallery opposite a pub? Really?

  2. Michael, this “pub” is an icon of Alice, former Riverside Hotel, heritage listed.
    Built in 1960 to a design by noted Territorian architect, Beni Burnett, the historic Riverside Hotel (re-named The Todd Tavern) is the last remaining traditional-styled pub in town.

  3. Desert Park would not add additional value to Alice Springs. It is also too far for a lot of visitors.
    Anzac Oval takes away an iconic site for a lot of events, also no additional value to the town.
    What happened to ideas like the old Melanka site? Or even the site where the old Aboriginal Culture Centre used to be?
    Space might be a problem there, but it belongs to the Yepperenye Complex, so negotiations should be possible.

  4. The Desert Park would be a great place. Visitors would get the whole picture and would also help with numbers to the park and there is so much room there.

  5. So as well as taking credit for a project started by Giles, they want to tear down the new sheds they just built?
    Maybe it’s best for us if Gunner does nothing and goes back to pretending we don’t exist.

  6. I would prefer see at the base of Anzac Hill the construction of a new Anzac Trades and Technical Education College including the ovals as part of it.

  7. @ Paul Parker (Posted November 3, 2017 at 12:41 pm): I’m with you, Paul, I think adaptive re-use of the existing buildings at Anzac Oval is a far more preferable option.
    I’m not enamoured of the proposals put forward by the steering committee for the National Indigenous Art Gallery, indeed to my mind it’s hard to avoid the conclusion we’ve been dudded and that it’s a ploy for this gallery to ultimately be built for the benefit of the Alice Springs Desert Park.
    I’m deeply sceptical of what’s been offered to us to consider.

  8. Evelyn, my comment was not referring to the building, rather, some of the patrons that frequent there.
    You can read between the lines, you are a clever woman Evelyn.

  9. I’m not impressed with either site option: Desert Park too far away and does not benefit the CBD and Anzac Oval would mean the loss of a great open-air asset for large scale events near to the town centre.
    The school building is better re-purposed for higher educational use, as noted by Paul Parker and Alex Nelson. Surely there is a better site, perhaps on the other side of the Todd River?

  10. If they / we are looking for a MONA effect and an outcome that the whole world will want to come and see, the following may be required as a minimum:
    A David Walsh type person with a vision, passion and skills necessary to drive this major project. Retain ANZAC Oval and the rugby facilities, so there is a green buffer between the proposed National Indigenous Art Gallery and the CBD.
    Purchase the RSL property and together with the high school site, build something grand with a sweeping northeasterly aspect into, around and backing onto ANZAC Hill appropriate to any needs of the traditional owners of the hill.
    Place the main entrance and vehicle access on Schwarz Crescent with an improved foot / cycle pathway system linking into the CBD on either side of ANZAC Oval. Just another comment to keep the ideas flowing.

  11. No to either option. Anzac oval is used by everyone, sports, events (Midnight Oil) etc.
    It’s a good looking spot with Anzac Hill and the river. We should keep, it not build some monolithic potential white elephant of an architect’s wet dream there. Why crowd ourselves in?
    A much better plan: Build your flash building on the wasteland near the railway line, bang, right on the highway.
    You could incorporate a new train station into it, begin the process of taking the freight yards south of The Gap. Then also build on a couple of vacant blocks in town, next door to KFC, old servo opposite Catholic Church, etc and use some if the government buildings in town as specialist galleries for different topics.
    It will add value to all the buildings and businesses around them.
    Put some bucks into some public art to link these sites through walking trails. Put some dollars into Olive Pink, Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame, Araluen, Desert Park, also for specialist displays and events.
    An amphitheatre at Melanka’s. Bring life to the whole town not just one isolated area.
    And please don’t build a space to store expensive collections of art in a flood zone.

  12. @ Bob Taylor: The reasons for retaining ANZAC Oval have been well covered.
    RSL and adjoining area toward DASA. Keep it high from floods. Close to town. Cheaper than destroying the millions worth of work at the oval just to lose our only green area in the CBD.
    Get real people with common sense to make suggestions. I don’t personally know these people. They may be good people. But both these sites are garbage ideas.

  13. The Anzac Park site will make a lovely loop from The Telegraph Station and join the areas culturally with a potential walk/bus tour development scenario.
    Upgrading the Totem theatre and the park onsite as part of the plan should be included as a priority within the planning.
    Lovely way to reinforce and celebrate the ancestral stories of our beautiful home town for all to share together.

  14. We do not need a new art gallery – we already have enough. The thought of getting rid of Anzac Oval is ridiculous.
    There are three vacant spots in the Coles Complex. Knock the walls out and create an art gallery. It would even suit the atmosphere in that area.


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