Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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HomeIssue 10The Centre's landscape brought into a castle in town

The Centre's landscape brought into a castle in town

24111 Panorama Guth 4 OK
24111 Panorama Guth 1 OKPanorama Guth, the stunning circular painting by Henk Guth, with substantial help from fellow Dutch artist Frits Pieters brought out especially for the project, could be viewed after climbing a circular staircase inside the castle-like tower in Hartley Street.
In the foreground were red sand and rocks for which Central Australia is famous, and many samples of native plants, giving the illusion of standing on a lookout with the landscape and its celebrated features receding into the distance.
Tragically, the building was destroyed by fire on October 30, 2005, almost exactly 30 years to the day since its official opening, recalls historian Alex Nelson.
The images on this page are from a small souvenir booklet owned by Mr Nelson’s parents, Des and Pat, kept in storage for the past 42 years and still in mint condition.
Panorama Guth was officially opened by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam on November 2, 1975, just over a week before The Dismissal.
The newly appointed Minister for Northern Australia, Paul Keating, accompanied Mr Whitlam on his visit to Alice Springs.
Panorama Guth is one of several former attractions in Alice Springs that contributed immensely to the tourism industry but have been lost to the town, says Mr Nelson.
“Other examples are Pitchi Richi Sanctuary, undergoing gradual restoration by Heritage Alice Springs, and the national and international award winning Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre in Todd Street, which happened to be directly behind Panorama Guth.
“Ironically the Aboriginal Art and Culture Centre was bulldozed within a year prior to the destruction of Panorama Guth to make way for a luxury backpackers resort, which never proceeded.
“All of these former major tourist attractions in The Alice were closely connected to and inspired by the Central Australian environment and its indigenous inhabitants.
“Something else to ponder: It’s not possible to paint a panorama, or any landscape depiction, of Central Australia today as it was done in the early 70s because the vegetation cover has changed,” says Mr Nelson.
“It’s now dominated by buffel grass.
“At the time the panorama was painted, buffel grass was being widely sown throughout the region but was nowhere near as prevalent at it has since become.”
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  1. Visited Panorama Guth in 2002. Loved it. Bought a few paintings.
    It was unique in that it made you feel you were part of the scenery.
    Attractions like this will attract tourists because it was one of a kind.
    Need some unique ideas for the future.

  2. I visited Panorama Guth in 1989.
    I had never seen anything so unique and wonderful before or since.
    I was so sad to hear that it was destroyed by fire.
    My grandson is visiting Alice at the moment and I’m sure he would have loved it too.

  3. I have also visited and am so disappointed about the destruction.
    I am presently looking to contact Pat Nelson re our past acquaintance at Woodville High.

  4. I am blessed to have received a unique painting dated 7/10/1978 by Henk of Serpentine George in which I believe is a very unique signed painting.
    Alice bring back Henk, his passion should never die.

  5. I have two packets of unused Albert Namatjira playing cards bought at the Guth.
    Loved our visit to Panorama Guth. Such a tragedy when it was destroyed.

  6. This was the most beautiful spirit filled experience I have ever had here while walking and viewing all the beautiful paintings.
    Even though the artist had passed away I felt his presence and care and artistry while here.
    I have never felt an experience like I did here – just wonderful art. I renewed my love of paintings and art and got so much inspiration from his wonderful works.
    I visited this place with my best friend many years ago. It’s really so very sad it’s no longer there.


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