School's heritage listing may stop Anzac gallery


p1906alexnelsonSir – Have just read Hal Duell’s comment. I started gathering information last year about Anzac Oval and (especially) the old school when the government announced the two preferred sites for the gallery.
I thought it unwise to proceed with the Anzac Oval and school site until the heritage and history values of this site have been taken into account.
My work has been delayed due to other intervening tasks but I have more than sufficient information to demonstrate the old school has the greatest heritage value of any education precinct in the Northern Territory.
This information has been conveyed to government and has triggered a belated recognition of the need to take into account heritage and history values of the site within the master planning process.
However, a nomination for heritage listing of the site will trigger a legislated process that will oblige the minister to provisionally protect the subject of that application until the formal assessment, public feedback and consideration of that nomination has been completed.
That will take well into next year.
The Heritage Council (of which I’m a member) can reject a new nomination for heritage listing of a site or object only on the grounds of being vexatious or frivolous, and in this case those grounds cannot apply.
That is the task to which I’m applying myself at present, with a view to the nomination for heritage listing of the old school and oval being considered at the next meeting of the Heritage Council on June 1.
Alex Nelson (pictured)
Alice Springs


  1. Good on you Alex. Yes Anzac oval and the school should be heritage listed. Anzac Hill oval was known as Recreation Reserve and theatre was performed in a Sydney Williams hut known as the Welfare Hall (3 huts).
    I would like to know if the following will remain if the Gallery goes there: Dog owners are welcome to bring their canine companions to Anzac Oval from 5am to 8am daily.
    Anzac Oval is a smoke free facility and is open daily to the public.

  2. You bring welcome news, Alex. This may be our best chance to stop Gunner and his cabinet and Ryan and his council from imposing their my-way-or-the-highway agenda.

  3. So what’s not frivolous about lodging a heritage application purely as a means of obstructing a project because you personally don’t like it?
    Not just “frivolous”, more likely irresponsible selfishness I would say!
    The old Anzac Hill school was ready for the bulldozer well before I left it for the last time some 48 years ago.
    It’s a collection of crappy old buildings with no architectural merit whatsoever, just because something was there when you were young doesn’t mean our community has to be saddled, constrained and blighted by its existence from now until eternity!
    Communities change, they grow, they move on! We must always be planning for the future not locking ourselves in some moment of past history!
    The art gallery project is about building something worthy of preservation, a worthy place to present and preserve the nation’s earliest art and culture so that future generations may come to see, to learn and enjoy.
    This is a project worthy of our most valued location!
    It is a great detriment to our community and our town’s progress, its prosperity and future security, that every single time a project, a grand opportunity, comes along the sheer amount of effort, of plotting and planning that goes into knocking and undermining!
    There is a number who constantly winge and complain about our town, our community, cynical comments “it’ll never work”, “we’ve tried that before”.
    Always the very first people to band together and whinge about a lack of forward movement, a lack of planning, no vision for the future, and yes always the very first people to knock obstruct by any means possible anything new and when eventually their short sighted selfishness suffocates opportunity they are also the very first to complain that nothing ever changes. Ring any bells for you?
    I don’t like Labor Governments as a general rule, I am a conservative.
    However when they have the guts to make a decision that can bring great benefit to our town, that should bring fundamental change for the better to our CBD, I’m going to get behind that decision and help drive it to be the very best it can be.

  4. @ Steve Brown (Posted April 27, 2018 at 4:34 pm): Thank you for your most positive contribution to the debate, Steve, you are as usual at your most eloquent best.

  5. @ Steve Brown, Posted April 27, 2018 at 4:34 pm:
    All the benefits you list regarding the proposed art gallery and cultural centre are achievable from either of the two proposed sites, or others if it comes to that.
    Anzac Oval does have heritage significance for Alice Springs, and its slated removal is a cause for concern among many residents.
    Unless the school buildings, also apparently of heritage value, are in danger of falling down or full of asbestos, they could be used. I am thinking of youth engagement here.
    If revitalising the Mall is the goal, build residential flats to get life on the streets day and night.
    And build the gallery and centre on a green acre site. Everyone would applaud, no one would object and the benefits to Alice that you mention would follow.

  6. ANZAC school and oval are an important part of our town from a historical view.
    The oval is also important as a recreation and sporting venue.
    It is also a social part of our town where all residents get together and enjoy ourselves.
    We like the oval the way it is, not planned by a Government which does not care about how the people in Alice feel.
    Let’s preserve our history and save our oval.

  7. @ Steve Brown: We re not against an art gallery and cultural centre. Just the Desert Park location is the best for it.


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