Crunch time in Anzac Oval standoff


p2122-Eli-MelkyCOMMENT by Councillor ELI MELKY
It was an idea originally coming from a group of passionate and proud Aboriginal people who wanted to put on display their rich and beautiful art and culture, tell stories, share and educate the world about the Aboriginal way of life.
It was never designed to become embroiled in a political world.
Yet here we are, after the ALP made this idea an election promise, but when in government chose to have a standoff on Anzac Oval.
So what happened to the dream and vision of the Desert People’s Centre group working in a coalition of interested parties?
This government has since separated the Aboriginal art gallery away from the initial vision being part of a culture centre and now intends on building the National Aboriginal Art Gallery on Anzac Oval.
Instead of having Aboriginal people at the forefront of planning for this grand vision to showcase Aboriginal life from all over Australia, Aboriginal people have been left with a feeling of disappointment one gets when sidelined.
The Michael Gunner led government considers Anzac Oval the best site due to its close proximity to the CBD, expecting it will boost our ailing tourism and our economy, a silver bullet to our dire economic state.
Big Business and Tourism bosses also agree with this. It is after all a $200m investment and it will attract thousands from across the globe to come and see it, we are told.
Hundreds of thousands of marketing dollars will be spent on attracting the target demographic.
This government and its supporters in Big Business and Tourism would have us all believe that potential visitors to the gallery will be inconvenienced if Anzac Oval is not the location and that will be to the detriment of the town.
Throughout this campaign no one from the government or its Big Business and Tourism industry supporters has presented any solutions to our other equally pressing community concerns: The high cost of air travel, fuel prices at an all time unacceptable high and the safety of our community at breaking point, to name but a few.
Yet the government remains insistent on the adjacent land to the former Anzac Highschool, being four hectares and 1400 square meters of land located at Lot 678, 7 Wills Terrace, otherwise known as Anzac Oval whose freehold title owner is the Alice Springs Town Council, on behalf of the community of Alice Springs.
Following the decision made last week by council, which unanimously supported a National Aboriginal Art Gallery to be built in Alice Springs, the response from government has left me dismayed: It insists that the location is a deal breaker and if it doesn’t get its way, it may not deliver on its election promise to build the gallery.
On Monday night at the council meeting, the nine members of council can remove any confusion by voting on my motion: Aye or Nay to Anzac Oval.
Watch this space.


  1. Is the gallery being built ON ANZAC Oval? This is new information or misinformation. Fact is, the community will gain significant benefit from the ANZAC site. Other then the repeated cries that nobody came to my home and asked me my own personal opinion, there has been no fact based explanation as to what the comnunity will lose.
    The council survey was flawed. Multiple responses from multiple devices or even multiple locations would not be filtered out. IP addresses change each time you logon or off your internet unless you subscribe to a static IP. Government forward facing proxy servers would all look like the same device.
    I support the ANZAC Oval site. It has far more positive outcomes then negative. My only concern is where will the money come from?
    Citing other community issues such as crime and youth issues as reasons not to do it is ridiculous. Crime and youth issues have been the same for generations in this part of the country. If we stop everything until that is resolved, we will never ever get anywhere.
    We need to continue to grow the town and improve the appeal of the town centre. Take our blinkers off and support development innitiatives for our town before it is too late.

  2. Let’s be frank folks, all of this is built on the idea that Aboriginal culture still has the draw it once did when it was sleek and the world wanted to see it in the 80s and 90s.
    It simply does not draw anymore, the number over the last 20 years don’t lie and the fact that barely a gallery can operate profitably in Alice when there used to be one on every street corner.
    This will be one of the biggest mistakes and waste of money the NT Government will ever complete and tackles none of the real reasons people do or don’t visit the NT.

  3. Alice Springs residents have voted several times against the ANZAC Oval site, so that the Labor Party Dictator Michael Gunner can fully understand we do not want our community’s favourite meeting, greeting, entertainment and football oval site, historical site, used for his Labor Government’s Big White Elephant Museum project, just so he can then rent shop space back to local business at high cost.
    It should be noted also that the Alice Springs Desert Wildlife Park was sold to local Alice Springs people as a major tourist boosting project that would bring hundreds of thousands of tourists flocking here just to visit that attraction. It never happened. So let’s face it, if the proposed museum went ahead at Anzac Oval, very few locals would even cross the street at that danger end of town at night ever.
    Secondly if it didn’t have a coffee shop, no-one would even cross the road during the day or night, after 12 months.
    Mr Gunner has completely dismissed his own $200,000 expert advisors’ recommendations where to put his white elephant and completely ignorantly ignores The Great Local Aboriginal Groups and white residents who all happen to love our community’s favorite ANZAC OVAL site.
    The greater majority of people and local Aboriginal groups want [the gallery] put beside the Desert Park Wildlife Park.
    It is a beautiful location and far more safe and secure location.
    Thanks for listening.

  4. If the art centre / gallery is built on Anzac Oval, it will join the list of disappointing tourist attractions across the globe.
    One I am particularly familiar with is the site of the pyramids in Egypt.
    Travellers moaned that the Pyramids of Giza site can be seen from Pizza Hut, and are so close to the noise and chaos of the city (I could see them from my hotel).
    They are flanked on three sides by the roads and neighbourhoods of Giza.
    The same goes for the Great Sphinx.
    Most of the photos taken of the pyramids in Giza are from a certain angle or from fairly close up, making them seem like they’re in the middle of the Egyptian desert.
    In reality however, they’re really on the edge of the sands and practically in a few people’s backyards.
    Welcome to Alice Springs, the Aborigines’ Art Center of Australia with no atural backdrop (I wonder what will be the scenic photo used for publicity?) but supermarkets, Plaza, coffee shops, war memorial, pubs.

  5. The people in Alice who DO NOT want Anzac oval changed need to come to the rally on Monday from 4:45 on the council lawns.


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