Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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HomeIssue 13New drive to make Pitchi Richi a public treasure

New drive to make Pitchi Richi a public treasure

2637 Pichi Richi THIS OK
2636 Pichi Richi 1 OKBy ERWIN CHLANDA
Every now and again there is a burst of enthusiasm to rescue from neglect and vandalism one of the town’s potentially most appealing attractions, Pitchi Richi. But in the past few decades not much has come from it.
This is going to be different, says Faye Alexander, from Heritage Alice Springs Inc which launched a garden master plan for the sanctuary last week.
She says it’s the first step towards turning it into an attraction open to the public, a project that will cost up to $2m.
“The plan mostly concentrates on the northern end of the property around the William Ricketts Sculpture Garden,” says Ms Alexander.
“The design (pictured) by Arid Edge Environmental Service will help to define areas and improve the flow of the paths with recommendations for pram and wheelchair access, whilst respecting the existing surroundings.
“Advice on mound stabilisation, planting and weed management, more shade structures and seating will be included.”
2636 Pichi Richi 2 OKAbout 50 people turned up, walked around the beautiful grounds just south of The Gap, and listened to a talk by architect Ra Sim whose service is linked to the Arid Lands Environment Centre.
Ms Alexander says public funding has been intermittent and in small amounts.
The biggest one was $50,000 from the NT Government to restore the roof of Chapman House.
She says renovation of this building will require a further $300,000 to $400,000, well beyond the reach of the mostly volunteer based group founded by heritage architect Domenico Pecorari more than a decade ago.
“There is no time line as yet,” says Ms Alexander. “We’re a community group plodding along.”
But the plan will enhance the likelihood of getting grants although much work will continue to need volunteers: “It doesn’t take much to put down some mulch.”
There has been repeated vandalism of the sculptures, including the smashing of the Rain Man by William Ricketts, now being restored by conservator Isabelle Waters who previously worked with the Hermannsburg Potters.
2636 Pichi Richi 5 OK
2636 Pichi Richi 4 OK
ABOVE: In the foreground, a 44 gallon drum converted into a meat safe.
2636 Pichi Richi 3 OK


  1. It is great seeing this place restored to its beauty. A breathtakingly peaceful haven. Well done to all on your persistence and dedication. What a great attraction it will be again. Congratulations to you all.

  2. Wonderful news. For far too long authorities have not recognised that the tourism future of Alice lies largely south of The Gap, between The Gap and the airport.
    There are too many vested commercial interests and conventional real estate interests to allow heritage type development north of The Gap.
    They refuse to look at places like Hahndorf and Ballarat to see how heritage issues are basic to their economies, and contribute to the communal good.
    No one has asked why the Katherine, Mt Isa, and Mclaren Vale tourism centres are all on the main approach to town where they have a captive market, but ours is crowded into a space with little or no parking.
    The Big M stores have a mathematical formula on which they base their shop position.
    It is based on the number of passing vehicles and pedestrians. If they did as we do they would go broke just as we are. An old Frank Sinatra film says it all (A hole in the head)
    He who whispers down the well
    About the thing he has to sell
    Will never make as many dollars
    As he who climbs a tree and hollers.
    I don’t see too many tourism people standing on the South Road at the Welcome Rock where they all stop, or hollering as they go past.

  3. Trevor Shiell, I think Pitchi Richi could really use a spokesperson like you to help with funds for restoring the beautiful place it once was😊


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