Old visitors centre trashed


The former visitors centre adjacent to the Alice Springs library has been trashed.
It is reportedly owned by the Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Logistics.
We asked the department how long the building, in the town’s Central Business District, has been empty; has the government tried to let the building; what is the estimated value of the damage; and have the perpetrators been caught?
The News took these photos yesterday afternoon.
UPDATE October 10, 9.45am
A spokesperson for the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics says it “can confirm the former visitor centre adjacent to the Alice Springs Library has sustained damage, which was reported to the Department on Wednesday afternoon.
“It is believed the damage occurred within the previous 24 hours.
“DIPL is currently assessing the extent of the damage to the building, which has now been secured for public safety reasons. Police have been notified and an investigation is underway. At this stage, the cost of the damage is still being assessed.
“NT Government is considering the best use for this strategically placed CBD site ongoing.”
UPDATE October 10, 9.50am
Police say they are “aware and are investigating the report of criminal damage on the old visitor centre building on Gregory Terrace.
“Just after 1pm on Tuesday police received a report of a group of youth causing damage to the building.
“On arrival the group had fled. It was evident to the attending officers that the building had sustained some damage prior to this incident, so it was not clear what further damage had been caused.
“This building has been unoccupied for some time.
“Police have reviewed CCTV footage and are working on identifying the people within the group.”
UPDATE October 10, 4pm
A former public servant in Alice Springs, who did not wish to be named, now living interstate, says the centre was a high priority in 2015 to be leased.
A tender for a tenant was meant to be put out but this apparently did not happen.
The walls were full of pictures of prominent locals. These were regarded as valuable but it is not clear what happened to them.
It was proposed to lease out the building for a peppercorn rent to amateur historians and photographers but that was rejected by public servants “because we can get a lot more for it, it’s valuable real estate”.


  1. I would be willing to wager it has been empty since they moved out years ago!
    And wouldn’t be surprised if the damage bill would be in the six figure range, and the perpetrators were never dealt with by the law as the flawed CCTV of town is basically for show and the justice system (courts) isn’t working to deter anything.

  2. Aboriginal kids are out of control, dis-respectful kids who do not know or understand property because they have never had property.
    Never even owned a dog to look after, never looked after anything, so they have no feelings towards anyone or anything.
    Is it because the parents, yes the same clowns that hang around the taxi rank and hover around Bojangles and sit around on the council lawns making a mess have never had the energy to grow a flower let alone a kid!

  3. @ Liberal: Yes you are correct, it starts with the parents but there should be a mechanism in place to deal with the delinquent children.
    But, because we elected a piss weak government and continued apathy, we condone the government’s impotence.
    The continual assaults and vandalism gets worse and the government erroneously or stupidly thinks that an art centre will appease the masses.
    Real change, it appears will only begin when the public take protection of their person and property into their own hands.
    If the pollies allowed the police to uphold the law and the judicial system was allowed to deal with this in a proper manner, perhaps we may have a chance.
    But alas I’ll just put up with increasing taxes and rates to pay for the damage.

  4. A clear case of “use it or Lose it,” in my opinion.
    Following the Gunner Government’s election, I met with minister Dale Wakefield to discuss the need for developing a community-led Town Plan.
    I identified the neglected former tourist office as a logical base for such an enterprise, given its suitability as an office / exhibition space.
    Its location and distinctive design, I argued, would promote an active interface for the presentation of ideas and for receiving feedback from the public.
    I was informed that the place was ear-marked for another community group and, some time later, noticed the pink development signs that pointed to the building being put to a new use, but nothing seems to have come from that.
    The fate of this building reflects that of our town.
    Alice has so many wonderful assets which are currently under-utilised and not promoted by a Top End-focused Territorian government.
    We, as a town, need to seize the power to determine our own path towards future prosperity.
    No-one else is going to do it for us.

  5. It’s well known by every one that the police are powerless because nothing happens to these youths, they know who they are. We need to make the parents accountable for their children’s actions.

  6. The repurposed building displaying its current very distinctive architecture was officially opened by NT Federal member Nick Dondas on February 6, 1998 as the new you beaut Visitor Centre and headquarters of the Central Australian Tourism Industry Association (CATIA).
    The major modification of the former “Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Welfare Centre” (more commonly known as the Infant Welfare Clinic or Baby Clinic) as a visitor centre cost $260,000 of Federal funding.
    Now this public asset is abandoned, trashed and boarded up.
    Your taxes at work, yes?

  7. Domenico: We, as a town, need to seize the power to determine our own path towards future prosperity? Excellent but do you have an idea in order to do that?
    I can only think of an unified council strong enough to tell the NT government where to go!
    But this is a dream because our councillors are too busy following their own dreams.

  8. @ Evelyn: All around Australia, councils are taking up the challenges that our so-called “leaders” in Canberra (and at state and territory level) are either unable or unwilling to deal with. Climate change, to name but one.
    Whilst it would seem that our local council has had its internal divisions and a lack of coherent leadership, I believe things are about to change.
    Over the last year, AS Town Council has approved the development of a Town Plan for Alice and it has recently appointed a new CEO with the qualifications and experience to turn it into reality.
    I do not have a problem with councillors having their own dreams, so long as these are incorporated into a broader vision that will improve our town’s ability to face an uncertain future.


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