Thursday, June 13, 2024

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HomeIssue 5Awe and wonder banned in Alice

Awe and wonder banned in Alice


Sir – Another nail was hammered into the coffin of common sense, logic and reason this week as officials in Alice Springs erected a barbed wire fence to “close off” entry to the informal walking track to the summit of Mt Gillen.

The track was mainly used by Alice Springs locals and the occasional well-informed tourist.

The journey that uplifted the soul and nourished your well-being, filling you up with awe and wonder, is now banned and those that enjoy an invigorating walk, breath of fresh air and an outstanding view will now be fined for their trouble (if they catch you!).

It’s insulting to every Alice resident who are all custodians of the land they live on that they are now banned from enjoying their own backyard.
Australia is unique in the world in banning Awe and Wonder and the enjoyment of natural places.
Marc Hendrickx
former Alice Springs resident
Berowra Hts NSW
PHOTO: Not only the northern flank of Mt Gillen is now off-limits, but the southern one is too, including a string of ravines, some rivalling King’s Canyon in their beauty. The nearest to town is just minutes’ walk from the tourism precinct, and all were regarded as major potential tourist attractions.


  1. So sad that our wonderful country cannot be enjoyed by all Australians.
    In most of the rest of the world the countries want others to come see and enjoy their wonders of the world, we lock ours down. Nothing to do with “We are all Australian”.

  2. That’s a wonderful photo! The ripple marks on the bedding surface amazing and very reminiscent of Kings Canyon. The walk to the summit either from the Desert Park or from the south would be a great place to take geology and geography students. But of course now it’s off limits to all but a few it will never happen. Shame.

  3. I have been a regular visitor to Alice Springs over the last decade plus. I always walked Mt Gillen each time (13 coz I counted) because it was exhilarating and the reward was magnificent views.
    Can’t believe the selfishness of locking it up. If it was being abused fix that.
    This country belongs to all Australians.

  4. Many tourists come, hoping to have an Indigenous cultural experience. It can be hard to find cos there is so little respect for it in our country.

  5. This banning of climbs and walks has nothing to do with cultural aspects. It’s happening everywhere now across Australia because the government is running scared! It’s all to do with money. No walks and climbs in national parks means it costs the government less. It’s also scared of being sued (more money) if anything goes wrong (no money being spent on maintenance etc) – their fault.
    So, as per usual government policy, take the easy way out, no matter what, as the government are only concerned about themselves.
    Their answer: Just close everything, easy, we all still get paid and get our pensions whether we do the right thing or not! Accepting no accountability ever for what they do or don’t do) as per usual. QED.
    [ED – Q.E.D. is an initialism of the Latin phrase “quod erat demonstrandum”, literally meaning “what was to be shown”.]

  6. Larry, sad when the only cultural experience on offer is a barbed wire fence or a locked gate.
    There is plenty of room for compromise. Surely a group of volunteers could maintain the trail and thus ensure it posed no major issues.

  7. And another nail: Be warned, if you want to explore the beauty of Bribie Island National Park (a large chunk of which is used commercially to grow pine, for paper and building), 35 km in length also along a public beach, a first ever in an Australian national park.
    There is a 24 hour vehicle number plate monitoring camera to fine you automatically if you haven’t got the required permit. Daily cost over $50, to relieve you of over $200. Happy holiday!

  8. Let’s not forget the main protagonist in the closure saga has publicly stated on ABC Alice Springs Radio that her next objective is the closure of Desert Park and the restoration of the site.
    Who is funding the legal team that so cleverly sidestepped any inclusion by the majority of stakeholders?

  9. Marc: Who were the “officials” and under what authority did they close off the track up Mt Gillen?
    Re your comment “surely a group of volunteers could maintain the trail” – yep, that makes sense, that’s what communities are for, except when we allow bureaucrats to subcontract out everything to themselves.
    Do we simply need a decent representative in Parliament with an independent, community minded spirit? Bureaucrats will quickly scurry back into their boxes if called out effectively.


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