By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Anglican Church clearly still considers the historic St Mary’s home for children as just a piece of real estate, despite the passionately expressed attachment to it by former residents.
The eight hectare lot on the South Stuart Highway is offered for sale as a “large leafy block … selling on a walk in – walk out basis with vacant possession at settlement.
“The prospects are unlimited for the right buyer.”
The church says it needs the money and has not responded to appeals by former residents, including the Stolen Generations Group, to preserve part of the land, including the chapel, and to give public access to it as a memorial to the Stolen Generation.
Mark Smith, the chairman of St Francis House in Adelaide, which launched several young Aboriginal men from Alice Springs on national careers, says he has still received no reply from the Anglican NT Diocese, nor its Bishop, Greg Anderson, to a letter sent last month.
Mr Smith says he attended the Christmas sermon in Adelaide’s St Peter’s Cathedral, by Geoffrey Martyn Smith (no relation), the Archbishop of Adelaide and the Anglican Primate of Australia.
The Archbishop said the church needs to be “respectful of First Nations people,” according to Mr Smith.
But this pledge is in stark contrast to the current actions of the church at the other end of the country.
The St Mary’s land is touted, in a window display and online by Nutrien Harcourts real estate agency in Alice Springs, as an “excellent opportunity … present use as residential accommodation … short drive to CBD and Airport … potential for development / further enhancements”.
Even the chapel is listed as an asset.
Bishop Anderson told the News the church “would seek to find a buyer who would commit to preserving the St Mary’s legacy. We have asked potential buyers to comment on the chapel site in their expressions of interest.”
None of this is mentioned in the advertising.
What would happen if such a buyer could not be found? No response from Bishop Anderson.
We’re again seeking comment.