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HomeVolume 29Our showgrounds – more than meets the eye

Our showgrounds – more than meets the eye

By ERWIN CHLANDA

Everyone knows the Annual Show is going to be there this Friday, and the Red Centre Nats for revheads in August, but Blatherskite Park caters for a string of further community uses and is looking for more on its 80 hectares.

Run by volunteers – usually seven trustees, currently six – the park’s range of income is from renting out horse stables to providing spaces for clubs such as the Radio Control Car Club, the Men’s Shed, the Hindu Society, BMX, two dog clubs and lots more.

The boom periods include the Finke with competitors and visitors setting up camp in the park, and other times when town caravan parks are overflowing.

Occasional users include the Defence Forces, and other large groups, appreciating the generous space for camping as a big group.

Blatherskite has 30 approved caravan and camping sites.

There has been conflict with private caravan park owners claiming unfair competition from the government. 

But manager Rachel Turner, who’s been in the position for a year, says: “In my time here our relationships with other caravan and camping businesses has been cordial and helpful.”

The park has some 100 structures plus roads, many of them ageing, fences, water and electricity systems, trees requiring safety pruning, all of which, of course, need maintenance costing money.

This can be “challenging,” she says.

Some cash comes from the NT Government – Ms Turner said she could not disclose the amount.

The government “also helps out at times of unexpected problems.

“The government also helps in time of large, unexpected problems.” 

The government owns the land.

The management by the trustees is gazetted under the Crown Lands Act, as is the case with Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, the only two Recreation Reserves under the Crown Lands Act in The Centre.

Photo Show website.

The park was set up in 1977 mostly to cater for Alice’s diverse horse riding community and to provide a much bigger ground for the Show which till then had been staged at Traeger Park in town.

Ms Turner says Blatherskite Park has been developed with aid from the NT Government and grants awarded to the varied user groups.

Equestrian clubs included, and still do, the pony club, western riding and others that promote dressage and showjumping, still providing spectacular competition in the arena in front of the grandstand during much of the Show.

There is a rodeo arena, available for hire by allcomers.

Some 80 agisted horses are also a money earner, grazing between September and May.

Among them are race horses from Darwin being spelled, local horses needing to be spelled and get on some grass as well as old, small or injured animals.

Ms Turner says Power & Water is a great help, supplying the park with reclaimed water and receiving the effluent from the park.

She says the trust is keen for the community to see the park as a place for families to have a picnic, generally recreate and to engage with the multitude of interest groups there.

PHOTO: Sideshow alley, 2019.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks for this, drove past it on the way to the animal shelter last Saturday and noted all the campers; wondered what the arrangements were.

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