A compromise may have been reached that will help the National Trust keep the Hartley Street School – one of the few heritage buildings in the Alice CBD – open to the public as a museum.
Following a deputation to the Town Council on Monday night by members of the local McDouall Stuart Branch, an offer has been made on the future leasing arrangements of the building, owned by council and leased to the National Trust for a peppercorn rent for the last 24 years.
The lease expires on July 31 this year. Critical to the negotiations it seems is the income the trust is able to generate from two tenancies in the building, some $36,000 a year when both are let (there is one vacancy at the moment).
The trust was hoping for a new lease for 10 + 10 years over the whole building, and to retain the sub-lease income.
Committee and branch members turned up in good number of Monday night, with chairman Stuart Traynor and long-time committee member Dave Leonard articulately putting their case.
Questions from councillors concerned what the tenancy income was spent on and whether it was spent in Alice Springs (Deputy Mayor Brendan Heenan), the condition of the building (Crs Heenan and Geoff Booth) and the long-term sustainability of the volunteer effort (Cr Eli Melky).
This last was a "very tough question", acknowledged Mr Traynor, the "Achilles heel for heritage conservation".
Cr Melky also wanted to know what the branch would do if they didn't get the tenancy income: would they accept a 10 plus 10 year lease without it? KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured, above: Dave Leonard (left) and Stuart Traynor in the Hartley Street School museum, kept open by volunteers six days a week. • Left: From the street the museum gives an idea of what the mid-20th century Alice looked like.
UPDATE Saturday, May 5, 3.05pm: Detectives in Alice Springs have this morning laid charges against two 17 year-old youths who Police believe were involved in the alleged sexual assault of two tourists in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Detective Acting Superintendent Travis Wurst said one of the youths has been charged with Sexual Intercourse Without Consent, Acts of Gross Indecency, Deprivation of Liberty, Assault and Threaten with a Firearm along with numerous other offences: “The other youth has at this stage only been charged with the Unlawful Use of a Motor Vehicle (similar to the one pictured) in relation to the alleged sexual assault but we hope to lay further charges as the investigation continues.”
A/Supt Wurst said the firearm allegedly used in the incident has not yet been found.
UPDATE Friday, May 4, 6.50pm: Alice Springs Police have located a green Toyota Ascent (similar to pictured) allegedly stolen and used during a sexual assault in Alice Springs on Wednesday.
Detective Acting Superintendent Travis Wurst said the vehicle was found in Ntaria [Hermannsburg], about 130 kilometres south west of Alice Springs.
Police believe the weapon used during the alleged sexual assault was also used in an attempted armed robbery of a taxi early on the same morning.
“The three 17 year olds arrested for the sexual assault are also believed to be involved in this crime.
“A firearm was used to threaten the driver and occupants of the taxi before the offenders fled. Nothing was stolen from the taxi.
“There were three passengers in the taxi who Police would now like to come forward."
We're used to the word 'remote' in Central Australia but try this for size: to reach the string of five art centres that make up Omie Artists you must trek by foot for up to three days, often (for seven months of the year and then some) in torrential rain, across flooding rivers, clambering up muddy mountain sides and slithering down again. The company's valiant manager, Brennan King, with six Omie security guards, necessary to protect him from attack by 'rascals' from the neighbouring tribe, make this journey several times a year. The artists' work – among the last traditional barkcloths being produced in the world – has to be brought out the same way, rolled over PVC pipes and hoisted on the shoulders of the art centre coordinators.
How remarkable then for these works, steeped in the law and lore of the Omie tribe of Papua New Guinea and many of them a tour de force of design brilliance, to arrive on our doorstep here in the dry centre of Australia and to resonate so strongly with us.
This experience we owe to, apart from Omie Artists, RAFT Artspace in Alice Springs. Its curator Dallas Gold wants to take the pulse of contemporary art in our region (in its expanded definition) and give us a sense of its dynamism, diversity, achievement and promise. This is the third exciting show in a row at RAFT, each stop opening up a window onto a world rich with beauty, ideas, observation and spirit.
The Omie are few in number, King says about 1800 according to a census done by the Omie themselves in 2009. Around 70 artists are producing barkcloths. KIERAN FINNANE reports.
Pictured, above left: Omie dance a welcome celebration for Brennan King's arrival at their newest art centre in January 2010. • Above: Pig tusks and teeth, and fern leaves by Linda-Grace Savari. Photos courtesy Omie Artists.