From two media releases today ...
As National Reconciliation Week activities kicked off today across the nation, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, encouraged all Australians to have a conversation about reconciliation and constitutional recognition.
Reconciliation Week is an important time to celebrate the contributions, cultures and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their place in our nation [and] a great opportunity for Australians to continue the conversation about recognising Indigenous people in the Constitution.
To our brothers and sisters ... we say to you, we are with you and we will stand with you as one peoples against the Australian Federal Government Stronger Futures Bills and Northern Territory Policies.
We call on the Federal Government to scrap the Stronger Futures laws [and] we call for full return of our land rights. We say no to further mining exploration, and we withdraw support of all new mines.
Alyawarr spokesperson, Central Australia
Backpackers Zoé Mulliez and Maxime (Max for short) Delattre, political science students from Rennes in France, ignored poor advance publicity about Alice Springs and decided to make it part of their Central Australian visit earlier this month. Introduced to them by a mutual friend, the Alice Springs News Online asked them to write a frank account of their experience, why they had come, what they had found, and what they thought about it on reflection. It's not all pretty but the good news is that they still want to come back.
After a one-week journey that had taken us from Sydney to Adelaide, we were getting ready to our next step: Alice Springs. As European backpackers and through our different connections in Australia, we had received several feedbacks about the city which were, to say the least, fairly derogatory. Were we only content with the impressions we had heard, we would have expected to come across a ghost city inhabited by an Aboriginal community believed to be hostile to white people. However, Alice Springs, well known by travelers to be a stop-by city to access the Red Centre, sounded anyway attractive to us. We really wanted to get an understanding of the life-style of the inhabitants of the Outback as well as the Aboriginal culture and this way, be able to form our own opinion. Zoé Mulliez and Maxime Delattre comment.
Ormiston Gorge by Douglas Abbott.
The watercolour tradition known as the Hermannsburg School and established by Albert Namatjira is alive and well. An exhibition of current exponents at Talapi in Todd Mall shows their distinct approaches and leaves an impression of artists fanning out into the country in all directions, capturing it in many moods.
A superb large painting by Douglas Kwarlpe Abbott takes you into Ormiston Gorge, in the glow of late afternoon, when the gorge is full of water and golden lighten, the tree tops molten lime and and cliff-faces softly radiant in mauves and reddish-pinks. A feast of colour without tipping towards too much, this painting is so seductive of the senses that you can almost hear the hum of early summer.
Other smaller works by the same artist are all but on fire with the intense reds of sunstruck rockfaces, such as his rendering of Standley Chasm, a subject made familiar by his artistic forebears, Namatjira and Rex Battarbee.
Peter Taylor in contrast captures the bright white light defining the edges of things and structuring his compositions like the bones of a hand. The dazzle becomes more diffuse across the sweeping valleys and dancing ranges rendered by Hubert Pareroultja or Gloria Paanka, while Elton Wirri brings out the shadows that firmly ground the landscape features. By KIERAN FINNANE
The proverbial handful of rice became, briefly, a reality for students and staff of St Philip's College.
By far the largest group, 76% of the 600 students taking part, had nothing else for lunch yesterday: eating just boiled rice, they represented the third world populations who mostly go hungry.
A second group had MacDonald's fare – hamburger and icecream: they represented the well-fed first world. It was the smallest group, 7% of the participants.
And the group in the middle, 17%, had fried rice with vegies.
This World at Lunch initiative was organised by Year 12 students Jessica Sullivan and Caroline McClure and members of the Senior Round Square Committee.
It made us aware how lucky we are, and we should all do more to help, said the students the Alice News spoke to.
Some encouraged other schools to hold a World at Lunch as well.
PICTURED are Ross Cairns, 13, and Round Square Prefect Caroline McClure, 17, with their handfuls of rice. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
I have always loved pre-loved stuff and as a teenager I think I had the cream of the crop of stuff from deceased estates getting put back into circulation. Nice stuff, real stuff made out of really nice materials, from clothes to lamps and bits of furniture. All somehow original in their pre-worn or used character. Nowadays I feel like you're lucky to get your hands on some vintage Target or IKEA. It does happen though and then it is a quintessentially Alice Springs experience to also bump into the item’s previous owner.
This is OK with me. In fact, one of the first things that I discovered with delight about Alice was the versatility of ‘used’ goods and the creativity and resourcefulness of handy types, particularly heightened in a town situated even further away than usual from the manufacturing place of an item.
What I can’t stand is mass-produced new stuff. Like the time my mum came to visit and bought me a dress from one of the clothing stores in town, a nice dress, nice fabric and cut, and not expensive. Anyway seems at least three other ladies shared that opinion as well as a lad whom I also spotted sporting the said frock ...
Photo: The town's reading matter gets recycled at the annual Old Timers' Fete. Alice News archive.
Make yourself at home: that's the message to the public in Melbourne's Federation Square, with deckchairs provided so you can chase the sun, or cushions to make sitting on the stairs more comfortable. Is there a lesson here for Alice?
Most of the services located underground in Todd Mall have now been identified and August is the expected start date for the first stage of redevelopment works.
These will focus on Parsons Street – widening the southern footpath, resurfacing the footpaths and road, redoing the stormwater drainage which will feed a water feature, introducing trees.
Pedestrian areas will not be affected in the lead-up to Christmas, with the works stopping short of the bandstand.
The sails and bandstand will be removed starting mid-January 2013, and roadworks will continue, creating the bend that will ultimately connect with the road into the northern end of the mall from Wills Terrace. At this stage public art and shade structures, the design of which has not yet been completed, will also begin to be installed.
Roadworks at the north end are planned to start in mid-February 2013.
Meanwhile, Alice Springs will pass through another tourist season and head into another summer. Is there something to do other than wait?
Report, comment and photos by KIERAN FINNANE.
Pictured above: A former newstand converted into a coffee stall, adding to the liveliness and appeal of Swanston Street in Melbourne. Could council call for expressions of interest in running something like this after hours in the mall, when the cafes close?
Rosalie Kunoth-Monks misses out
Former president of Barkly Shire and prominent opponent of the Federal Intervention, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, has lost to Eileen Bonney and Timothy Jakara Price in the supplementary election for the Alyawarr Ward in Barkly Shire. Mrs Kunoth-Monks did not stand for the general election but threw her hat in the ring when not enough candidates came forward to fill the vacancies in Alyawarr Ward.
Participation in the vote was low – 25%
In the Central Desert Shire's Anmatjere Ward James Glenn (who sat on the first shire council), Marlene Tilmouth and Benedy Bird have been elected. Former councillor Dianne Martin, who stood and lost in the Southern Tanami Ward and then stood again in the supplementary election for this neighbouring ward, missed out.
Participation was at 34%.
In MacDonnell Shire's Rodinga Ward Louise Cavanagh won convincingly over her sole rival, Rosalie Riley, 76.6% to 23.4%.
Participation was at 32.6%.
UPDATE 1:30 May 28: Police have now disclosed that the taxi's passenger, described as a 34 year old female, was issued with a liquor infringement notice, an on-the-spot fine. That means the owner and purchaser of the liquor was fined $100 plus $20 victim levy under Section 75(1)(c) of the NT Liquor Act targeting anyone who "consumes, sells, supplies or otherwise disposes of liquor in a general restricted area."
Meanwhile, forfeiture of the car may be part of the penalty the driver is facing.
UPDATE 10:10 May 24: Police are now seeking legal advice about the responsibilities of taxi drivers carrying passengers who have alcohol in their possession.
The Alice Springs News Online this morning put the following question to Police Commissioner John McRoberts: "If – say – a German tourist and his wife took a taxi, bought a bottle of champagne in a bottle shop, and then went to Anzac Hill to watch the sunset over a glass of bubbly, would the taxi driver be obliged to stop them from doing so?
"What would he be required to do? What would the police do to him if he did not act as the police requires?
Bear in mind that Alice Springs is also a prescribed town [with large signs at the entrance] where drinking in public is prohibited."
A spokesperson for the Commissioner replied: "The Police are currently seeking legal advice. Once there is a clearer position, I can let all the enquiring media know."
Police will be seeking the forfeiture of a taxi whose driver is alleged to have taken alcohol to a "prescribed area" in Alice Springs.
They have seized the taxi under the Commonwealth Emergency Response Legislation and charged the cabbie.
"The 50 year-old man was followed by police after his taxi was observed at a drive through bottle shop just after 2pm yesterday," says Superintendent Catherine Bennett.
"The whole community must take responsibility for minimising harm done in the town.
“Police will allege the driver of the taxi was aware the town camp was a dry area and chose to ignore the large sign at the entrance. "
UPDATE: Samih Habib Bitar, director of Alice Springs Taxis and former alderman (pictured right), says all drivers know that it is illegal for grog to be taken into town camps. He says sometimes people try to hide grog amongst their groceries. "It's up to the driver to check," he says, "to make sure their boot is clean. The company tells everyone to check."
On the possible penalty for a breach, he says "we all must pay for our mistakes" and hopes everyone "learns a lesson" .
Above: Cr Steve Brown at the turnoff (in progress) into the new suburb of Kilgariff. He says council should make sure the development of affordable residential land there becomes a top priority for the NT Government.
Publicly funded institutions will be getting marks on a monthly basis for what they are doing – or not doing – for Alice Springs, if newly elected Councillor Steve Brown gets his way.
"We'll be marking them up or down," he says, "and the results will be made public."
This evaluation of "key performance indicators" will embrace Federal, state and local government instrumentalities and departments, as well as the myriad of local non-government agencies (NGOs) funded from the public purse, including Aboriginal organisations.
Performance will be judged from the perspective of the town council "because it is the town's principal elected body" and would be in charge of the initiative. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Laughter, more than tears, tells this foundation story of black-white relations.
What did we feel coming away from the show of the theatre production, Namatjira? That things will get better, that they are better – between black and white Australians and for Aboriginal people themselves. And this was despite the sad, even bleak last scenes that show the unrelenting pressures on famed Arrernte watercolour painter Albert Namatjira as he tried to manage his success in the white world and his position within his own large family and wider clan; and despite our recognition that these pressures in many ways are unchanged today.
So how better? By the very fact these two outstanding Aboriginal performers, Trevor Jamieson and Derek Lynch, and all their collaborators, are able to trace this foundation story of black-white relations through laughter, more than tears, and through a rich narrative, not ideology, sentiment and slogans. And by the fact that they have drawn sell-out houses around Australia; that 850 people, mostly remote community residents, traveled into Ntaria / Hermannsburg for the staging of the play there last Wednesday night; that Araluen sold out two shows on Saturday and could probably have sold out a third. We are hungry for this – being able to laugh at ourselves, at our collective foibles, clumsiness, ignorance as we deal with one another, being able to rejoice in the creativity and friendships that bridge the gaps. For the revelatory story of the show is the friendship (much more than mentorship) between Namatjira and the World War I veteran turned artist Rex Battarbee – the ways that art opened up possibilities for them both, became the bridge between them and the ground for a friendship that endured. KIERAN FINNANE reviews.
Pictured: Derek Lynch (left) and Trevor Jamieson, with artists from the Namatjira family in the background. Photo by Grant McIntyre, courtesy Big hART.
Ken Johnson's efforts in controlling exotic grasses and allowing native vegetation to re-establish on the east bank of the Todd in town have paid off with one spectacular dividend.
For three days running now, a flock of Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos have been attracted to this area, hanging around for hours at a time. They're attracted to the seeds (not least the prickles!) which they are munching out on.
I'm fairly sure they first turned up only three days ago, as I walk across the river every day and never noticed their presence earlier. The other give-away of their initial presence was that they caused quite a stir amongst the local crows, which are not used to the presence of black cockatoos in this location. There was a bit of a barney going on! It all seems to have settled down now. ALEX NELSON reports.
PHOTO at top (in the rural area of Alice Springs) by ERWIN CHLANDA. Urban cockies by ALEX NELSON.
UPDATE 7:15pm, May 30: Oops, he's gone again. NT Police are seeking public assistance to apprehend teenaged escapee Ian Pope (pictured) who escaped from Police custody this afternoon in Alice Springs.
Commander Michael Murphy said 17-year-old Ian Pope escaped when he was being escorted between the Court House and the Police Watch House at approximately 5:10 pm.
“He was last seen running towards the Todd River from the CBD wearing a black hooded jumper, long jeans, bright fluoro shoes and a black hat. He is also handcuffed to the front.
“I urge Ian Pope to surrender himself or anyone that knows of his whereabouts to contact Police as a matter of urgency.
“We are appealing to the public to be on the look out for this young man and report any sightings immediately," said Commander Murphy.
Police do not consider Ian Pope to be a threat to safety but caution people not approach him.
Anybody who knows the whereabouts of Ian Pope or who may have seen him is urged to contact Police on 131 444 or call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
UPDATE 5:30pm, May 29: Alice Springs Police have this afternoon located and arrested a 17 year-old youth who had escaped from custody on May 19. Commander Michael Murphy said the young man was apprehended in a town camp after members of the public had sighted him and called Police.
"This is a very good example of Police and the community working together to minimise harm in the town and reduce crime.”
Commander Murphy said the youth will be charged with escaping lawful custody and there is the possibility of further charges once he has been interviewed by Detectives. [Police release]
UPDATE 12:50pm, May 21: The Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service (CAALAS) shares community concerns about the recent escape of seven young detainees from the Alice Springs Juvenile Detention Centre. “The events of this weekend serve as an unnecessary reminder of the shortcomings of youth detention facilities in Central Australia and the pressing need for a purpose built facility,” says CAALAS Principal Legal Officer Mark O’Reilly.
UPDATE 4:50pm, May 19: Only Ian Pope (pictured below) is still at large.
UPDATE 1:00pm, May 19: Camphoo, Jebydah, Lovegrove and Russell have been recaptured.
Police are seeking public assistance to find seven youths who escaped from the Alice Springs Juvenile Detention Centre.
A Justice Department spokesman said they are considered dangerous but they do not include the three juveniles on remand for the recent alleged rape of two European tourists in Alice Springs.
The seven are believed to have entered a ceiling space at the detention centre to access a rear storeroom which enabled them to reach the outside where they breached the centre’s perimeter fence shortly after midnight.
Centre staff "were alerted soon after and called in the dog unit from the Alice Springs Correctional Centre which tracked the group for several kilometres but lost the scent at a town camp,” the spokesman said.