Visitors who have boned up on Central Australia are likely to be expecting workers with black faces at the airport. They did – but none of these four were indigenous: Taxi drivers Harpreet Singh (from India) and Bruce Mahiangu (Zimbabwe), and security guards Gladys (from South Sudan but now – when asked where she's from – proudly saying "Australia") and Sam (Liberia). The town's cosmopolitan character has been enhanced by an injection of nearly 2,000 overseas migrants who had arrived in Australia during 2006 to 2011. They found The Alice to be a great place to find a job, a forum was told this week.
The population of Alice Springs, after a slow growth between 2001 and 2009, is now declining.
Old people are leaving. The proportion of working age people is on the way up.
There are gains in education. Many people from overseas are now working here.
Small bush towns seem doomed and the uncertain prognosis for our region is to have a non-indigenous population of just under 30,000 and an indigenous one of 20,000 by 2025. It's a mixed bag, reports ERWIN CHLANDA.
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.
Sweetness and light continued to prevail in Monday's meeting of the town council committees, with not a hint of belligerent factionalism.
The jolly consensus allowed councillors to breeze through a big agenda probably in record time – at least so far as the meeting open to the public was concerned. Even wild man Eli Melky didn't pick a single fight, instead – "wearing his Rotary hat" – effusively thanked the council for supporting the hugely successful Bangtail Muster parade, and the council technical staff for their efforts, well beyond their call of duty, to keep the re-opened pool running.
The councillors asked for more than is contained in a report about Port Augusta's successful fight against anti social behaviour.
PHOTOS: Top - The town council got a gong for its assistance to the Bangtail Muster parade. Middle - the photo councillors have in
their wallets these days: Tough Port Augusta Mayor Joy Baluch. The Alice town council is taking a hard look at her grog and crime control measures. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
I've only been in Central Australia since 1990, came up from down south seeking adventure, like most people who come to the NT.
I didn’t realise that I would marry a local pastoralist and in doing so firmly entrench my future in this region.
This town was founded by business brought in from the pioneers of the countryside, the graziers who risked their life and their savings to venture forth into the unknown to start up a virtually unknown business in the middle of nowhere.
Nowadays the town seems to rely on mining, indigenous organisations and government staff and contracts to keep businesses afloat, with a bit of tourism thrown in for good measure.
Pastoralism seems to be forgotten at times, oh, except when the fires hit last year. LIZ BIRD, from Indiana Station, is pondering, from a little distance, the question of how The Alice has changed, in this week's Food for Thought.