History

History is not a remote notion in the Centre. With less than 150 years since the first white man passed through, it’s a cross-cultural cauldron where the recipe is always evolving.

When worlds of the spirit crossed cultures

Dec 10, 2014 | Discuss

When worlds of the spirit crossed cultures

BLIND MOSES: ARANDA MAN OF HIGH DEGREE AND CHRISTIAN EVANGELIST By Peter Latz. Published 2014. Distributed by IAD Press, Alice Springs. Reviewed by Russell Guy. Part historical account of the Hermannsburg Lutheran Mission in Central Australia, part memoir, this book is a great yarn, and follows the long life of a central player, Blind Moses, an initiated Aranda (the author’s preferred spelling) who became a leading evangelist within the region and someone with cross-cultural influence. Latz br...Read more

Rambling in the NT political desert, Part Two

Feb 08, 2013 | Discuss

Rambling in the NT political desert, Part Two

The wild history of our fight for Federal representation Bob Durnan The controversy over Gillard’s decision to try to railroad Nova Peris through the pre-selection process has reminded me of a few adventures along these electoral paths in the past – adventures which may not be known to many recent arrivals in the Territory, and which have probably been forgotten by most other residents anyway. The NT has only had fully fledged representatives in the Federal Parliament since the election that...Read more

Nurses had to laugh

Jun 01, 2012 | Discuss

Nurses had to laugh

Listening to the woes of 79-year-old Geoffery Wallace on the ABC’s AM current affairs show recently reminded me of Max Griffith’s excellent recent talk on the history of Adelaide House. (see The Hospital They Didn’t Want). Mr Wallace, who lives on a remote cattle station in western New South Wales, had just had a few decayed teeth removed when Sally Sara caught up with him in a dentist’s surgery in Bourke. Sara’s story was about the difficulty of accessing dentists and the conseque...Read more

The hospital they didn’t want

May 15, 2012 | Discuss

The hospital they didn't want

With the ever-spreading Alice Springs Hospital near the end of its latest growth spurt, it’s fascinating to learn how ambivalent townspeople were about the idea of a hospital in the first place. As Max Griffiths related in last month’s Doreen Braitling Memorial lecture, some Central Australians actively campaigned against the town’s first hospital, Adelaide Hospital. Fate intervened rather brutally to reveal the value of professional nursing care. Max, who succeeded Fred McKay and John Fly...Read more

Return of the man from Oodnadatta

Apr 27, 2012 | Discuss

Return of the man from Oodnadatta

The unchanging ambience of  ever-gracious Adelaide House, some spirited pretending and three co-operative camels assisted  time travellers on a journey to meet one of the Centre’s most generous souls in Alice’s annual Heritage Festival this month. It’s a hundred years since Plowman, like many others of his ilk, was persuaded by the legendary John Flynn to work for the Australian Inland Mission, which he did as a volunteer up until 1917. Stationed in Oodnadatta, which was then...Read more

The missionary times: look again, says Strehlow

Jan 27, 2012 | Discuss

The missionary times: look again, says Strehlow

It’s not hard to see why John Strehlow chose to put the grandmother he never met at the centre of his epic volume The Tale of Frieda Keyser. If the missionaries of Central Australia have been neglected and undervalued by posterity, their wives have been more so, despite the huge sacrifices they often made for the people of the Centre. As I discovered when I caught up with Strehlow recently, he and his book are imbued with a 21st century mission of their own: to address widely-held assumptions ...Read more

On the boundary lines

Jan 03, 2012 | Comments Off on On the boundary lines

On the boundary lines

Walkey-award winning author of  King Brown Country – the betrayal of Papunya, Russell Skelton returns to the history of Papunya for an interesting discussion on the early days of the western desert art movement and the role played by the late Geoff Bardon, in last weekend’s Age newspaper. The story relates to the “the most comprehensive exhibition of early Papunya Tula boards ever staged. Tjukurrtjanu: Origins of Western Desert Art, at the NGV’s Ian Potter Centre, prese...Read more

Getting history out of Pandora’s box

Dec 07, 2011 | 1 Comment

Getting history out of Pandora's box

Aspects of Alice Springs bring out the historian in people: its isolation, its awe-inspiring centrality, the freshness of cross-cultural contact and the sense that anything could happen. It seems as if you can get a handle on how and why we are the way we are, and amateur historians have always been thick on the ground, ready to argue a point with authorities or each other, often in public. Pat Jackson had the daunting job of keeping the historians happy when she became the first manager of the ...Read more

The Tale of Frieda Keysser

Nov 14, 2011 | Discuss

The Tale of Frieda Keysser

John Strehlow’s biography of his grandparents Carl Strehlow and Frieda Keysser  is an early Christmas present for lovers of Central Australian history. To be officially launched in Alice Springs next month, The Tale Of Frieda Keysser is an epic yarn centred on the wife of the Hermannsburg missionary and mother of anthropologist Ted Strehow, a story John has been working on since 1994, researching his subjects in dozens of archives in Germany, Australia and the UK). John presents the follo...Read more

Window on the vanished world of H. H. Finlayson

Oct 13, 2011 | Discuss

Window on the vanished world of H. H. Finlayson

Public talks organised by the National Trust are almost invariably worth bottling. From my encounters with the story of H. H. Finlayson, whose photos can be seen at the Central Australian Museum, I am sure this presentation by Ken Johnson will be an ideal way to spend Sunday afternoon. An early scientist who collected over 2,000 mammal specimens and amassed more than 5,000 photographs is the subject of a free National Trust presentation this Sunday at the Hartley Street School. Hedley Herbert Fi...Read more

Back in the days of half a mall

Sep 29, 2011 | 1 Comment

Back in the days of half a mall

Prompted by discussion about reopening the northern end of the Todd Mall to traffic, Kim Petersen has unearthed this remarkable film he made in 1982, not long before Todd Street was completely blocked off to cars between Wills and Gregory Terraces. This was such a huge step at the time that the Council originally decided to go with a ‘semi-mall’, with one-way traffic and much wider footpaths. It was before I got here, but I’m told Todd Street was lined with big cedar trees befo...Read more

The Ghost of Araluen, part one.

Aug 07, 2011 | Discuss

The Ghost of Araluen, part one.

By Alex Nelson On Wednesday, 27 July 2011, two seemingly unrelated events occurred that – to my mind, at least – illustrates perfectly the peculiarly interconnected and cyclical nature of history in our town. The first of these was the revelation that the cleared site for a major five-storey complex, formerly Melankas, had been placed online for sale. The second was the final decision of the NT Electoral Commission of the redistribution of electoral boundaries, which opted to retain the name...Read more