Places

Places are too often defined by common knowledge. The Centre’s unorthodox, uncovered terrain holds an infinite number of places to appreciate and experience from an infinite number of angles and approaches. Open your eyes and forget about what you are expecting to find – and the places will find you.

Time to walk that ancient valley

Sep 25, 2012 | 1 Comment

Time to walk that ancient valley

 By Russell Guy I read Dick Kimber’s excellent The Man from Arltunga in the late 1980s and enjoyed it so much that I gave a copy to a young friend who is no slouch when it comes to occupying his time profitably. I was not surprised when picking it up the other day to discover that it has gone into its second edition, such is the story of Walter Smith, the man from Arltunga (Hesperian Press, 1996). Gold was found in Arltunga in 1887 and a government battery was installed, drawing up to 3000 to...Read more

Apologies – and now for the good news

Jul 19, 2011 | Discuss

Apologies –  and now for the good news

Mea culpa … and may I eat humble pizza for the rest of the week. Or to put it another way, don’t be satisfied with reading the pink sign. Earlier today I placed a rather mournful post anticipating the “likely demise” of one of Alice’s favourite landmarks, the Casa Nostra restaurant –based on a planning sign directly outside the restaurant, which is on the corner of Sturt Terrace and Undoolya Road. The sign proclaimed that three two bedroom storey units would be bu...Read more

Rolling with the changes

Jun 21, 2011 | Discuss

Rolling with the changes

A long succession of frosts has blasted the last persistent vestiges of an almost luminescent green out of the Central Australian countryside. This unprecedented intensity of colour identified the thick carpet of feral grass that sprang up in the Centre’s massive wet. Now dry and almost whitened, it’s the target of firefighters as they prepare for a dangerous Spring, only weeks away. There are welcome signs of pre-emptive burns around the town, but the task for professionals and volunteers i...Read more

The house that Charlie built

Sep 09, 2010 | 2 Comments

The house that Charlie built

Real estate agents often report on a mysterious and elusive quality in older-style houses they are trying to sell across the town. “This house has an old Eastside feel to it,” say the newspaper blurbs, wherever the house may be. If the old Eastside feel could be bottled, agents would be selling it with every house built less than 40 years ago. By then the ‘feel’ had begun to disappear in newer houses, courtesy of the advent of a regular water supply, the rise of evaporative air coolers a...Read more

The Spring of the Independents

Sep 07, 2010 | 1 Comment

The Spring of the Independents

Congratulations to Julia Gillard and the Australian Labor Party, but more congratulations to the three independents from regional Australia for their unexpected but timely moment of ascendancy — and the sense of responsibility they have shown to all Australians by their considered actions. I am celebrating the rise of the independents with another walk to the hills at the beautiful centre of this great continent — for too long treated as rubbish country by the coast-clinging majority...Read more

Honouring the mongrel

Aug 15, 2010 | Discuss

Honouring the mongrel

In a post a couple of days ago Craig San Roque described  Alice Springs as a “mongrel town”, a description that I suspect holds a mixture of affection and exasperation for him. The term came up again in Craig’s memorable introduction to a congress of the Australian Association of Group Psychotherapists  held in Alice Springs on the weekend: Alice Springs as a location is known also in Arrernte as Mbantua. It is a ‘mongrel’ town, a hybrid site of arrangements and derangeme...Read more

Water Music at Ellery Creek

Apr 27, 2010 | 2 Comments

Water Music at Ellery Creek

A tour guide friend tells me that many visitors to Alice Springs are disappointed Central Australia looks so little like a desert these days. In one sense I would have to agree. After our wettest summer in ten years, the Centre is probably a little bit too green for my colour scheme – but that is mostly due to the all-pervasive presence of introduced grasses, primarily buffel and couch. And then of course there are the grasshoppers, feasting on our winter plantings But on the positive side...Read more

Have the grebes gone again?

Feb 28, 2010 | Discuss

Have the grebes gone again?

Naturalist and writer Meg Mooney wrote this lovely piece about Ellery Gorge in December last year and I put off using it in the hope I could go out to there and take some pictures of grebes. Floods and other events have made it impossible to do so but I found this snap of the beautiful gorge I took on my mobile while there with friends a bit earlier in the summer. Ellery is one of the biggest permanent waterholes in the Centre. When this picture was taken, it was at the end of a long dry spell. ...Read more

A visit to Simpson’s Gap

Feb 05, 2010 | 1 Comment

A visit to Simpson's Gap

It’s not always true that the best places are the hardest to get to. After some recent research into the history of Simpson’s Gap, I was keen to visit again. Simpson’s Gap is less than half an hour’s drive from Alice Springs. One of the important permanent waterholes for the Arrernte people, it became just as valuable to white settlers in the nineteenth and twentieth century, who ran cattle in the area. After World War Two it was run by Bob and Vicki Darken, until eventu...Read more

Alice Springs’ own lake district

Jan 30, 2010 | 3 Comments

Alice Springs' own lake district

It was interesting to read on the  ABC’s rural news site that a Central Australian “invertebrate specialist” is calling for new national park within the official town boundaries of Alice Springs. The Ilparpa Claypans are best known to locals as simply “the claypans”, and as Jochem van der Reijden points out, are the home of  a primeval shrimp, also found on the top of Uluru. If you wonder how this is possible, remember “sea monkeys” … those amazi...Read more

Surprise floor-show at Glen Helen

Jan 27, 2010 | 1 Comment

Surprise floor-show at Glen Helen

Visitors enjoying the full waterholes and perfect January weather got an unexpected bonus at Glen Helen Resort in the Western MacDonnell ranges last week. A metre-long metre western brown snake slithered into the dining room one evening, joining forty other guests dining at the fabled resort. Its appearance provoked varying levels of anxiety, and the snake, apparently equally shocked, headed behind the woodpile, which was when the excitement really began....Read more

Life in the Hugh

Jan 21, 2010 | Discuss

Life in the Hugh

A second excursion to the Hugh River revealed more signs of life as the flow of the river ended and pools developed. I was particularly intrigued by the contrasting behaviours of tadpoles and moths as Noel Ferry and I explored one stretch of the river not far from the road. And once again, lots of birds, but they weren’t hanging around. Can someone identify these moths?  I at first guessed they were hawk moths, (which emerge from the cocoon of the Yeperenye caterpillar)) but after compari...Read more