Alice Springs, within the Northern Territory in Central Australia is unlike anywhere else I’ve visited so far.
I have really sensed the aboriginal roots, which I’ve not felt as greatly anywhere else to date.
I thought I’d check out the Telegraph Station this morning.
Post Telegraph Office
The first telegraph message was sent from Alice Springs to Adelaide on 3 Jan 1872. The Alice Springs Telegraph station was midway between Darwin and Adelaide. It was a pretty major feat installing an overhead telegraph line through unchartered countryside. This now meant that folks in Australia were less isolated and could exchange messages in a matter of hours rather than taking months by sea.
When the Post Office (Telegraph Station) was relocated into town the TS became known as the ‘Bungalow’.
The Bungalow was initially a shed behind the Stuart Arms hotel in town and used to house half caste children.
The govt had adopted a policy of taking half caste children away from their mothers and placing them in institutions.
In 1941 the Bungalow closed when the govt decided to subsidize church missions willing to take over the care of those with mixed descent.
The Telegraph Station was then used to house native labor gangs for the army. The army needed a workforce to move supplies, work on essential services and other tasks.
In the 1950’s the Govt was still trying to segregate the aboriginals and the white people. In 1954, the aboriginals were moved to a new site built at Amoonguna.
At that point the buildings at the Telegragh site were demolished.
Only in 1963 was the site handed over to the NT Reserves Board and restoration of the buildings began.
Whilst there I walked up to Trig Hill which gave a great view of the Telegraph Site and surrounding countryside.
Then onto Alice Springs Desert Park. It was interesting to walk around a park in the desert dedicated to creatures found there. My favorite was a Central Netted Dragon and a Thorny Devil.
Central Netted Dragon
Onto the Araluen Arts Centre which was a hive of folks wearing beanies. It was still very hot for me today, way too hot to wear a woolly hat!!
A very creative Beanie!
The Arts Centre had plenty to offer as well as woolly hats: a couple of exhibitions, a sculpture garden, the museum of Central Australia,the Strehlow Research Centre and also the Australian Aviation Centre.
I learnt some more about the aboriginal culture and the impact Strehlow had on the people over the years.
The aviation hangars were also interesting. They had video footage of how they used to distribute mail by plane and also how the flying doctors worked.
All in all a lot to digest!
Dotted mural at the Arts Centre!
Number of driving kms today = 25
Total number of driving kms in Aus = 5753
Cumulative driving kms to date (NZ & Aus) = 11,017
Total Number of flight kms = 15,031
Cumulative driving & flight kms = 26,048