Head south, young man



The Aboriginal Art Gallery? Interesting times we live in: Here is my vision of how south of The Gap could give a run for its money to all of the town north of the ranges.

What are tourists interested in? Just spend time at the Welcome Rock (2 on the Google Earth image) and ask them!

There’s a lot more than readily meets the eye.

1 The Transport Hall of Fame: What a waste of all that history at the back of a great display, when you go to Ilford, east of Longreach (pictured at top), and see what is possible. Also McLaren Vale is showing how far behind we are.

3 A giant image like at Aileron could go there, of an indigenous family, an Afghan cameleer, with camel, an European settler. This is the attention grabber for the whole of the NT, not just Alice.

4 Arid Zone Research Industry (AZRI). Desert research as in other desert countries – water usage and desert food research. Camelicious as in Dubai. Centre of excellence as per Townsville / Mega central in geology research, featuring the history of the ranges. Bush foods display.

5 & 6 Yirara  in conjunction with the planned cultural centre, with the students as “demonstrators of their cultures and a training area in commerce. 

7 Desert Knowledge with Indigenous training and education.

8 The strip of land between the highway and Kilgariff as a bush food heaven maintained by the jail workers as a demonstration of the emerging industry and Indigenous pride.

9 Bird watching.

10 I would also like to see a walkway at the Old Timers, with background signage about the history of some of the landmarks. I’ve just read Bryan Bowmans book.

11 Pitchi Richi now with historian Alex Nelson in residence, looking forward to new glory.

I was once told by a family lawyer that I was a dreamer. True enough, but it’s easy to be complacent.

[TREVOR SHIELL is a veteran tourism operator in The Centre.]


  1. This would be terrific Trevor. The government should understand that the tourists will go to the art gallery when they are in Alice, but they will not come to Alice only for an art gallery.
    As a small tourism operator, I used to take a tour to the Yeperenye school like we do for the School of the Air and I know that the students were proud to show their classroom sharing with the visitors and asking them questions on their homeland.
    Those who make all those decisions should ask themselves what do they like to see when they travel to another country: Would they go to Paris only for the Eiffel Tower or Italy for the Leaning Tower?

  2. Dreamers are important Trevor but so are cynics.
    Transport Hall of Fame / Giant image maybe.
    AZRI would need massive new funding.
    Yirara students demonstrating their culture. Scary.
    Desert Knowledge has very little Indigenous training to showcase.
    Bird Watching. Not attractive to most tourists.
    Walkway at the Old Timers. Not really a drawcard.
    Pitchi Richi good idea but the only one.
    South of The Gap is a lost cause
    The focus now needs to be on the appalling gallery concept.
    One of the architects designed the brilliant Stuart Highway fence and the award winning Rusty Box plus a superb building for a local school.
    There is no lack of talent to rework the design.

  3. Yes Ilfracombe. What a sight driving through that town. Looking back at what could be here and is not, its sad.
    Why is Yirara scary? They have so much to offer in developing and showing leadership.
    Why are the water saving and modern food production techniques developed in the Middle East not on display here in OUR desert environment and not being on display here rather than in Dubai and Israel? Do we really need the 40 centre pivots at Stirling when the science to do the same as in the Middle East can be on display and developed here?
    How can they grow coffee in the desert? Its because no one bothered to invite them and learn from them.
    Why does Winton have such an integrated display of what their district has to offer based on the Waltzing Matilda legend when we have Ted singing “A town like Alice”?
    Would the Big Mac get much custom if they expected customers to walk 200 metres to get a feed?
    Their signage helps. Yet that’s what we expect our visitors to do to get info.
    The world is now based around cars unfortunately and the CBD is no longer fit for that purpose.
    It should now focus on accomodation, and services. Try getting access to the post office, or courthouse, or police facilities while the facilities could easily be decentralised – particularly when disabled or towing a caravan, and get the tourism attractions out to where they can park their cars.
    The major retail stores learned that years ago, and Mclaren Vale and Mt Isa have done that with brilliant success for 20 years.
    But we are slow learners, and dominated by self interest in the town.

  4. Did anyone else hear the interview by Trevor Chappell in place of Macca on Australia All Over two years or to ago when Chappell interviewed travellers on what they required from a visitors centre?
    Their answers were pretty uniform: AMPLE PARKING SPACE FOR CARAVANS AND CLEAN TOILETS.
    Ours in town has none of these but the Hall of Fame does. Selective hearing perhaps?
    The classic case of providers telling the market what the market’s needs are.
    Any normal business that pushes that line would go broke.
    So far as the Government up there is concerned, Alice sits next to the Mawson base in Antartica.


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