Tour of Alice Springs

Saturday October 27, 2007 (Day 11)

Alice Springs

Alice Springs is located in the geographical center or close to it of the center of the country/continent. We walked to the center of town which was five minutes away and ate at some place which had pretty good food and then found and in-doors shopping center and walked around and then had ice-cream.

The bus tour of Alice Springs included the tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Anzac Hill, Royal Flying doctors service base, the school of the air, and the historic Alice Springs telegraph station and a tour of local art at the Mbatua (Aboriginal Culture Center), once back at the hotel at 5:30 PM we decided to just eat in the room and have a glass of wine and crash.

Telegraph Station
Established in 1872 to relay messages between Darwin and Adelaide, it is the best preserved of the 12 stations along the Overland Telegraph Line. The site was first recorded by surveyor William Mills in March 1871, while in search of a suitable route for the Overland Telegraph Line through the MacDonnell Ranges. Construction of the Telegraph Station began in November 1871.

The Telegraph Station operated for 60 years, after which time the buildings served as a school, known as the Bungalow, with mixed results. Although many mixed-race Aboriginal children got an education here, it was in reality a fenced-off prison which their mothers and relatives were often forbidden to enter. Many of the stolen generations of Aboriginal people started their lives here. During WWII the army used parts of the station.

Royal Flying Doctors
This is the story of how medicine, aviation and radio were combined to bring health care to the people who live, work and travel in the more remote areas of Australia. Established in 1928 and developed on a national basis in the 1930s, the Service soon provided not only emergency medical aid to the people of the Inland, but also a comprehensive health care and community service. The development of the Inland was in many ways made easier by the presence of the Flying Doctor. Previously, serious illness or accident often meant death and the Inland holds many graves of people who might have lived had they been able to receive medical aid quickly enough.

Interesting Observations
The aborigines in and around Alice Springs seem to not have a purpose. We saw them in the parks and near the river bed area just walking and/or sitting around talking. They seem to be lost in their own world. I did not speak to them personally but just my gut feeling.

Our tour guide was telling us a story about one aborigines person who he meet and talked with. She had just purchased a TV with monies that are received on a monthly bases as part of an agreement with the Australian government. They get this money and don't know what to do with it so she bought a fancy TV. The problems is these people live in places where there is no electrical power and in fact they don't live in houses just in a community.