Alice Springs in Australia

Saturday, 12 August 2023 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General
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© Bahnfrend/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Bahnfrend/cc-by-sa-4.0

Alice Springs (Eastern Arrernte: Mparntwe), is the third-largest town in the Northern Territory, Australia. The name Alice Springs was given by surveyor William Whitfield Mills after Alice, Lady Todd (née Alice Gillam Bell), wife of the telegraph pioneer Sir Charles Todd. Known colloquially as ‘The Alice’ or simply ‘Alice’, the town is situated roughly in Australia’s geographic centre. It is nearly equidistant from Adelaide and Darwin. The area is also known locally as Mparntwe to its original inhabitants, the Arrernte, who have lived in the Central Australian desert in and around what is now Alice Springs for tens of thousands of years.

Alice Springs had an urban population of 25,912 in August 2021. The town’s population accounts for approximately 10 per cent of the population of the Northern Territory. The town straddles the usually dry Todd River on the northern side of the MacDonnell Ranges. The surrounding region is known as Central Australia, or the Red Centre, an arid environment consisting of several deserts. Temperatures in Alice Springs can vary, with an average maximum in summer of 35.6°C (96.1°F) and an average minimum in winter of 5.1°C (41.2°F).

The modern town of Alice Springs has both European and Aboriginal influences. The town’s focal point, the Todd Mall, hosts a number of Aboriginal art galleries and community events. Alice Springs’ desert lifestyle has inspired several unique events, such as the Camel Cup, the Henley-on-Todd Regatta, Beanie Festival and the Tatts Finke Desert Race.

Alice Springs has many historic buildings, including the Overland Telegraph Station, the Old Courthouse and Residency and the Hartley Street School. Adelaide House, a beautiful stone building in the middle of the Mall, Central Australia’s first hospital, was designed and built by the Rev. John Flynn, founder of the world’s first flying doctor service, in 1926. It was also the site of the world’s first successful portable wireless radio experiment conducted by Alf Traeger. Today it is a museum, one of several significant tourist attractions which form part of ‘The Flynn Trail’ a self-guided urban heritage trail. Today, the town is an important tourist hub and service centre for the surrounding area. It is a well-appointed town for its size, with several large hotels, a world-class convention centre, and a good range of visitor attractions, restaurants, and other services.

Adelaide House © Gabriele Delhey/cc-by-sa-3.0 Alice Springs Railway Station with The Ghan © Reinhard Dietrich © Bahnfrend/cc-by-sa-4.0 The Ghan at Alice Springs © Mike Young/cc-by-2.5 Todd Mall © Gabriele Delhey/cc-by-sa-3.0 Alice Springs from Anzac Hill © Johannes Püller/cc-by-sa-2.0-at
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Alice Springs from Anzac Hill © Johannes Püller/cc-by-sa-2.0-at
Alice Springs began as a service town to the pastoral industry that first came to the region. The introduction of the rail line increased its economy. Today the town services a region of 546,046 square kilometres (210,830 sq mi) and a regional population of 38,749. The region includes a number of mining and pastoral communities, the Joint Defence Space Research Facility at Pine Gap and tourist attractions at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Watarrka National Park and the MacDonnell Ranges. The largest employer in Alice Springs is the Northern Territory Government, with 8% of employed people working in government administration, 7% in school education, and 4% in the Alice Springs Hospital. The economy of Alice Springs is somewhat reliant on domestic and international tourism, with 4% of its workforce employed providing accommodation. Several major tour companies have a base in Alice Springs, as well as numerous local operators offering tours to sites in the region, including Uluru and the MacDonnell Ranges. A dispatch centre for the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia operates here.

Alice Springs is known as the Aboriginal Art capital of Central Australia, home to many local and Aboriginal art galleries. Indigenous Australian art is the more dominant, and galleries showcase the rich culture and native traditions that abound in Central Australia. Trade in Aboriginal art soared after the painting movement began at Papunya, a Central Australian Aboriginal settlement, and swept other indigenous communities. Central Australia is the home of some of the most prominent names in Aboriginal art, including Emily Kngwarreye, Minnie Pwerle, Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Albert Namatjira and Wenten Rubuntja. The Museum of Central Australia / Stehlow Research Centre features some of the most important natural history and archival materials tied to the history and culture of the region. The Strehlow Archives also contain materials linked to the Arrernte people of Central Australia. The Araluen Centre for Arts and Entertainment presents world-class ballets and orchestras, as well as local performances. The Women’s Museum of Australia (formerly National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame) is located in the grounds of Old Alice Springs Gaol in the Heritage Precinct. Here women’s stories from across Australia are presented with the lives of outback women as well as stories from the Old Gaol and Labour Prison. Objects include a large “Signature” quilt with signatures of over 300 women first in their field and a 4.2 m long Aviatrix tapestry celebrating the high flying lives of Australia’s aviatrixes. The town has some excellent small museums. The extensive collection at the Old Timer’s Traeger Museum on the North Stuart Highway includes artefacts from the town’s early Afghan and German residents, traditional Aboriginal artefacts and objects which show the early fusion of European and Aboriginal cultures, such as a spinifex-handled glass-bladed knife. Included in the collection are soapstone carvings by Arrernte artist Erlikilyika.

Located on the Adelaide-Darwin railway, Alice Springs is accessible by train. Alice Springs railway station is visited by The Ghan, operated by Journey Beyond, on its journey between Adelaide and Darwin. The train arrives twice weekly in each direction. The line first opened to Alice Springs in 1929, as the narrow gauge Central Australia Railway. It was not until 1980 that the current standard gauge line was opened, which was extended to Darwin in 2004.

Read more on NorthernTerritory.com – Region guide for Alice Springs & Surrounds, NorthernTerritory.com – Things to see & do around Alice Springs, Wikivoyage Alice Springs and Wikipedia Alice Springs (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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