Alice Springs

The "Alice," sits in the center of Australia. At first glance, it doesn't seem like much, but there is an abundance of things to do and see in the area.  Alice is surrounded by desert and the MacDonnell mountain ranges.  It is the home of the Alice Springs School of the Air and the Royal Flying Doctor's Service for Central Australia, both of which we visited.  The Alice Springs Desert Park represents natural, cultural, and environmental education to its visitors.

 

The Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve marks the original site of the first European settlement in Alice Springs.  The station was established in 1871 to relay messages between Darwin and Adelaide.  It also linked with an underwater cable network connected to London, consequently creating the first real communication between Australia and England.  

Broadcasting live from Alice Springs...

DSCN9413.jpg

Alice Springs School of the Air

 

What do you do when you live in the remote outback and there are no schools nearby? Since 1951, these students have received their education through School of the Air.  Originally communicating via 2-way radio, today it is primarily through satellite technology.  Students can interact with the teacher and other students live!  

IMG_7019 (1).jpg

Medical care in the remote outback has been a possibility for over 90 years. The Royal Flying Doctor Service website summarizes it best, "Using the latest in aviation, medical and communications technology, the Royal Flying Doctor Service works to provide emergency medical and primary health care services to anyone who lives, works or travels in rural and remote Australia."   https://www.flyingdoctor.org.au/

    The Yeperenye Sculpture

The sculpture represents the 

 Yeperenye caterpillar, the most important of the three caterpillars that are the major creative ancestors of Alice Springs. 

 

With the support of Grand Circle Foundation, the sculpture is the work of a metal artist and students of the ATWork program. 

The caterpillar is decorated with panels created at workshops with local artists and school children. 

Yeperenye "caterpillar" creation story

 

The Arrernte believe the MacDonnell Ranges were formed by Caterpillar ancestors that arrived through a gap in the escarpment of the area.  They first stopped at a sacred site and battled their enemies, the green stink bugs.  The caterpillars fled when the stink bugs started to kill them.  The ranges around Alice Springs are the carcasses of the caterpillars.  The gaps in the ranges are where the stink bugs tore the heads off the caterpillars.  

http://trevorcairney.blogspot.com/2011/08/indigenous-tales-of-dreamtime.html

Can you see the caterpillar mountain ranges in the background?

The didgeridoo (didjiri-du) may be the world's oldest musical instrument.  It was played in accompaniment with Aboriginal tribal songs and chants.  Made from limbs or tree trunks hollowed out by insects,  the didgeridoo's low pitch droning sound is manipulated by changes in breathing.  It is not the easiest thing to do!  

Didgeridoo demonstration and lesson with Andrew Langford. Then we got to play along.

Andrew Langford

Andrew Langford

Play Video