ALICE SPRIGS

Introduction

ALICE SPRINGS WEATHER

Info Alice Springs

introduction

Alice Springs is the third largest town in the Northern Territory, Australia. Popularly known as "the Alice" or simply "Alice", Alice Springs is situated roughly in the geographic centre of Australia.

The site is known asMparntwe to its original inhabitants, the Arrernte, who have lived in the Central Australian desert in and around what is now Alice Springs for thousands of years. "Alice" in the English language was named by surveyor William Whitfield Mills after Lady Alice Todd (née Alice Gillam Bell), wife of the telegraph pioneer Sir Charles Todd. Alice Springs has a population of 28,605, which makes up 12.2 percent of the territory's population. Alice Springs is nearly equidistant from Adelaide and Darwin.

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 different deserts. In Alice Springs temperatures can vary dramatically, with an average maximum temperature in summer of 35.6 °C (96.1 °F) and an average minimum temperature in winter of 5.1 °C (41.2 °F).  Alice Springs has faced many issues in recent years, largely stemming from an increase in crime and a strong racial divide that has existed for years in the town.

info
POPULATION : 28,605
FOUNDED :  1872
TIME ZONE : ACST (UTC+9:30)
LANGUAGE : English
RELIGION :
AREA : 148 km2 (57.1 sq mi)
ELEVATION :
COORDINATES : 23°42′0″S 133°52′12″E
SEX RATIO :
ETHNIC :
AREA CODE : 8
POSTAL CODE :  0870-0872
DIALING CODE :  +61 8
WEBSITE :

Tourism

Alice Springs is the heart of Central Australia and is comprised of cavernous gorges, boundless desert landscapes, remote Aboriginal communities and a charming pioneering history. It embodies the hardy outback of the Northern Territory's Red Centre, and is a travel hub for sights and hikes in the region, such as Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (formerly known as the Olgas) and Kings Canyon. Since the start of the tourist boom in the early eighties, the population has substantially grown to about 28,000. Although surface water is a scarce commodity in the region, there's plenty underground! It is a great town and well worth a visit.

Alice Springs is located 1500 km from the nearest major city, being Darwin to the north or Adelaide to the south. As a result, the people that inhabit the town are often quite ingenious when it comes to making things last!

Also, due to this distance, you may find that some things can cost more than in the cities, such as fruit and veg, and some clothing (if you forgot to pack your singlet or jacket!). Over all, however, the town isn't too expensive when it comes to the necessary requirements and it is much cheaper than smaller outback towns, making it an ideal place to stock up before heading to more remote areas.

Something else to remember is that hotels in Alice Springs are rated slightly different to those in European or American countries - as hotels are rated on their facilities rather than the actual rooms. The reason for that is due to the distance that Alice Springs is from anywhere and the difficulties involved in getting building materials. Mind you, the star ratings reflect the quality of the establishment.

Tourism is a major industry in Alice Springs, with well developed facilities for travelers. Visit the Alice Springs Visitor Centre , located at 60 Gregory Terrace, at the south end of Todd Mall, for Visitor Guides, maps, tour and accommodation bookings, and suggested itineraries. You can even download or view the latest Visitor Guide for Central Australia on their website.

History

Indigenous History

The Arrernte (pronounced Arrenda) Aboriginal people have made their home in the Central Australian desert in and around Alice Springs for more than 50,000 years. The Aboriginal name for Alice Springs is Mparntwe. Three major groups Western, Eastern and Central Arrernte people live in Central Australia, their traditional land including the area of Alice Springs and East/West MacDonnell Ranges. They are also referred to as Aranda, Arrarnta, Arunta, and other similar spellings.

Arrernte country is rich with mountain ranges, waterholes, and gorges; as a result the Arrernte people set aside 'conservation areas' in which various species are protected. According to the Arrernte traditional stories, in the desert surrounding Alice Springs, the landscape was shaped by caterpillars, wild dogs, travelling boys, sisters, euros (Kangaroo-like creatures) and other ancestral figures.

There are many sites of traditional importance in and around Alice Springs, such as Anthwerrke (Emily Gap), Akeyulerre (Billy Goat Hill), Ntaripe (Heavitree Gap), Atnelkentyarliweke (Anzac Hill), and Alhekulyele (Mt. Gillen). Many Arrernte people also live in communities outside of Alice Springs.

Pronunciation of these Arrernte words can be very difficult. The reason for that is that Arrernte, and indeed every indigenous language of Australia, was not written. When Europeans arrived with their missions to convert people to Christianity, they felt the need to have the language written, and using their own languages put the written form to the language. As a result of the missionaries being mostly German, they used their own language to develop the Arrernte written language.

Don't worry if you can't pronounce it; everyone in town knows the places by their European names.


Modern History

In 1862, John McDouall Stuart led an expedition into Central Australia and the area where Alice Springs is located. Until the 1930s, however, the town was known as Stuart. The Overland Telegraph Line linking Adelaide to Darwin and Great Britain was completed in 1872. It traced Stuart’s route and opened up the interior for permanent settlement. It wasn’t until alluvial gold was discovered at Arltunga, 100 km east of Alice Springs, in 1887 that any significant settlement occurred.

The telegraph station was sited near what was thought to be a permanent waterhole in the normally dry Todd River and was optimistically named Alice Springs after the wife of the former Postmaster General of South Australia, Sir Charles Todd. The Todd River was named after Sir Charles himself. The original mode of transportation in the outback were camel trains, operated by immigrants from Pathan tribes in the North-West frontier of the then British India and Pakistan who were misnamed ‘Afghan’ Camellers.

Cattle Stations opened up the interior of Australia, with stations the size of small European Countries running mostly Cattle. Camels were (and still are) farmed in Central Australia - and the exporting of Camels to the Middle East is a fast developing industry. This is because the Australian Camels are a purebred of camel, and often free from the diseases which can be prevalent in the Middle Eastern countries.

During World War 2, Alice Springs was an important location for the Northern defense of Australia, and was a staging point for the allies movements to defeat the Japanese Imperial forces. Alice Springs' importance grew when it was established that coastal shipments to Darwin were no longer safe. Lots of relics from World War Two are still in use today in Alice Springs, primarily the Alice Springs Airport, which was constructed as a result of the War.

After the conclusion of the war, there was still a large American influence in the town, and as a result, a number of covert locations were set up in and around Alice Springs to monitor world events. One of these was a Seismic Vault, which was a bunker of sorts, dug into a mound, and which held instruments such as seismographs and other instruments to detect the ground movements of possible nuclear testing in the (at the time) USSR. One of these bunkers was recently 'discovered' and is now heritage listed.

The 1960s saw the establishment of the Joint Defence Space Research Facility, or as it's locally known, "Pine Gap". The facility was established in the 1970s and is the only area in Australia with Prohibited airspace - so forget about seeing it up close. You may, however, see it on approach or departure from Alice Springs Airport.

Climate

Located just South of the Tropic of Capricorn the town of Alice Springs straddles the usually dry Todd River on the northern side of the MacDonnell Ranges. Alice Springs is located in Central Australia, also called the Red Centre, an arid environment consisting of several different deserts.

In Alice Springs, temperatures can vary by up to 28 °C (50 °F) and rainfall can vary quite dramatically from year to year. In summer, the average maximum temperature is in the mid 40s, whereas in winter the average minimum temperature can be 5.5 °C (41.9 °F), with an average of 12.4 nights below freezing every year. The elevation of the town is about 545 metres (1,791 feet), which contributes to the cold nights in winter. The highest temperature on record is 45.2 °C (113.4 °F) on the 3 January 2006, while the record low is −7.5 °C (18.5 °F), recorded on 17 July 1976. This is also the lowest temperature recorded in the Northern Territory.

Alice Springs has a desert climate(BWh). The annual average rainfall is 285.9 millimetres (11.3 in) which would make it a semi-arid climate except that its high evapotranspiration, or its aridity, makes it a desert climate. Annual precipitation is erratic, varying year to year in Alice Springs. In 2001 741 millimetres (29.2 in) fell and in 2002 only 198 millimetres (7.8 in) fell.

 ClimateJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
 
Daily highs (°C)36.435.032.628.223.019.819.722.627.230.933.635.4
Nightly lows (°C)21.520.717.512.68.25.04.16.010.314.817.820.2
Precipitation (mm)38.844.232.416.518.814.015.29.38.521.728.937.1

Geography

Almost in the exact centre of the continent, Alice Springs is some 1200 km from the nearest ocean and 1500 km from the nearest major cities, Darwin and Adelaide. Alice Springs is the midpoint of the Adelaide–Darwin Railway.

To the south are the imposing McDonnell Ranges, with all transport links to the south using "Heavitree Gap" - a distinctive narrow gap in the range where the railway, highway and Todd River run through without any climb required. Heavitree Gap was named by William Mills, a surveyor of the Overland Telegraph line. He named it in honour of his former School in Devon (UK).

The roads around Alice Springs are generally flat and tend to skirt a lot of the hills, some of which are sacred sites to the local Indigenous people.

Economy

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 and productivity. 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 7.5% of employed people working in government administration, 6.6% in school education, and 3.7% in the Alice Springs Hospital. The economy of Alice Springs is somewhat reliant on domestic and international tourism, with 3.8% of its workforce employed providing accommodation.

As well as Territory Discoveries, all major tour companies have a base in Alice Springs, including AAT Kings & APT, as well as numerous local operators, including Emu Run Tours, Anganu Waai! tours, Alice Wanderer and Wayoutback Desert Safaris, the only locally based Advanced Ecotourism Accredited operator.

Alice Springs is home to numerous hotels, from the 4.5-star Lasseters Hotel Casino, to backpacker hostels. There are also caravan parks.

A dispatch centre for the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia operates here.

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