ON THE ROAD— Until 2007 there were no speed limits on highways in the Northern Territory outside built-up areas . Motorists were expected to “drive to conditions”. But in 2007 a 130kph speed limit was imposed to bring road rules more into consistency with states. Soon after it as elected, the conservative Country-Liberal Government reinstated open speed limits for a 200km section of the Stuart Highway between Barrow Creek and Alice Springs in January 2014. Later another section of 76km was added.
ON THE ROAD — Great cloudscapes on the second day of our road trip, Mataranka to Alice Springs.
ON THE ROAD — a windy day on the road to Alice Springs and the desert wind runs its snaggle-toothed comb through the fine blond grass beside the road near the Devil’s Marbles.
ON THE ROAD — green grass changing the palette of earth and sky in the red centre following big rains last month. The rains were widespread and had floodwaters running through the centre of Alice Springs. This red-topped ridge is east of the road around Barrow Creek, which is between Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.
ON THE ROAD — We met up with our first White-Plumed Honeyeater (Lichenostomus penicillatus) on our trip south at Tennant Creek. For us this was quite a treat as the WPHs range doesn’t extend into the Top End of the Northern Territory. There are three races of the WPH and they cover most of Australia. Morcombe’s field guide puts the northern extent of the bird’s range pretty much just where we found it.
One day I am going to get a picture of a Rainbow Pitta (Pitta iris) that does justice to this little jewel of the monsoon forests and vine scrubs of the Top End of the Northern Territory and the Kimberleys in Western Australia. It’s very, very difficult. At East Point we have prime habitat of vine forest and just about anytime you visit you will hear them calling to one another. Walk quietly along the walking track and suddenly one will be there, amongst the leaf litter or perched on a low branch. Three problems: the first is that they don’t stay in one place for very long, secondly, you’re trying to get a shot through a tangle of vine and scrub and thirdly the light even on a sunny day is very dim deep in the scrub. I live in hope.
An exciting morning for me today on the edge of the mangroves at Rapid Creek when I came across a party of five Little Bronze Cuckoos (Chalcites minutillus) chattering and and chasing madly. I got my first photos of several male birds but couldn’t manage a shot of the female (or females). The males have a distinctive red eye and red eye-ring. They are “proper” cuckoos and leave their single egg in the nests of Gerygones and Honeyeaters. The nominate race extends from the Kimberleys across the Top end of the Northern Territory. Another race, russatus, is found from Cape York down the east coast into northern New South Wales.
The answer from two academics to the question posed by the Strehlow Conference 2014, Where to from here? is not what most people would be happy to hear.
These comments by non-indigenous academics really do need to be taken seriously in looking at the big picture of the relationship between white and black in this country. The continuing active and passive resistance to white hegemony is ignored in public policy debate. Governments wielding big sticks, of whatever form, are just not going to establish strategies that deliver better outcomes for indigenous Australians.