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Alice Springs ( aer, Mparntwe) is the third-largest town in the
Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an states and territories of Australia, Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia. The Northern Territory shares its borders with W ...
of
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
. Known as Stuart until 31 August 1933, 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. Now colloquially known as The Alice or simply Alice, the town is situated roughly in Australia's geographic centre. It is nearly
equidistant The circumscribed by the circle C. The circumcentre O is equidistant to each point on the circle, and a fortiori to each vertex of the polygon. A point is said to be equidistant from a set of objects if the distances between that point and ea ...

equidistant
from
Adelaide Adelaide ( ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a that physically encompasses the government's offices and me ...

Adelaide
and
Darwin Darwin most often refers to: * Charles Darwin (1809–1882), English naturalist and writer, best known as the originator of the theory of biological evolution by natural selection * Darwin, Northern Territory, a capital city in Australia * Darwin ( ...
. The area is known as 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 26,534 Estimated resident population, 30 June 2018. in June 2018, having declined an average of 1.16% per year the preceding five years. 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 The Todd River (: ''Lhere Mparntwe'') is an in the southern , central . The origins of the Todd River are in the , where it flows past the , almost through the centre of , through at the southern end of Alice Springs and continuing on for so ...
on the northern side of the
MacDonnell Ranges The MacDonnell Ranges, or Tjoritja in Arrernte, is a mountain range and an interim Australian bioregion A bioregion is an ecology, ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a biogeographical realm, but larger than an ...
. The surrounding region is known as Central Australia, or the
Red Centre Central Australia, also known as the Alice Springs Region ( aer, Mparntwe Ampere), is one of the five regions in the Northern Territory of Australia. The term Central Australia is used to describe an area centred on Alice Springs. It is someti ...
, an arid environment consisting of several different deserts. Temperatures in Alice Springs can vary, with an average maximum in summer of and an average minimum in winter of .


History


Traditional owners

The Arrernte people are the Traditional Owners of the Alice Springs area and surrounding
MacDonnell Ranges The MacDonnell Ranges, or Tjoritja in Arrernte, is a mountain range and an interim Australian bioregion A bioregion is an ecology, ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a biogeographical realm, but larger than an ...
. They have lived in the area for at least 30,000 years. The traditional name for the township area is ''Mparntwe''. Their name has been spelt in various forms, including Aranda, Arrarnta, and Arunta. There are five dialects of the Arrernte language: South-eastern, Central, Northern, Eastern and North-eastern. Arrernte country is rich with mountain ranges, waterholes and gorges, which create a variety of natural habitats. According to Arrernte traditional histories, the landscape was shaped by the Yeperenye, Ntyarlke, Utnerrengatye caterpillars and Akngwelye or wild dogs. The numerous sites of traditional importance in and around Alice Springs include Anthwerrke (Emily Gap), Akeyulerre (Billy Goat Hill), Ntaripe ( Heavitree Gap), Atnelkentyarliweke ( Anzac Hill) and Alhekulyele (Mt Gillen).


European colonisation

In 1861–62,
John McDouall Stuart John McDouall Stuart (7 September 18155 June 1866), often referred to as simply "McDouall Stuart", was a Scottish explorer and one of the most accomplished of all Australia's inland explorers. Stuart led the first successful expedition to trav ...

John McDouall Stuart
led an expedition through Central Australia, to the west of what later became Alice Springs, thereby establishing a route from the south of the continent to the north. A white settlement named after Stuart was started ten years later with the construction of a repeater station on the
Australian Overland Telegraph Line The Australian Overland Telegraph Line was a telegraphy, telegraph line that connected Darwin, Northern Territory, Darwin with Port Augusta, South Australia, Port Augusta in South Australia. Completed in 1872, the Overland Telegraph Line allowed ...
(OTL), which linked
Adelaide Adelaide ( ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a that physically encompasses the government's offices and me ...

Adelaide
to
Darwin Darwin most often refers to: * Charles Darwin (1809–1882), English naturalist and writer, best known as the originator of the theory of biological evolution by natural selection * Darwin, Northern Territory, a capital city in Australia * Darwin ( ...
and
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
. The OTL was completed in 1872. It traced Stuart's route and opened up the interior for permanent settlement. The was sited near what was thought to be a permanent waterhole in the normally dry
Todd River The Todd River (: ''Lhere Mparntwe'') is an in the southern , central . The origins of the Todd River are in the , where it flows past the , almost through the centre of , through at the southern end of Alice Springs and continuing on for so ...
, named Alice Springs by W.W. Mills after the wife of the Superintendent of Telegraphs and Postmaster General of South Australia, Sir Charles Todd, who was the driving force for constructing the OTL. The nearby settlement of Stuart was renamed as Alice Springs on 31 August 1933. The Todd River and its tributary the Charles River, which meet near the telegraph station, were named after Sir Charles. It was not until
alluvial Alluvium (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
gold was discovered at Arltunga, east of the present Alice Springs, in 1887 that any significant European settlement occurred. The town's first substantial building was the Stuart Town Gaol in Parson's Street; this was built in 1909, when the town had a European population of fewer than 20 people. Many of the gaol's first prisoners were first-contact aboriginal men incarcerated for killing cattle. The first aircraft, piloted by Francis Stewart Briggs landed in 1921. Central Australia's first hospital, Adelaide House, was built in 1926 when the European population of the town was about 40. It was not until 1929, when the train line to Alice was built, that the town's European population began to grow. Aboriginal Centralians outnumbered European Centralians until the mid-1930s.Kelham, Megg 'Flynn's Alice' – a pictorial history of Alice Springs with documents available on line at From 1926 to 1931, Alice Springs was the seat of government for the now-defunct Territory of Central Australia. Until 31 August 1933, the town was officially known as Stuart. The original mode of British-Australian transportation in the outback were
camel A camel is an even-toed ungulate The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla , ) are ungulates—hoofed animals—which bear weight equally on two (an even number) of their five toes: the third and fourth. The other three toes are either present, ...

camel
trains, operated by immigrants from
Pathan Pashtuns (, or ; ps, پښتانه, ; Pakhtuns or Pathans), historically known as Afghans Afghan (Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a s ...

Pathan
tribes in the North-West Frontier of then-
British India The Provinces of India, earlier Presidencies of British India and still earlier, Presidency towns, were the administrative divisions of British governance in the Indian subcontinent. Collectively, they have been called British India. In one ...

British India
(present-day Pakistan); known locally as
Afghan Afghan (Pashto Pashto (,; / , ), sometimes spelled Pukhto or Pakhto, is an Eastern Iranian language The Eastern Iranian languages are a subgroup of the Iranian languages The Iranian or Iranic languages are a branch of the Indo-Iran ...
cameleers based at Hergott Springs, or Marree as it is now known. Many cameleers moved to Alice Springs in 1929 when the railway finally reached the town. They lived on the block where the town council is now, transporting goods from the rail head to stations and settlements to the north. A gold rush in Tennant Creek in 1932 kept the wheels of the Alice Springs economy turning until the outbreak of
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
. Alice Springs was connected to Darwin by rail on 4 February 2004, when arrived in Darwin from Adelaide.


World War II

World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved —including all of the great powers—forming two opposing s: the and the . In a total war directly involving m ...
brought significant changes to Alice Springs. Prior to the war, Alice Springs was an extremely isolated settlement of fewer than 500 people. During the war, however, the town was an extremely active staging base, known as No. 9 Australian Staging Camp, and a depot base for the long four-day trip to Darwin. The railway hub in Alice Springs was taken over by military operations and the number of soldiers posted in Alice Springs grew rapidly, as did the number of personnel passing through on their way to and from Darwin. When Darwin was threatened by Japanese forces, the sea routes—the Northern Territory capital's primary means of transportation and resupply—were cut off. The evacuation of Darwin first brought a large number of civilians including elected officials and many of the territory government's records. Alice Springs became the war-time civilian capital of the Northern Territory. When Darwin was bombed by Japanese air forces, a large number of military personnel and their heavy equipment were rapidly moved south to Alice Springs. The number of soldiers posted in Alice Springs peaked at around 8,000 and the number of personnel passing through totalled close to 200,000. Once the war ended, the military camps and the evacuees departed, and Alice Springs' population declined rapidly. After being visited by nearly 200,000 people, including the American General
Douglas MacArthur , birth_date = , birth_place = Little Rock, Arkansas (The Little Rock, The "Little Rock") , government_type = council-manager government, Council-manager , leader_title = List of mayors of Lit ...

Douglas MacArthur
, Alice Springs gained considerable fame. The war years also left behind many structures. The historically-listed Totem Theatre, created for the entertainment of this camp, still exists today. The
Australian Army The Australian Army is the military land force of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the isla ...
set up the 109th Australian General Hospital at Alice Springs. was constructed by the
Royal Australian Air Force "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colours = , colours_label = , march = Royal Australian Air Force March Past (Eagles of Australia) , mascot = , anni ...
. War-related operations necessitated the first sealing of the road between Alice Springs and Larrimah, expansion and improvement of Alice Springs' water supply, and improving the rail head. The war-related operations left behind thousands of pieces of excess military equipment and vehicles, and a marked increase in Alice Springs' population. During World War II, Alice Springs was the location of RAAF No. 24 Inland Aircraft Fuel Depot (IAFD), completed on 20 May 1942 and closed in November 1944. Each usually consisting of four tanks, 31 fuel depots were built across Australia for the storage and supply of aircraft fuel for the
RAAF "Through Adversity to the Stars" , colours = , colours_label = , march = Royal Australian Air Force March Past (Eagles of Australia) , mascot = , anni ...
and the
US Army Air Forces The United States Army Air Forces (USAAF or AAF) was the major land-based aerial warfare service component of the United States Army The United States Army (USA) is the land military branch, service branch of the United States Armed Forc ...
, at a total cost of £900,000 ($1,800,000).


After World War II

During the 1960s Alice Springs became an important defence location with the development of the US/Australian
Pine Gap Pine Gap is the commonly used name for a US satellite surveillance base and Australian Earth station approximately south-west of the town of Alice Springs, Northern Territory in the centre of Australia which is jointly operated by Australia ...

Pine Gap
joint defence
satellite alt=, A full-size model of the Earth observation satellite ERS 2 ">ERS_2.html" ;"title="Earth observation satellite ERS 2">Earth observation satellite ERS 2 In the context of spaceflight, a satellite is an object that has been intentionally ...

satellite
monitoring base, home to about 700 workers from both countries. By far the major industry in recent times is tourism. Almost in the exact centre of the continent, Alice Springs is some from the nearest ocean and from the nearest major cities, Darwin and Adelaide. Alice Springs is at the midpoint of the .


Modern town

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.


Built environment

Alice Springs has many historic buildings, including the , the Old Courthouse and Residency and the
Hartley Street School Hartley Street School in Alice Springs Alice Springs ( aer, Mparntwe) is the third-largest town in the Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an states and territories of Austral ...
. 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.


Geography

The region around Alice Springs is part of the Central Ranges xeric scrub area of dry scrubby grassland and includes the
MacDonnell Ranges The MacDonnell Ranges, or Tjoritja in Arrernte, is a mountain range and an interim Australian bioregion A bioregion is an ecology, ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a biogeographical realm, but larger than an ...
which run east and west of the town and contain a number of hiking trails and swimming holes such as Ormiston Gorge, Ormiston Gorge Creek, Red Bank Gorge and Glen Helen Gorge. The Larapinta Trail follows the West MacDonnell Ranges and is considered among the world's great walking experiences. The
Simpson Desert The Simpson Desert is a large area of dry, red sandy plain and dunes in Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an states and territories of Australia, Australian territory in the cent ...
, southeast of Alice Springs is one of Australia's great wilderness areas containing giant, red sand dunes and interesting rock formations such as Chambers Pillar and Rainbow Valley.


Climate

Under the
Köppen climate classification The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used systems. It was first published by German-Russian (1846–1940) in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen, notably in 1918 and 1936. Later, the climatologist (1894- ...
, Alice Springs has a subtropical
hot desert climate The desert climate or arid climate (in the Köppen climate classification The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used systems. It was first published by German-Russian (1846–1940) in 1884, with several later modific ...
(''BWh''), featuring extremely hot, dry summers and short, mild winters. Located just south of the
Tropic of Capricorn The Tropic of Capricorn (or the Southern Tropic) is the that contains the at the December (or southern) . It is thus the southernmost latitude where the Sun can be seen directly overhead. It also reaches 90 degrees below the horizon at solar ...
, the town of Alice Springs straddles the usually dry
Todd River The Todd River (: ''Lhere Mparntwe'') is an in the southern , central . The origins of the Todd River are in the , where it flows past the , almost through the centre of , through at the southern end of Alice Springs and continuing on for so ...
on the northern side of the
MacDonnell Ranges The MacDonnell Ranges, or Tjoritja in Arrernte, is a mountain range and an interim Australian bioregion A bioregion is an ecology, ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a biogeographical realm, but larger than an ...
. Alice Springs is located in Central Australia, also called the Red Centre, an arid environment consisting of several different deserts. The annual average rainfall is which would make it a
semi-arid climate A semi-arid climate, semi-desert climate, or steppe climate is the climate Climate is the long-term average of weather, typically averaged over a period of 30 years. More rigorously, it is the mean and variability of meteorological variables ove ...
except that its high
evapotranspiration Evapotranspiration (ET) is the sum of water evaporation and transpiration from a surface area to the Atmosphere of Earth, atmosphere. Evaporation accounts for the movement of water to the air from sources such as the soil, canopy interception, and ...

evapotranspiration
, or its aridity, makes it a
desert climate The desert climate or arid climate (in the Köppen climate classification ''BWh'' and ''BWk''), is a climate which there is an excess of evaporation over precipitation. The typically bald, rocky, or sandy surfaces in desert climates hold little mo ...
. Annual precipitation is erratic, varying year to year in Alice Springs. In 2001 fell and in 2002 only fell. The highest daily rainfall is , recorded on 31 March 1988. Temperatures in Alice Springs vary widely, and rainfall can vary quite dramatically from year to year. In summer, the average maximum temperature is in the mid-30s, whereas in winter the average minimum temperature can be , with an average of 12.4 nights below freezing every year, providing
frost Frost is a thin layer of ice Ice is water Water is an Inorganic compound, inorganic, Transparency and translucency, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and Color of water, nearly colorless chemical substance, which is the main con ...

frost
. The elevation of the town is about , which contributes to the cool nights in winter. The highest temperature on record is first recorded on 24 December 1891, whilst the record low is , recorded on 17 July 1976. This is also the lowest temperature recorded in the Northern Territory.


Demographics

According to the
2016 census Sixteen or 16 may refer to: *16 (number), the natural number following 15 and preceding 17 *one of the years 16 BC, AD 16, 1916, 2016 Films * ''Pathinaaru'' or ''Sixteen'', a 2010 Tamil film * Sixteen (1943 film), ''Sixteen'' (1943 film), a 1943 ...
of population, there were 23,726 people in the Alice Springs Urban Area. * Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 18.1% of the population. * 64.2% of people were born in Australia. The next most common countries of birth were New Zealand 3.6%, United States of America 2.8%, India 2.8%, England 2.6% and Philippines 2.1%. * 68.3% of people only spoke English at home. Other languages spoken at home included
Malayalam Malayalam (; , ) is a spoken in the Indian state of and the union territories of and () by the people. It is one of 22 of India and is spoken by 2.88% of Indians. Malayalam has status in Kerala, Lakshadweep and Puducherry (), and is sp ...

Malayalam
1.7%, Arrernte 1.0%,
Tagalog Tagalog may refer to: Language * Tagalog language Tagalog (, ; ) is an Austronesian languages, Austronesian language spoken as a first language by the ethnic Tagalog people, who make up a quarter of the population of the Philippines, and as a se ...
1.0%,
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic languages, Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China. The group includes the Beijing dialect, the basis of the phonology of Standard Chinese. Because Mandarin ...
0.8% and Filipino 0.8%. * The most common responses for religion were No Religion 32.5% and Catholic 18.8%.


Aboriginal population

As Alice Springs is the regional hub of Central Australia, it attracts Aboriginal people from all over that region and well beyond. Many Aboriginal people visit regularly to use the town's services. Aboriginal residents usually live in the suburbs, on special purpose leases (or town camps), or further out at Amoonguna to the south and on the small family outstation communities on Aboriginal lands in surrounding areas. The traditional owners of the Alice Springs area are the
Central Arrernte Arrernte or Aranda (; ) or sometimes referred to as Upper Arrernte (Upper Aranda), is a dialect cluster in the Arandic language group spoken in parts of the Northern Territory, Australia, by the Arrernte people. Other spelling variations are A ...
people. As it is the largest town in central Australia, there are also speakers of Warlpiri, , Kaytetye,
Alyawarre The Alyawarre, also spelt Alyawarr and also known as the Iliaura, are an Aboriginal Australian people, or language group, from the Northern Territory. The Alyawarre are made up of roughly 1,200 associated peoples and actively engage in local trad ...
,
Luritja The Luritja or Loritja people, also known as Kukatja or Kukatja-Luritja, are an Aboriginal Australian people of the Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an states and territories of ...
,
Pintupi The Pintupi are an Australian Aboriginal group who are part of the Western Desert cultural group and whose traditional owner, traditional land is in the area west of Lake Macdonald and Lake Mackay in Western Australia. These people moved (or we ...
,
Pitjantjatjara The Pitjantjatjara (; or ) are an Aboriginal Aborigine, aborigine or aboriginal may refer to: * Indigenous peoples, ethnic groups who are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area **List of indigenous peoples, including: ***Aborigin ...
,
Yankunytjatjara The Yankuntjatjarra, otherwise written ''Jangkundjara'', are an indigenous Australian Indigenous Australians are people with familial heritage to groups that lived in Australia before British colonisation. They include the Aboriginal and Torr ...
,
Ngaanyatjarra The Ngaanyatjarra, also known (along with the Pini) as the Nana, are an Indigenous Australian cultural group of Western Australia. They are located in the Goldfields-Esperance region, as well as Northern Territory. Language Ngaanyatjarra dialec ...
, Pertame,
Eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct American airline that operated from 1926 to 1991 *Eastern Air Lin ...
, and Western Arrernte among others.


Foreign and itinerant populations


American population

Americans Americans are the Citizenship of the United States, citizens and United States nationality law, nationals of the United States of America.; ; ''Ricketts v. Attorney General''897 F.3d 491, 494 n.3 (3d Cir. 2018) ("Citizenship and nationality a ...
have lived in Alice Springs continuously since the establishment of the United States Air Force Detachment 421, in 1954. Currently located on Schwarz Crescent, it is part of a joint American–Australian project called the Joint Geological and Geographical Research Station (JGGRS). The unit is locally known as "Det 421" or "The Det" and has sponsored as many as 25 American families to live as temporary residents of the Alice Springs district. To mark the longstanding friendship with the community, on 1 July 1995, the Alice Springs Town Council granted Detachment 421 freedom of entry to the Alice Springs. Since the early 1970s, the majority of the American population in Alice Springs has been associated with proximity to
Pine Gap Pine Gap is the commonly used name for a US satellite surveillance base and Australian Earth station approximately south-west of the town of Alice Springs, Northern Territory in the centre of Australia which is jointly operated by Australia ...

Pine Gap
, a joint Australian-US satellite tracking station, located south-west of Alice Springs, that employs about 700 Americans and Australians. Currently, 2,000 residents of the Alice Springs district hold American citizenship. Many of these, joined by some Australians, celebrate major American public holidays, including the
4th of July Independence Day (colloquially the Fourth of July) is a Federal holidays in the United States, federal holiday in the United States commemorating the United States Declaration of Independence, Declaration of Independence of the United States, ...
and
Thanksgiving Thanksgiving is a national holiday A holiday is a day set aside by Norm (social), custom or by law on which normal activities, especially business or work including school, are suspended or reduced. Generally, holidays are intended to allow ...
. Americans in Alice Springs are also known to participate in a variety of associations and sporting teams, including baseball, basketball and soccer competitions.The American Connection


Other cultures

Several small immigrant communities of other foreign cultures have found a home in Alice Springs, including Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Sudanese and Indian ethnic groups. The most obvious impact of their presence in such a small and isolated town has been the opening of various restaurants serving their traditional cuisines.


Itinerant population

Alice Springs has a large
itinerant An itinerant is a person who travels habitually. Itinerant may refer to: *"Travellers" or itinerant groups in Europe *Itinerant preacher, also known as itinerant minister *Travelling salespeople, see door-to-door, hawker (trade), hawker, and peddler ...
population. This population is generally composed of foreign and Australian tourists, Aboriginal Australians visiting from nearby
Central Australia Central Australia, also known as the Alice Springs Region ( aer, Mparntwe Ampere), is one of the five regions in the Northern Territory of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign ...
n communities, and Australian or international workers on short-term contracts (colloquially referred to as "blow-ins"). The major sources of work that recruit workers into town are the stations, mines, healthcare and law enforcement. Foreign tourists usually pass through on their way to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, whilst Australian tourists usually come through as a part of an event such as the Masters Games and the Finke Desert Race. These events can cause the population of the town to fluctuate by several thousand within a matter of days.


Government

The
Alice Springs Town Council The Alice Springs Town Council is a Local Government Areas of the Northern Territory, local government area in the Northern Territory. On 1 July 1971, Alice Springs was gazetted as a Municipality with the town council elected on 25 July 1971. It ...
governs the Alice Springs area, which takes in the town centre, its suburbs and some rural area. The Alice Springs Town Council has governed Alice Springs since 1971. The Alice Springs council consists of nine members: the mayor and eight
aldermen An alderman is a member of a municipal A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level sub ...
. The town is not divided up into wards. The current mayor of Alice Springs is Damien Ryan. Council Meetings are held on the last Monday of each month. The
Alice Springs Region Central Australia, also known as the Alice Springs Region ( aer, Mparntwe Ampere), is one of the five regions in the Northern Territory of Australia. The term Central Australia is used to describe an area centred on Alice Springs. It is someti ...
is governed by the newly created
MacDonnell Region The MacDonnell Regional Council is a Local government areas of the Northern Territory, local government area of the Northern Territory, Australia. The region covers an area of and had an estimated population of 6,863 people in June 2018. Geog ...
local government area A local government area (LGA) is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, ar ...
, for which Alice Springs serves as council seat. Alice Springs and the surrounding region have four elected members to the
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly The Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory is the unicameral legislature of the Parliament of the Northern Territory, Australia. The Legislative Assembly has 25 members, each elected in single-member electorates for four-year terms. The v ...

Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
. Araluen and Braitling are entirely within Alice Springs, while the mostly rural seats of Gwoja (known as Stuart before 2020) and Namatjira spill into the town. Historically, Alice Springs has tilted conservative. It was a stronghold for the
Country Liberal Party The Country Liberal Party (CLP), officially the Country Liberals (Northern Territory), is a liberal conservative political party in Australia founded in 1974, which operates solely in the Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; for ...
for many years; only the northeast (part of which is in Stuart) leans
Labor Labour or labor may refer to: * , the delivery of a baby * , or work ** , physical work ** , a socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an employer Literature * , an American quarterly on the history of the labor movement * ', an academic ...
. However, these trends were dramatically altered at the 2016 election. Former Chief Minister and Alice Springs resident
Adam Giles Adam Graham Giles (born 10 April 1973) is an Australian former politician and former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory The Chief Minister of the Northern Territory is the head of government The head of government is either the high ...

Adam Giles
lost Braitling to Labor, Araluen was retained by CLP-turned-independent
Robyn Lambley Robyn Jane Lambley (born 26 January 1965) is an Australian politician. She is an independent member representing the division of Araluen in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly The Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory is the ...
, and Namatjira and Stuart fell to Labor. As a result, the CLP was completely shut out of Alice Springs for the first time ever. The CLP regained Braitling and Namatjira in 2020, while Lambley retained Araluen for her new party, the
Territory Alliance Territory Alliance is an Australian political party based in the Northern Territory. It was founded in 2019 by Terry Mills (Australian politician), Terry Mills, an incumbent member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly and former Chief Mini ...
. In the
Australian House of Representatives The House of Representatives is the lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporated commun ...

Australian House of Representatives
, Alice Springs is part of the
Division of Lingiari The Division of Lingiari is an Australian electoral division in the Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an states and territories of Australia, Australian territory in the central ...
, which includes all of the Territory outside the Darwin/Palmerston area. Lingiari is currently held by Labor member and Alice Springs resident
Warren Snowdon Warren Edward Snowdon (born 20 March 1950) is an Australian politician. He is a Australian Labor Party, Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives. He represented the Division of Northern Territory from July 1987 to March 1996, and f ...
.


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. Today the town services a region of 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 Pine Gap is the commonly used name for a US satellite surveillance base and Australian Earth station approximately south-west of the town of Alice Springs, Northern Territory in the centre of Australia which is jointly operated by Australia ...

Pine Gap
and tourist attractions at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Watarrka National Park and the
MacDonnell Ranges The MacDonnell Ranges, or Tjoritja in Arrernte, is a mountain range and an interim Australian bioregion A bioregion is an ecology, ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a biogeographical realm, but larger than an ...
. 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. 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 Ecotourism is a form of tourism at the archaeological site of Chichén Itza. in Vienna. Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring (disambiguation), touring, the business of attracting, accommodating ...
Accredited operator. Alice Springs is home to numerous hotels, from the -star Lasseters Hotel Casino, to backpacker hostels. There are also caravan parks. A dispatch centre for the
Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS, informally known as The Flying Doctor) is an air medical service based in Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country compri ...
operates here.


Education

Education is overseen territory-wide by the Department of Education and Training (DET). It works to continually improve education outcomes for all students, with a focus on Indigenous students.


Preschool, primary and secondary

Alice Springs is served by nineteen public and private schools that cater to local and overseas students. Over 3,843 primary and secondary students are enrolled in schools in Alice Springs, with 2,187 students attending primary education, and 1,656 students attending secondary education. There are over 1,932 students enrolled in government schools and 1,055 students enrolled in independent schools. Alice Springs has an which delivers education to students in remote areas.


Tertiary and vocational

The Alice Springs Campus of
Charles Darwin University Charles Darwin University (CDU) is an Australian public university with a main campus in Darwin, Northern Territory, Darwin and eight satellite campuses in some metropolitan and regional areas. It was established in 2003 after the merger of Nor ...
offers courses in
TAFE In Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands o ...
and higher education. The Centre for Appropriate Technology was established in 1980 and provides a range of services to encourage and help Aboriginal people enhance their quality of life in remote communities.


Recreation and culture


Events and festivals

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 Alice Desert Festival, the Red Centre NATS, Parrtjima, the Camel Cup, the Henley-on-Todd Regatta, the Beanie Festival and the Finke Desert Race. The Finke Desert Race is a 'there and back' challenge from Alice Springs to Aputula (Finke) Community, covering a 460-kilometre round trip.


Arts and entertainment


Galleries and museums

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. Th
Museum of Central Australia / Stehlow Research Centre
feature 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 larg
"Signature" quilt
with signatures of over 300 women first in their field and a 4.2 m lon
Aviatrix tapestry
celebrating the high flying lives of Australia's women 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 (plant), spinifex-handled glass-bladed knife. Included in the collection are soapstone carvings by Arrernte artist Erlikilyika.


Outdoors

Leisure and entertainment activities include hiking in the nearby
MacDonnell Ranges The MacDonnell Ranges, or Tjoritja in Arrernte, is a mountain range and an interim Australian bioregion A bioregion is an ecology, ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a biogeographical realm, but larger than an ...
, driving the four-wheel-drive tracks at Finke Gorge National Park.


Parks and gardens

The Alice Springs Desert Park was created to educate visitors about the many facets of the surrounding desert environment. The arid climate botanic garden, Olive Pink Botanic Garden, is a short distance from the town centre. They were named after anthropologist, naturalist and artist Olive Pink, who lived in the town for almost 30 years and died in 1975. She was well known locally and referred to by all as Miss Pink. The Alice Springs Reptile Centre is located in the town centre.


Sport

Alice Springs has a high rate of participation in many different sports, including tennis, field hockey, hockey, Australian rules football, basketball, baseball, golf, soccer, cricket, rugby football, rugby and boxing. Australian rules football is a particularly popular sport in Alice Springs in terms of both participation and as a spectator sport. The Central Australian Football League formed in 1947 has several teams. The sport is particularly popular in Indigenous communities. The local stadium, Traeger Park, has a 10,000 seat capacity and was designed to host (pre-season) Australian Football League, AFL and is currently home to the Northern Territory Thunder. In 2004, an AFL pre-season Regional Challenge match between Collingwood Football Club and Port Adelaide Football Club attracted a capacity sell-out crowd. Rugby league has been a part of the local sporting scene since 1963. The Australian Rugby League has held a number of pre-season games in Alice Springs, at ANZAC Oval. The local competition is the Central Australian Rugby Football League, and sanctions both Junior and Senior Rugby League matches. The season usually kicks off around March/April and runs through to Late August. There are 4 senior teams in Alice Springs; Wests, Memo, United and Vikings. Matches are held during the winter months at ANZAC oval on Saturday afternoons. Organized baseball has been played in Alice Springs since the mid-1950s. Currently under the national organisation of the Australian Baseball Federation, the Alice Springs Baseball Association organises baseball competitions for youth players aged 5 to 18 and an adult competition played at Jim McConville Park and on Lyel Kempster Field at Traeger Park. As part of the worldwide Little League network, Alice Springs players and compete in the Australian National Little League competitions. The Alice Springs Golf Course, an 18-hole championship layout golf course designed by the architects Thomson Wolveridge, was opened in 1985 by a challenge match between top professionals Greg Norman and Johnny Miller. The course record of 64 is held jointly by, amateur members, Leigh Shacklady and Kerryn Heaver, beating professional Stuart Appleby's 65. Adam Scott won the Australian Boys Amateur Championship held there in 1997. Cricket is a popular sport in Alice Springs and is primarily played at Traeger Park. The Imparja Cup Cricket Carnival first was played in 1994 and attracts Indigenous teams from all across Australia. The four main clubs are Federal Demons CC, Rovers CC, RSL Works CC and Wests CC. Soccer is very popular among the younger community. A high number of children play it. Soccer is also played frequently by amateur adults in different divisions. There is also an all-African league for soccer in Alice Springs. The most successful Club in the town is Alice Springs Celtic FC, Alice Springs Celtic. The Traeger Park sporting complex also hosts tennis, baseball, boxing, swimming, canoe polo, hockey, basketball, squash, badminton, gymnastics and skateboarding. A unique sporting event, held annually, is the Henley-on-Todd Regatta, also known as the
Todd River The Todd River (: ''Lhere Mparntwe'') is an in the southern , central . The origins of the Todd River are in the , where it flows past the , almost through the centre of , through at the southern end of Alice Springs and continuing on for so ...
Race. It is a sand river race with bottomless boats and it remains the only dry river regatta in the world. Another unusual sporting event is the Camel Cup. The annual Camel Cup is held in July at Blatherskite Park, part of the Central Australian Show Society grounds. It is a full day event featuring a series of races using
camel A camel is an even-toed ungulate The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla , ) are ungulates—hoofed animals—which bear weight equally on two (an even number) of their five toes: the third and fourth. The other three toes are either present, ...

camel
s instead of horses. Every year, on the Queen's Birthday long weekend, the annual Finke Desert Race is held. It is a gruelling off-road race that runs from Alice Springs to the Finke community, then back again the next day. The total length of the race is roughly . It attracts spectators, who camp along the whole length of the track, and roughly 500 competitors, buggies and bikes, every year, making it the biggest sporting event in the Alice Springs calendar. Drag racing is held at the Alice Springs Inland Dragway which in June 2013 hosted a round of the national Aeroflow Sportsman Drag Racing Championship. In September 2017 12 people were injured when burning fuel sprayed from a drag-racing car onto a crowd of spectators at the Red CentreNATS competition. Alice Springs is also home to the Arunga Park Speedway, a 402-metre Oval track racing, dirt oval speedway. The speedway runs from August to March and caters to cars, Motorcycle speedway, solos and Sidecar speedway, sidecars. Located just off the Stuart Highway on the northern edge of the town, Arunga Park hosted the Australian Sidecar Speedway Championship, Australian Sidecar Championship in 1985 and the Australian Individual Speedway Championship, Australian Solo Championship in 1991 Australian Individual Speedway Championship, 1991.


Crime

Property crime and violent crime, including domestic violence, often linked to alcohol and crime, alcohol abuse, has been a significant social issue in Alice Springs in the 21st century, with most of the victims being residents of the town. Many approaches and programs have been tried over the years, with varying levels of success. there has been a downward trend in most categories of crime.


In popular culture

* The TV series ''Pine Gap (TV series), Pine Gap'' (2018) is set around the Australian and American joint defence intelligence facility at
Pine Gap Pine Gap is the commonly used name for a US satellite surveillance base and Australian Earth station approximately south-west of the town of Alice Springs, Northern Territory in the centre of Australia which is jointly operated by Australia ...

Pine Gap
, located near Alice Springs. * Liz Phair included a song called "Alice Springs" on her 1994 album ''Whip Smart''. * The group Midnight Oil mention Alice Springs in their songs "Red Sails in the Sunset (album), Kosciusko" and "The Real Thing (Midnight Oil album), Warakurna" ('There is enough in Redfern as there is in Alice'); and they mention Pine Gap in "Power and the Passion (song), Power and the Passion". * The well-known Australian song "My Island Home" was originally written about the experience of an islander living 'west of Alice Springs', and this is mentioned in the lyrics of the original Warumpi Band version of the song. * Nevil Shute's novel ''A Town Like Alice'', and the resulting film and television mini-series, take their name from Alice Springs, although little of the action takes place there; because part of the story is set in Willstown (possibly modelled on Burketown) situated north of Alice Springs, near the Gulf of Carpentaria. The heroine, Jean, wants to change Willstown into a town "like" Alice. The local library in Alice Springs is named after Nevil Shute: the Alice Springs Public Library, Nevil Shute Memorial Library. * Lasseters Casino in Alice Springs is the destination for the drag queen protagonists in the Australian road movie ''The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.'' The movie Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (musical), became a hit West End show, before transferring to Broadway. * Alice Springs is featured in Bruce Chatwin's 1987 Travel literature, travelogue ''The Songlines'', recounting the author's retreat into the Australian Outback in search of the Australian Aborigines, Aboriginals' The Dreaming, Dreaming-tracks. * Alice Springs is featured in Bill Bryson's 2000 travelogue ''Down Under'' (also known as "In a Sunburned Country"). Bryson visits and describes the scenes of Alice Springs including the Telegraph Office, the Springs, and his trip to Uluru from Alice Springs. * Dick Diver released a song called "Alice" on the 2013 album ''Calendar Days''. * The opening track of Mystery Jets' 2011 album ''Serotonin (album), Serotonin'' is entitled "Alice Springs", inspired by a tour in Australia. * Ian Moss released a song called "Such a Beautiful Thing" on the 1988 album ''Matchbook'', which contains the lyrics 'thinking back to Alice Springs'. He has stated that he wrote the song as a tribute to the Northern Territory.


Media

Alice Springs is served by both local and national radio and television services. The government-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ABC provides four broadcast radio stations – local radio 783 ABC Alice Springs and the national networks Radio National, ABC Radio National, ABC Classic FM and Triple J. The national Christian radio network Vision Radio Network broadcasts on 88.0 FM. Commercial radio stations are 8HA 900 Hertz, kHz and Sun 96.9 Megahertz, MHz and community radio is provided by 8CCC 102.1FM and Indigenous Australians, indigenous broadcaster CAAMA Radio 100.5 MHz. Alice Springs is home to Australia's largest Indigenous media company. The Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association (CAAMA) consists of a radio station (CAAMA Radio), Music recording label (CAAMA Music), television and film production company (CAAMA Productions) and CAAMA technical. CAAMA serves to record and promote indigenous talent across its own radio network (one of the largest transmission footprints in the world), and through sales of CD's and screening of CAAMA movies and documentaries on national broadcasters. Five broadcast television services operate in Alice Springs – commercial stations Imparja Television (callsign IMP-9), Southern Cross Central (QQQ31) and Central Digital Television, Ten Central (CDT) (CDT-5), and the Government-owned ABC Television (Australia), ABC (ABAD7) and Special Broadcasting Service, SBS (SBS28). Imparja has a commercial agreement with the Nine Network, Nine network. Southern Cross Central and Ten Central have programming affiliations with both the Seven Network and Network Ten Australia. Digital television transmissions have commenced in Alice Springs. New channels provided by the ABC and SBS can be received with a digital set top box or digital television. Additional channels from the commercial broadcasters that are available in most other areas of Australia are expected to commence transmission in 2011–2012. Analogue television transmissions in Alice Springs switched off on 31 December 2013. Imparja Television is operated from studios in Alice Springs. It has a program affiliation contract with the Nine Network. The programming schedule on Imparja is the same as Nine Darwin NTD-8 and Channel 9 Brisbane, with variations in Imparja's schedule for local Australian rules football, rugby league, the children's show ''Yamba's Playtime'', news, regional weather, and other programs produced in Alice Springs by the station. Infomercials are shown in place of Home Shopping and other programs overnight and in some daytime timeslots. National Indigenous Television, NITV is broadcast on the second channel allocated to Imparja by the Federal Government. The ''Centralian Advocate'' newspaper was founded on 24 May 1947 and was published on Tuesdays and Fridays. However, since 2013, printing of the Centralian Advocate has stopped.


Infrastructure


Transport

Located on the Adelaide-Darwin railway, Alice Springs is accessible by train. Alice Springs railway station is visited by ''The Ghan'', operated by Great Southern Rail (Australia), Great Southern Rail, on its journey between Adelaide and
Darwin Darwin most often refers to: * Charles Darwin (1809–1882), English naturalist and writer, best known as the originator of the theory of biological evolution by natural selection * Darwin, Northern Territory, a capital city in Australia * Darwin ( ...
. The train arrives twice weekly in each direction. The line first opened to Alice Springs in 1929, as the Narrow gauge railways in Australia, 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. There are daily express coach services to and from Adelaide and Darwin servicing Alice Springs. The Stuart Highway, running north from Adelaide to Darwin via Alice Springs, is Northern Territory's most important road. The distance from Alice Springs to Adelaide is and to Darwin is . There are daily flights from Alice Springs Airport to
Adelaide Adelaide ( ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a that physically encompasses the government's offices and me ...

Adelaide
, Ayers Rock (Uluru), Cairns,
Darwin Darwin most often refers to: * Charles Darwin (1809–1882), English naturalist and writer, best known as the originator of the theory of biological evolution by natural selection * Darwin, Northern Territory, a capital city in Australia * Darwin ( ...
, Melbourne, Perth, Western Australia, Perth and Sydney. There are also nonstop flights a few times a week to Brisbane. Two airlines serve Alice Springs: Qantas and Virgin Australia. Alice Springs is a base for the
Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS, informally known as The Flying Doctor) is an air medical service based in Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country compri ...
.


Sister cities

* Paghman, Afghanistan, since January 2005


See also

*Alice Springs Correctional Centre *Alice Springs Juvenile Holding Centre * Kings Canyon (Northern Territory) *Women's Museum of Australia, National Pioneer Women's Hall of Fame *Pioneer Theatre *Stuart Arms Hotel * Stuart Town Gaol * The Residency, Alice Springs, The Residency * Totem Theatre * List of films and TV series shot in Alice Springs * ''Socrates in Love, Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World''—Japanese film using Alice Springs as a location * :Suburbs of Alice Springs


References


External links


Alice Springs Town Council (local government) website

Official Tourism web site for Alice Springs and surrounds

Photographs of Alice Springs in 1994, National Library of Australia


(Link to TV transmission frequencies list from ACMA website).
History of the stratospheric balloon launch base located in the Alice Spring airport and records of balloons launched there

The American Connection

Alice Springs
– Tourism Australia * The Royal Geographical Society#Hidden Journeys, Royal Geography Society's Hidden Journeys project: *
Audio slideshow: Alice Springs – the spiritual significance of Australia's red heart.
Carl Bridge, head of the Menzies Centre for Australian studies at King's College London School of Medicine, KCL, explains the spiritual significance of Australia's Red Heart. *
Audio slideshow: Alice Springs – The story of the settlement of Central Australia.
Carl Bridge, head of the Menzies Centre for Australian Studies at King's College London School of Medicine, KCL, tells the story of Alice Springs, from its Aboriginal origins to its modern-day role as an administrative and tourist centre. {{authority control Alice Springs, 1872 establishments in Australia Populated places established in 1872 Springs of Australia Towns in the Northern Territory Former Australian capital cities