Interpretation plan implementation began in February 202 after our Interpretation Plan (developed in 2019) was enthusiastically accepted. COVID-19 provided an unexpected challenge during the year, however, we were agile in responding and virtual meeting platforms were a crucial part of working with stakeholders especially in remote Indigenous communities.
Underpinning all of this is our aim to reveal compelling stories that enrich the visitor experience, connecting them deeply and respectfully to the place and its people, both past and present.:
- Client: Alice Springs Telegraph Station Historical Reserve, NT Parks
- Date: February 2020 – June 2021
- Service: develop themes, messages and narratives, identifying and writing the stories and scripts,
Design all interpretive signs, hard copy items and photographic galleries and provide concept designs for various framework sculptures
Document an entry statement sign
Write, design and produce materials for two interpretive hubs
As the birthplace of the Alice Springs township, the Telegraph Station is the site of the first European settlement in the area. It was established in 1871 as a repeater station on the Australian Overland Telegraph Line between Darwin and Adelaide. On completion the Telegraph Line connected Australia to the world via the British Empire’s undersea network. Messages to England, that previously took 3-4 months each way, could reach London in as little as 5 hours.
A triumph of engineering and plain old ‘hard yakka’, it had a dark and lingering effect on the Aboriginal population of the Northern Territory. The wire that connects and disconnects. Connecting European Australia to the world while tragically shattering an ancient and sustainable culture and setting in motion social ramifications that reverberate through Australian society today.
The Englishman and the Irishman
An Englishman and an Irishman meet in the centre of Australia. The Englishman says to the Irishman, “It’s all about the Empire.” The Irishman replies, “It’s all about the people.” Frank Gillen and Baldwin Spencer may have had different views on politics and society but they were a formidable team. Like their political views, their anthropological lives were a contrast of fame and infamy. Liberal minded, anti-clerical, and pro the development of the Australian continent and nation, they were modern men drawn to a culture with its roots in prehistory.
Gillen and Spencer compiled the most influential collection of Australian ethnographic material ever assembled. They developed their collection between 1875 and 1912 and had extraordinary access to Aboriginal life and ceremonies. Gillen was postmaster at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station and played a central role in the history of the station.