Interpretation Plan, Alice Springs Telegraph Station

To develop an interpretation plan you need to partner with a great crew. So we did…dedicated specialists in tourism, design, multimedia development and stakeholder engagement . We engaged with Traditional Owners, Aboriginal organisations, the Central Land Council, Park Rangers, descendants of the Stolen Generation and other key stakeholders. Having gauged expectation, mined for information and explored the site we sought relief from the heat. The flies buzzed, the ice cold beer gurgled and we set about forming ideas, concepts, goals and timelines.

Alice Springs Telegraph Station interpretation plan

  • Northern Territory National Parks
  • December 2018 – June 2019
  • Develop a high level strategic framework to guide the delivery of a site interpretation plan and experience design
  • Engage with Traditional Owners, Aboriginal organisations and other key stakeholder to develop arange of interpretive experiences, associated customer journeys and storytelling touchpoints
  • Identify and consolidate engaging themes, key messages and stories that will delight and surprise audiences and prioritise contemporary interpretive experiences to enrich the across core touch points
  • Develop a staged implementation plan for which a variety of partners, stakeholders and community groups can co-ordinate to seek funding and implement in a co-ordinated manner

Provoke, relate, reveal

Then came immersion in the stories of  people and place. What comes from this is a digital ‘stack of paper’ which needs virtual scissors and a pot of glue to appreciate. All this to distill that pervasive message, the answer to the question…so what?  While key messages are often provided by an organisation, themes may be ephemeral at first, coming slowly into focus. John Veverka likes to define real interpretation as…relate, provoke and reveal the message.

Many stories to tell

The interpretation plan is a summary of these stories, a small window of insight, a media centre for use by interpreters. Like a suit on a clothes rack it needs to be filled out. It is a receptacle of ideas waiting for an inquiring mind and a creative touch. The final plan provides a strategic framework to guide the design and delivery of the project. It seeks to develop a range of interpretive experiences, associated customer journeys and storytelling touch points across the Heritage Site and beyond to the Reserve. Within its numerous pages is a staged implementation plan and budget to enable a variety of partners, stakeholders and community groups to give the interpretation form…to fill out the suit.

The guiding document

As a guiding document the plan suggests and considers different solutions to interpretation. It allows for future input from stakeholders, interpretation consultants, artists, software developers, lighting consultants, fabricators and installers. The plan is not ‘definitive’ and represents a ‘living’ document. It will be revised and updated as implementation works are carried out and as new information and feedback become available. The plan:

  • develops an agreed narrative for all interpretation within the Alice Springs Telegraph Station.
  • recognises cultural sensitivities, is acceptable to the stakeholders and covers the pre and post European periods
  • connects the myriad of stories associated with the historic site
  • tells these stories through the eyes of both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people
  • facilitates engagement of the visitor in an informative, educative and exciting manner
Saving our Species signage
WW1 Interpretive Signage, Remount Park