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Published: January 19th 2018
Alice Springs is nestled in between the McDonald Ranges. A mountain range of 9,709,870 acres. The range is 400miles (644km) of parallel ridges, which run east and west of Alice Springs. The highest peak is Mount Zeli, 5023ft (1531m). The ranges were named after Sir Richard Macdonald, who at the time was the Governor of South Australia. They were named by John McDouall Stuart, whose expedition of April 1860 discovered the mountain range.
In 1872 William Whitfield Mills, from Plymouth, Devon, England, finished laying a 3200km overland telegraph line from Darwin to Port Augusta in South Australia. The southern Entrance to Alice Springs is situated at a water gap in the McDonald ranges. W.W.Miles named this gap Heavitree Gap, after the school he attended in Plymouth. Nowadays it houses the main road and railway. The Heavitree is now known as the Overland Telegraph Station and is a known heritage site and tourist attraction.
Charles Todd from London moved to Australia to help connect Australia and England through communication. The overland telegraph was finished the day Todd arrived in Australia. Todd finally found a suitable proposal for a telegraph connection between Australia and England.
The river that runs through Alice Springs
is named the Todd River and the Main Shopping Street through Alice is Todd Street, both town and street being named after Charles Todd’s wife Alice Bell.
The Overland Telegraph Station was how central Australia kept in touch with the rest of the world and other parts of Australia. In 1942 the whole of Australia heard about the Japanese bombing Darwin through the Overland Telegraph Station.
Most of the line today is in disrepair, although some sections and relay stations, such as Alice Springs, have been restored for tourist attractions.
The Ghan is an Australian train service which links Adelaide to Darwin. The journey takes 54 hours and is 1851 miles (2979km) with a four hour stop in Alice Springs.
The Ghan started in 1929 and went from Adelaide to Alice Springs. The part of the line connecting Darwin didn’t open until January 2004. It took 126 years of planning and at a cost of $1.3 billion but this connection was the start of something big for the Northern Territories Tourism.
The Ghan got its name from the Afghan camel caravans who worked in the Outback of Australia from 1860-1930. These cameleers played a major role in establishing Islam in
Australia and built the first Mosque in South Australia.
The first Afghan Camels arrived in Melbourne in June 1860. There were three men and 24 camels. Camels were used as the main method of transportation within the Outback. As it’s a desert the climate was too harsh for horses. From 1850-1900 Afghan camel handlers played an important part in opening up Central Australia, helping build the Telegraph line and railway lines. Once trains and cars became popular a lot of the camels were let loose in to the wild and this has created a very large population of feral camels in the Outback even today.
The Ghan nowadays is regarded as one the world’s greatest railway journeys.
World War 2 helped Alice Springs find a place on the map. It helped the town lose some of its isolation by becoming a Military base moving around 750 men in to the town. Throughout the first year of the war nearly 200,000 men passed through Alice. It also became a big area for rail activity with the war bringing 60 trains a week. The Government took over the mining around the town as well. The war saw Alice get a much larger
and improved water supply, a power station, airport and its own newspaper. In 1933 the population was 500 but after the war the population grew to 2000.
Today Alice Springs is the third largest town in the Northern Territory and is situated in the centre of Australia, 400km away from Ayers Rock. In the 2016 census the population was 24,000 people making up 10% of the entire Territory.
Each year the Rotary Club of Alice puts on a boat race. However this race has a difference. The river bed is usually dry so instead of steering the boats the contestants make their boats with no bottoms and run. There are many different races/activities people of all ages can take part in from Iron Man/Lady Challenges, Budgie Smugglers Race, four different boat races, individual or team, running or rowing on old train tracks. This Regatta is the only one in the world to be cancelled if the river has water in.
Tot: 0.105s; Tpl: 0.022s; cc: 8; qc: 54; dbt: 0.0194s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb