The heritage-listed Adelaide House in the heart of Mparntwe Alice Springs was the town’s first hospital and later put to a range of other uses, eventually becoming a museum dedicated to telling the story of its founder, the Reverend John Flynn, and his mission to provide a ‘mantle of safety’ to settlers of Inland Australia.It attracted steady visitation and strong volunteer support in the 1980s and ‘90s.
Today, the building’s owner, the Alice Springs Uniting Church, its leadership and members, are seeking to re imagine the story the museum tells. This comes in response to the national reckoning underway in relations between First Nations and Other Australians, inspired by the Uluru Statement from the Heart and its call for truth-telling about our shared history.
The Meeting Place Museum Working Group aims to revitalise the museum so that it tells a richer, more balanced and honest story. This pro activity responds to the call of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and conjoins the international momentum of historic reckonings
in settler-colonial nations. Re-imagining Adelaide House will sharpen its historical and contemporary relevance to the Uniting Church parish and to the broader local community and visitors renovating its value as a meeting place for the whole community.
As part of the Re imagining Adelaide House Museum project ,the first event in a public program for 2023 presented by the Alice Springs Meeting Place Foundation will be a brief introduction to the museum project, set to tell fuller, richer, more honest stories about shared history in Mparntwe Alice Springs, followed by two films:
This short animation from Hawaii, made in 2021, tells the story behind sacred stones that still stand on Waikiki Beach, hidden until now. Four extraordinary beings of dual male and female spirit brought the healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii and imbued their powers in these four giant boulders.
Directed & produced by Hinaleimoa Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, and Joe Wilson.
MPARNTWE – Sacred Sites
This 2004 documentary, produced by CAAMA and directed by Danielle MacLean, focuses on the sacred sites in and around Mparntwe Alice Springs, and the struggle of Arrernte people to identify, document and preserve these sites in the face of rapid urban development.
Elders talk about the importance of the sites in terms of the Altyerre (Dreaming). They reflect on their sense of loss as sites are desecrated. The Caterpillar and Wild Dog altyerre have many sites of critical importance in the area. Also threatened are the ancient gum trees in the Todd River, many of them of sacred significance and important to ceremony but damaged by development and by outsiders passing through the area. As apmereke artweye Doris Kngwarraye Stuart says, “our whole being is tied up in these sites.”
Photography by Warwick Thornton; narration by Trisha Morton-Thomas.
Story text supplied courtesy” Re imagining Adelaide House Museum”a report on preliminary scoping for a renewal of visitor experiences
of an historic Mparntwe Alice Springs building © 2023 Keith Castle, Emily Hayes, Kieran Finnane, Lisa Stefanoff.
Friday 21 April, 7pm.
The Story Wall at Adelaide House on Todd Mall.
Rev Emily Hayes, Uniting Church & Adelaide House Museum.