Day 5

  • Alice Springs-Alice Springs
  • Distance travelled: approx. 0km

Okay we didn’t do any actual highway driving today. But we’re not cheating… it’s actually been one of the busiest days I’ve had in a long time. And one of the most rewarding.

It started with the alarm going off at 4.30 then I was on your radio from ABC Alice Springs. I saw the sun come up over the mountain ranges through big plate glass windows – awesome.

We visited the School of the Air to find out how members of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra had demonstrated their music to remote kids around the Northern Territory, using modern technology.

Then I drove out west of Alice to a place called Honeymoon Gap to have a chat to one of the most inspirational people walking the planet.

This is Morris Stuart. He’s originally from British Guyana but came to Australia via the UK in the 1970s. He’s a choral conductor and although he lives in Adelaide, he’s spent a lot of time in Alice Springs. Here’s more of his story.

One of his projects is the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir and I went to their rehearsal last night.

Morris is such an intelligent, thoughtful man. And he obviously has huge respect for the women and their innate musicality. In fact he pointed out to me that he’s taken great pains to make sure that his work with them doesn’t obscure their own musical tradition and singing style.

What a sound this choir makes! I took a video you can watch it here. They sing Lutheran hymns, following in the tradition of the missions set up by German settlers. A couple of years ago they did something extraordinary – they did a tour to Germany and took back their take on Lutheran hymnody to its origins. Just amazing.

Before I show you pictures of an incredible sunset, I want to leave you with something tragic but with a powerful message.

The Women’s Choir was depleted last night. Four members, from Hermannsburg, were missing. A young man in their community committed suicide only today. Morris told me this news and pointed out the vital role music and his choir has in reducing such horrible events.

If you or anyone you know needs help:

2 Comments on “Day 5

  1. Sorry you are not coming via Bathurst as Wolfy could have met our Wombat, actually a kelpie border collie cross with a dash of jack Russell. She manages our farm and life with distinction. What a good idea to broadcast when on the move. There is a spiritual element in the north of Australia that is so inspiring and comforting. Good luck Bill and Fiona

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  2. In 1991 we did the road trip from Darwin to Melbourne then back home to Perth. We used to live in the
    Alice in 1969-72 and the transformation of the town was amazing. Marla was not a nice place the day we stayed there, hot and very dusty (windy). Coober Pedy is a must, you would enjoy it I am sure

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