2 September 2018
Happy birthday to the town of Alice Springs, which was gazetted 85 years ago this week, ending decades of naming confusion. The town was, of course, well established before 1933, but was officially known by the (somewhat unpopular) name 'Stuart'. The place was also called 'Mparntwe' by its traditional owners. Yet, the telegraph station had always been known as 'Alice Springs' after the name given to a small waterhole by a surveyor of the overland telegraph line, alongside which the first telegraph station was built in 1871. And so the confusion began, which even resulted in some maps featuring both 'Stuart' and 'Alice Springs'. After extensive lobbying, popular usage won out and Stuart ceased to exist.