The Centralian advocate Tue 31 Oct 2017
Centralian Advocate; NewspaperNT
This publication contains may contain links to external sites. These external sites may no longer be active.
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Alice Springs; Tennant Creek (N.T.) -- Newspapers; Alice Springs (N.T.) -- Newspapers.; Australia, Central -- Newspapers
Nationwide News Pty. Limited
Copyright. Made available by the publisher under licence.
Nationwide News Pty. Limited
TUESDAY OCTOBER 31 2017 NEWS 09 V1 - CAVE01Z01MA 18 FRONTIER NEWS FEATURE SUNDAY OCTOBER 29 2017 NTNE01Z01MA - V0 board its a beautiful journey and I am in no hurry to find the destination. Despite being born in Adelaide and raised in the SA town of Gawler, Krafty said the Territory has always been and always will be home. Im very blessed and I know thats a term that a lot of people use. But that has really been the case for me. I am not leaving in a hurry, even if I die somewhere else, Ill be buried back in Alice Springs because thats home, he laughed. The proud Red Centre resident just celebrated 45 years living in the Territory in August, and said he was looking forward to many more years ahead. Ive loved every moment of living in the Territory and while life can have its ups and downs, thats all character building, and Im still here to talk about it, he said. IN March 2016, Krafty finished up at the Overlanders Steakhouse after an incredible 27 years to focus on other priorities. He is, as could perhaps be expected, still adjusting to the new phase in his life. While most people are able Red Centre stalwarts big plans for the Territory S PEND five minutes walking the streets of Alice Springs, Tennant Creek or Darwin with Wayne Kraft and youll soon figure out hes a well-known and loved man among Territorians. Many people would associate Krafty with the iconic Overlanders Steakhouse in Alice Springs, a thriving restaurant and watering hole he owned and managed for almost three decades. Others may know him as a former employee of the ANZ bank in Tennant Creek and Darwin or perhaps ordered a beer off him at the Barrow Creek Hotel a small pub almost 300km north of Alice Springs. Krafty spent several years in the late 1970s as a coproprietor of the Barrow Creek Hotel, and owes his zest for the Territory to the time he spent behind the bar in the tiny hamlet. Thats where I built the foundations of where I am today, he said. There are so many aspects of Territory life Ive learnt along the way and taken on MEET the man fighting to preserve the Territorys history and heritage for the benefit of future generations and enjoying a few yarns and a good glass of red along the way. ISABELLA HOOD reports Left to right: Krafty outside the Barrow Creek Hotel, with beer in hand before saying goodbye to the Overlanders in 2016, running in the Queens Baton Relay in Alice Springs in 2006, legendary entertainer Ted Egan, a young Krafty in 1972 at home in Gawler, South Australia, and far right, larrikin Krafty doing his bit for NT tourism SUNDAY OCTOBER 29 2017 NEWS FEATURE FRONTIER 19 V0 - NTNE01Z01MA to take the opportunity to wind down after retiring from full-time work, life has been anything but slow for the first generation Territorian. With a keen interest in Australian history, Krafty has enjoyed some four years as a member of the Heritage Council of the NT, currently holding the position of chairman. Krafty has also been involved with the NT Planning Commission and is one of the Alice Springs Town Councils current ambassadors, promoting the positives about living in Central and Northern Australia across the country. Sadly, it has not been all smooth sailing for Krafty during his new existence. I had no plans after selling the Overlanders and it was probably just as well because the sad part of the story is my dear partner Karens breast cancer re-emerged within a month, Krafty recalls. Shed been fighting it for about nine years prior to that, so the blessing is that I had free time to support her with her treatment interstate. Since selling out of the steakhouse, looking after Karen who is based in Darwin has been a number one priority for Krafty. The fragility of life is out there for everyone you just have to get on with it in the most positive way possible. It isnt always easy, but from my perspective, Im just overjoyed that Im able to be in this situation to hold her hand as she goes through the journey, he says. Despite facing a challenging time, Krafty says its important to find the positives, whatever they might be. Looking after Karen has been the focus of my life, but my interest in heritage and everything else has been the supreme bonus. As one of the Territorys biggest history buffs and advocates for the Red Centre, Krafty has always been passionate about preserving and promoting Australian history for future generations to enjoy. Its just part of my DNA, Ive always had a desire to know what it would have been like to live 150 years ago, he says. My passion has just grown over the years from absorbing history whether it be talking to bushies or having a drink in a pub somewhere hearing those stories, embellished or not, is just part of my journey in life. MANY people would know Kraftys love of sharing a cold beer with good company. One of his closest mates is entertainer and former Territory administrator, Ted Egan. Egan first met Krafty around four decades ago through the Barrow Creek Hotel. Over the years the two have become firm friends, sharing a good glass of red together every so often. Ive watched with great delight Kraftys development from a raw, knockabout bloke to a serious, concerned overviewer of Australia, Egan says. Krafty has travelled extensively and knows the need to preserve the real heritage. Hes very much a peoples person and is interested in those who have gone before us and is determined that their history is not forgotten. Ive got the opinion that Krafty has done more for NT tourism that any other individual. Egan says Krafty would have to be one of the most generous and selfless people he has come across in his life. Hes probably the best networker I have ever met and hes got a great range of contacts, he explains. If you have a problem, Krafty suggests so-and-so to help and before you know it hes got so-and-so on the phone and then so-and-so is helping you. Another interest close to Kraftys heart is a place called Newcastle Waters, a small settlement off the Stuart Highway around halfway between Darwin and Alice Springs. Although it only has a population of about 12 people, Newcastle Waters still remains a relatively active hub with a cattle station and a tiny school operating there. The long-closed Junction Hotel structure and the National Trust-owned Jones Store are all located in the heritage-listed township as well. As Newcastle Waters is situated off the main highway, Krafty believes the historical spot could be better promoted to attract more visitors to the area. Newcastle Waters is a great spot with beautiful history but we have done nothing from Alice Springs to Darwin to tell tourists whats off the track, he explains. The (current) wayside stop on the highway is quite dangerous and is an accident waiting to happen. With water and power available at Newcastle Waters, Im pushing to get that wayside stop moved from the highway into Newcastle Waters where we could provide powered and unpowered sites for tourists. Newcastle Waters is also situated on the Murranji Track, one of the toughest sections of historical stock routes in Australia, where they walked cattle from the Kimberley all the way through the NT and then onto Queensland. It could take them six months or more, depending on droughts and floods. With the support of both the proprietors of Newcastle Waters Station and the NT Cattlemens Association, the history of the Murranji Track, and the stories of the drovers, could be told with the creation of a very special state-of-art interpretative museum/display housed in the historic township. A larger Territory-wide Cattlemens Museum could be established in either Alice Springs or Darwin to tell the bigger picture stories of this incredibly important industry the creation of such could then influence visitors to call into Newcastle Waters to experience the real deal. Krafty also believes a lot more could be done to attract tourists to the Red Centre and the Top End through the Territorys website northernterritory.com. The website doesnt tell the stories of sacred sights ... so I am liaising with Tourism NT to develop that website for potential visitors coming through and those who have already been here but didnt realise the history behind places like Newcastle Waters, he says. Equipped with a love for Northern Australia and its people, Krafty said he would continue fighting to preserve the stories and history for future Territorians to enjoy. Im not giving up. Something needs to happen. Its a matter of getting willing minds together, making it happen, so theres a fantastic benefit to future visitors of the Territory, he says. All of my experiences, my zest and my love of history dovetail into the future and how we can communicate what weve got to the benefit of tourism and the broader Territory economy into the future. Left: Wayne Kraft and John Raschella being served by a waitress at Pasta Time restaurant, Adelaide, 1991, and right, Krafty at the old Town Hall Ruins in Darwin