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Alice Springs

Alice Springs is a large town in the Northern Territory of Australia. Its population of 27,000 makes it the second-largest settlement in the Territory (the only other one of significant size is Darwin, the capital).

It is best known outside the region as the setting of the Nevil Shute novel "A Town Like Alice," and because of its proximity to Ayer's Rock or Uluru, the monolithic hill that is Australia's best-known natural landmark, as well as an important focus of Aboriginal culture and beliefs.

Originally named Stuart, the town was established almost as a frontier settlement for north-south travel by camel trains through the desert of the Outback. A telegraph station was placed near a permanent waterhole called Alice Springs after the wife of a local official. The railway from Adelaide reached Stuart in 1929, and the town moved away from the waterhole, but locals kept the name. In 1933, after much debate, the town of Stuart was officially renamed Alice Springs.

Almost in the exact center of the continent, Alice Springs is some 700 kilometers from the nearest ocean and even further from the nearest major city.

It became an important defence location with the development of the U.S/Australian Pine Gap joint defense satellite monitoring base, home to about 700 workers from both countries.

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