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 towns of significant size are Darwin, the capital, and Katherine).
Alice Springs is best known outside the region as the setting of the Nevil Shute novel A Town Like Alice, and because of its proximity to Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock, 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 Sir Charles Todd, Postmaster General of South Australia. 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. However, the north-south road between Darwin, Alice Springs and Adelaide is still called the Stuart Highway.
Almost in the exact center of the continent, Alice Springs is some 700 kilometres from the nearest ocean and 1500 kilometres from the nearest major cities: Darwin and Adelaide. Alice Springs is now the midpoint of Adelaide-Darwin Railway.
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, but by far the major industry is tourism.