Uluru holds a special place in most Aussie’s hearts, but for Indigenous Australians it’s sacred.
The History of Uluru
Uluru is estimated to be 600 million years old and human settlement began around 10,000 years ago. It has always played a large role within the Indigenous communities surrounding it and the first recorded climb was in 1873 by an Englishman. Essentially since then it has been a tourist attraction and the traditional owner’s of the land asked for it not to be climbed. So, why is it up for debate? Well, there are a number of reasons, the main one being that it is a very popular (and therefore lucrative) tourist attraction in the Northern Territory. Uluru has around 300,00 visitors per year and of those visitors around 1/3 decide to climb, the local Aṉangu people do not climb on the rock as they consider it sacred. It’s a place for them to lay their ancestors to rest and has a lot of ties to dreamtime. Uluru has long been a point of contention between the Australian government and the Traditional Owner’s of the land. In the 1980’s it was finally given back to the Indigenous Australians and subsequently leased to the National Parks and Wildlife for a term of 99 years and would be jointly managed.
– Uluru was named “Ayers Rock” by William Gosse who gave it its title after Sir Henry Ayers, the Chief Secretary of South Australia.
– It’s tallest point is 348 metres above sea level but actually stretches more than 2 km underground
– The first recorded death was in 1951, since climbing began 37 people have perished, mainly from heat stroke and cardiac arrest
– Uluru was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987
Should Climbing Uluru Be Banned?
It’s the question on everyone’s lips, should climbing Uluru be banned? Well, it depends who you ask. Recently, Senator Pauline Hanson back flipped on her demand that Uluru stay open for climbing when she herself, struggled to make it up the rock. For the traditional owners, the ban is a long time coming. Since the 1980’s they have asked visitors to not climb Uluru out of respect for the local communities. Instead they ask tourists to walk around the monolith, take tours with local guides and visit other areas in the National Park.
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