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I wasn’t prepared for the wave of emotions that would hit me when I visited Uluru. Firstly, Uluru is simply stunning, the geology of the rock tells stories and the caves display amazing drawings and rock carvings. Secondly, I could feel the importance of the sacred sites to the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people, who call themselves Anangu. Uluru holds special significance to Anangu, as it was formed by their ancestors. Thirdly, I noticed how small the Indigenous community was there and my heart ached for what could’ve been. Fourthly, I discovered that there had been an airstrip and accommodation built right near Uluru. Lastly, Anangu were discouraged from visiting their own sacred sites. It wasn’t until 1985 that Anangu reclaimed ownership of the national park, managing it with Parks Australia. The park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Imagine how it would feel to be turned away from your own sacred site? To see it transform into a tourist hotspot, where there was little respect? Lots of pollution and destruction? Many people that climb Uluru urinate on it, as there aren’t any toilets up there. Many people have died climbing Uluru. This is most distressing to Anangu, as it happened on their sacred land. Anangu try to attend the funeral to pay their respects of the deceased.
Climbing Uluru is dangerous
I couldn’t believe how steep and large Uluru was up close! I really had no idea! Uluru is 348 metres above the ground. It is higher than the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Chrysler Building in New York and the Eureka Tower in Melbourne! It is simple to me, it is dangerous to climb, so why is there such a backlash? I took one look at the thin metal rope and would never dream of climbing anything like that anywhere, least of all a sacred space for Indigenous Australians. Senator Pauline Hanson literally had a ‘rock job’ after she was unable to climb Uluru, saying that it was dangerous and shouldn’t be climbed. She had to slide down on her bottom, still not able to grip against the steep rock.
No more climbing from October 27th
Please think about the meaning of Uluru to Anangu and do not climb. I’m delighted that from October 27th people will not be able to climb Uluru due to the decision by the traditional Owners and the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board. It’s about time! Shouldn’t we be more concerned with preserving these amazing sites.
Why can’t we learn from Anangu and listen? For instance, I hear people complaining on talkback radio about how unfair it is that they won’t be able to climb after October 27th. Why do you want Uluru to be destroyed? Tourists have taken home part of Uluru rock and feeling guilty, have sent it back. Apart from the obvious dangers, why can’t we respect the wishes of our Indigenous community? I am Australian but I am ashamed at how selfish people can be, purposely climbing just because they are told that they can’t.
If I don’t climb, then what do I do?
There is so much to do, the hardest part is choosing what to do. Check out all of the amazing experiences here. You could choose one of the many guided walks at sunrise or sunset. We were lucky enough to go to Tali Wiru, an amazing dining experience under the stars with a view of Uluru at sunset. What more could a girl want? There are cultural experiences ranging from sampling bush foods, bush walks and dot painting. Visiting Cairns? Check out my crocodile adventure in Port Douglas!
I loved the field of light exhibition, it is a visual treat of colour, in the backdrop of the quiet and dark outback.
Thank you Anangu, I loved learning about your culture and we will be visiting again soon – this time with our children. I was in awe of your sacred sites and am looking forward to showing our kids how important it is to respect and appreciate all that you have and all that you are.
Come on! Join me Down Under!
Please don’t climb Uluru! Respect Indigenous Australians and their sacred sites #uluru #indigenousaustraliansTweet