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Ayers Rock Geodetic Station construction 1970

Ayers Rock Geodetic Station
Back in April we forked out some hard earned cash to digitise a copy of a file held at the National Archives of Australia titled: Ayers Rock - Geodetic Station.

NAA promised they would let me know when it was available. Checking the NAA website today I noted that the file was available for download. I guess that letter is in the mail (electronic correspondence received about 2 hours after we started writing this post).

Nevertheless, it's been money well spent as there are some fantastic photos in there showing the condition of the old cairn and the construction of the new, along with associated records including a guidebook for Ayers Rock. Follow the link above and search on "Ayers Rock - Geodetic Station" to download a copy of the file. We have requested the associated sub item titled "Ayers Rock - Geodetic Station - [Geodetic - Memorial Plaque drawing x 2]" also be opened.

We have transcribed the note in the file by Surveyor first …
Recent posts

The 20% myth

The 20% Myth
Conclusion: On days the Climb is Fully open, the proportion of visitors climbing averages 44%!

In its 2010 management plan Parks Australia outlined  a series of measures that it would use to justify a ban on climbing. These are outlined in section 6.3.3 (C):

(c) The climb will be permanently closed when:

 the Board, in consultation with the tourism industry, is satisfied that adequate new visitor experiences have been successfully established, orthe proportion of visitors climbing falls below 20 per cent, orthe cultural and natural experiences on offer are the critical factors when visitors make their decision to visit the park. In our opinion the decision to climb, or not, should be left to individuals. But none of the conditions outlined above have been met. Tourists have been omitted entirely from the consultation process and any research on visitor intentions has been conducted by groups strongly biased against the climb making any results statistically meaningless. The …

Climbing legends #11 Edna Saunders

Climbing legends #11 Edna Saunders
Series of posts celebrating climbers of Ayers Rock.

In an early post we drew attention to a book by Edna Saunders (Bradley) "A Rock to remember". This post celebrates Edna as a legend of the climb.

A rock to remember. Available on Kindle via Amazon. 
During her first visit to Ayers Rock as part of the Petticoat Safari, Edna climbed twice. Her first climb well known as part of the Petticoat Safari group (see earlier post). Edna climbed again the next day to a special location on the Rock that only very few have visited and certainly very few women. An excerpt of her adventure appears below. To gain an insight into early tourism at Ayers Rock we recommend buying Edna's book. She remains active in supporting tourism in central Australia. What a remarkable woman!
Extract from A rock to remember by Edna Bradley (Edna Saunders) To find out if they made it out you'll have to buy the book!
The Rock Pool  Little did we know what we were getting ours…

Climbing Tales #7 Deano climbs the Rock

Climbing Tales 
This series celebrates Uluru climbing experiences posted online.

#7 Deano Deano and fellow climbers at the summit cairn.
Another great climbing story. Deano is an Aussie with a passion in life for travel and enjoying the experiences and places that the world has to offer. Following in the footsteps of his Granny and Aunt, Deano's recount of his climb available at his blog. Some great summit pics there. 
The climb is well worth it. You get an amazing perspective of the rock from the top and the view just seems to go on and on across that vast red earth (be prepared for strong winds up there though). The vast “nothingness” of the Australian outback never fails to impress me.

The Ban on Climbing Ayers Rock is Immoral and Illegal

The Ban on Climbing Ayers Rock is Immoral and IllegalQuadrant Magazine have placed my recent article online outlining reasons the ban on climbing Ayers Rock is immoral and illegal.

Claims that Aborigines never ascend the monolith are false and the highly sacred nature of the route a recent invention. The cultural-heritage significance of the climb to both Anangu and millions of non-Aboriginal visitors is something that should be celebrated and maintained, not discouraged and condemned.

Read the Article at Quadrant.
“In the realm of ideas there has been no better publication in Australia over the last fifty years than Quadrant magazine.”
— Former Prime Minister John Howard

Climbing Legends #10 - An Australian youth among desert Aborigines

Climbing legends
Series of posts celebrating climbers of Ayers Rock.
#10 Lauri Sheard: An Australian youth among desert Aborigines

Lauri E Sheard 1922-1942
Lauri Sheard was the son of Mountford's friend Harold Sheard, and was aged 18 when he accompanied Mountford on this Expedition in 1940. During the trip Lauri Sheard recorded his experiences in a diary, later published as An Australian youth among desert Aborigines, and took almost 1000 photographs of his own.

Lauri's account of his climb from his diary reprinted below:
Wednesday August 7, 1940 We packed our gear and lunch on the camels and set off once around the eastern end of the rock.  Proceeding to the climbing slope, this time the position reversed, I went up and Mountford stayed below taking photographs, , using the colour cine camera.  The climb was not terrifically steep, but it was jolly hard work, as for a part of the way we went on hands and knees, but once over the steeper pitches and with practice it was not hard …

And the next Director of National Parks is...?

Parks Australia recently advertised for a new Director to replace Sally Barnes. In one of the infinite possible alternate universes (if they exist) I was awarded the job, but in this one it's going to someone else. In that alternate reality the climb has been secured for future generations for all time. In this reality, like Schrodinger's cat, the climb remains in a state of limbo until B-Day 26 October 2019.

Dear Marc
Thank you for expressing interest in the role of Director of National Parks.
We have now worked with our client to determine the shortlist of candidates for interview for this role, and unfortunately, on this occasion, there were other candidates who had experience which was a closer fit for the requirements of the role.  We will therefore not be progressing your application.
I would like to thank you for your application and for your interest – we do appreciate that preparing an application takes considerable time and thought.
The strength of my candidature was…

Did the Aboriginal People ever talk to you about regulating or closing the climb? NO.

Q. Did the Aboriginal people ever talk to you about either regulating the use of, or even closing the climb?
A. NO.
In 1997 Derek Roff, former Head Ranger of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park from 1968 to 1985, recorded a detailed (7.5 hr) interview with the Northern Territory Archives Oral History Unit. Topics covered Derek's time as a policeman in Kenya, emigration to Australia in the mid 1960s, and his experience and insights as Chief Ranger of the Park. The interview provides a fascinating insight into the development of the Park from 1968 through to the 1985 handover and beyond. Roff explodes many myths including the "We never climb" message and problems with photography.

Derek was asked a number of questions about Aboriginal attitudes to the climb while he served as head Ranger for 17 years. His response indicates that the climb held no concerns to senior Aboriginal Elders, leaving one wondering what caused the "unchanging" Tjukurpa to alter so significan…

Climbing Tales #6 Minga Comedian

Climbing Tales 
This series celebrates Uluru climbing experiences posted online.

#6 Minga Comedian Base of the Climb
A wonderful Climbing Tale from Fred Reiss, Californian stand up comedian. Fred Climbed in 2015 following treatment for cancer. This is another inspiring story that the ignoramuses that sit on the Park Board and Parks Australia, happy to keep them in their cultural dungeon, want to prevent. 
A brief extract below, for the full story follow the links to Fred's Blog.
Why I believe you should climb Uluru and why I climbed it!It was intimidating to be a weathered and coarse-grained, testicle-stripped 59-year old man standing within the end and beginning of my dream track at the foot of The Climb. Dreamtime is where you develop a worldly knowledge accumulated through ancestors—well, there’s no hare wallaby man in my family’s ancestral history. But, now that I think of it, my ex-brother-in-law might have been one.  And songline is dreaming a path which mark the route followed …