Skip to main content

Women on the Rock: a letter to the PM

Dear Prime Minister,

Given your support for the climb up Ayers Rock, I am seeking your assistance in obtaining information about women climbers of Ayers Rock/Uluru. This is intended for a poster to be revealed next July during the informal Climb for Science event at Uluru.

Over the years women have embraced the climb which is a Men's only area according to aboriginal myths and superstitions. I'm sure you agree it's great that women have climbed the rock over the years and they deserve to be acknowledged. Especially the early climbers, who braved that steep slope without a chain. I'm sure you would also support the right of women to climb the rock in the future.

The first woman to climb Ayers rock is reported to be Beryl Miles who entered her name into the glass jar at the summit cairn in mid 1951 during an epic outback expedition.  Details of her Australian adventure may be found in her book " The Stars my Blanket". One assumes this epic tome would be available in the Parliamentary Library.

A large group of women visited and climbed the rock in October 1957 as part of the Petticoat Safari. (see

Women have played an important role in celebrating and enjoying  the climb over the years and their adventurous spirit is something to be acknowledged and recognised to encourage women to follow in their footsteps in the future.

I only have one question for you:
Does Parks Australia have a list of the first 10 women to have climbed the rock? This would be based on the visitors log, or from other information. If so can you please provide the list of names for our poster.

Best Wishes
Marc Hendrickx


Popular posts from this blog

Climber's Handbook: A guide to climbing Ayers Rock.

Coming soon... Climber's Handbook: A guide to climbing Ayers Rock. Everything you wanted to know about climbing the rock at the heart of Australia but were too afraid to ask...

Indicative Contents History of discovery and climbing Facts and figures Geology and Geomorphology Route Maps Reasons to climb Climbing stories Chronicles of the fallen  Preparations Best time to climb What to wear How to climb What you can see from the summit Things to do at the summit Climbing Trivia Selected climbs and hikes in central Australia
Hoping to hit the internet book shelves in time for Christmas 2018.  In the meantime wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  I just want one thing in my Christmas stocking: a ban of the ban!

A pictorial response to arguments against climbing Ayers Rock

A pictorial response to arguments against climbing Ayers RockIt's too dangerous Group of women aged 19-70 climb Ayers Rock as part of the 1957 Petticoat Safari. This was prior to the chains being installed. Since the 1950s over 6,000,000 people of all ages have climbed the rock. In that time there have been a reported 36 deaths mainly heart attacks to older men, not acclimatised to the heat of central Australia. If you are fit and healthy and stick to the marked path climbing Ayers Rock is an exhilarating adventure but a decidedly low risk activity.

Here's Arthur Groom's take on the climbing options: extract from I saw a strange land
Various writers have described Ayers Rock as difficult of ascent, when in reality it is a trained mountaineer's job on the east-south-east corner, a rough and steep scramble up at least two places on its southern side, and nothing else but a strenuous and spectacular uphill walk on its western side It’s a Sacred Site, climbing is disrespect…

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