Skip to main content

Uluru: Climb "no cultural interest"

In this excellent and informative article from 2015 Erwin Chlanda from the Alice Springs News raises important questions about the legitimacy of recent claims that the climb is sacred to Traditional Owners and the rigour of research by Parks Australia and Charles Darwin University. It seems the notion the climb is a concern to locals is only a recent phenomena.

I had the opportunity of speaking with Paddy Uluru early in my work in Central Australia (I arrived in December 1974).
Mr Uluru was the undisputed custodian of The Rock at that time.
We spoke face to face at the base of monolith, and he was happy to be photographed with the Rock in the background. (Restrictions on photography of The Rock has since developed into a nasty, bitter and divisive issue. Apart from anything else the rules are stifling millions of dollars worth of free publicity of this tourist attraction.)
Mr Uluru told me if tourists are stupid enough to climb the Rock, they’re welcome to it.
For him there was nothing of practical value up there such as water, game nor edible plants.
He made it clear that knowledge of certain elements of the Rock’s dreaming must remain secret, to be known only by a strictly defined circle of people.
That knowledge would be passed on to outsiders at the pain of serious punishment and perhaps death.


But the physical act of climbing was of no cultural interest, Mr Uluru told me.

Comments

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