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Showing posts from March, 2018

Pictorial history of warning signs at the base of the climb at Ayers Rock

Pictorial history of warning signs at the base of the climb
Evolution of warning signs at the base of Ayers Rock from 1969 to present through photos. Initial signs focused purely on safety issues, but with the transfer of the Parks's management to Federal agencies in 1985 signage has become increasingly hysterical in pushing the "Don't Climb" message, ignoring the reality about the actual risks to fit, healthy responsible people, and disrespecting the views of previous Owners of the rock like Paddy Uluru and Anangu climbing guide Tiger Tjalkalyirri 
Signage in 1969 comprised the simple and effective message that people climbing are responsible for their own safety.

Images from the National Mapping Program Video Tellurometer connection from Ayers rock, NT
Sign reads:
The public is hereby notified that the climbing of this rock is a difficult and dangerous feat and that this board accepts no responsibility for injury or loss of life to persons engaged in clim…

The Australian Geologist Climb for science

My article from the March 2018 issue of the Geological Society of Australia's newsletter "The Australian Geologist" (TAG) appears below. Open in new tab, or download to read.

To Ayers Rock and Beyond: Wow! Wow!

Bill Harney  Bill Harney was the first ranger appointed to the newly formed Ayers Rock - Mt Olga National Park that was declared in 1958. Read the Australian Dictionary of Biography entry to get an insight into his remarkable life. Some of his thoughts and stories from his time at Ayers Rock captured in the tome: "To Ayers Rock and Beyond".  One of my favourite pieces from Page 103 (1974 ed) As we climbed the tourists were making the pilgrimage, their rubber soled boots shuffled out a rhythm: Old Folk, young Folk, tottery folk, and sprightly ones, 
Climbing up the Rock towards the cairn, Wow! Wow!
Some pulled, some pushed, creaky legs and pumping hearts, 
We're going to reach the top, we've made a vow. Wow! Wow!

Mt Warning summit Track - spot the difference

We've suggested some changes to the introductory text for the Mt Warning Summit Walk.

NSW NPWS support requests to close the Mt Warning Summit hike

In January we sent the letter below to the NSW Premier requesting her "Liberal" Government provide assurances that access to the summit of Mt Warning will remain open to all and not be banned in the future.
Today we finally received a response, not from the Premier but from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. No assurances have been given and the prospect of the summit walk being closed remains a reality. Incredulously NSW NPWS, an agency funded by all NSW residents to look after our National Parks for ALL of us, provide support for the closure. "The local Aboriginal Elders requested that people not climb the summit due to its cultural significance. The NPWS support this request through signage on the Summit Walking Track." The language being used is very similar to that used at Ayers Rock. This language only serves to cause confusion and antagonises the public. To our great sadness, in their signage NSW NPWS do not mention anything positive about the summ…

Climbing Legends #9: Knox Grammar Scientific Expedition, 1950 Part 2

Climbing legends 
Series of posts celebrating climbers of Ayers Rock.
#9 Knox Grammar Scientific Expedition: First Schoolboys and Masters to climb the Rock, 1950
Knox Grammar boys walking across the top of Ayers Rock,1950. The Knox Grammar Ayers Rock Scientific Expedition is a remarkable achievement. There's a wonderful movie of the expedition "Red Horizon", narrated by Edrich Chaffer, one of the student participants, that we highly recommend viewing (see Part 1).  The expedition left Sydney on August 30, 1950 and travelling by plane, train and automobile arrived at Ayers Rock late on the evening of the 5th of September. The same trip these days takes about three and half hours. 
In Red Horizon Edrich ends his narration about the expedition stating: "It set me on a career where I personally had learnt one of the most important lessons of all, and that was: how to think. And I found it invaluable in my career ever afterwards. And I can only thank Tom Erskine, William Br…

Climbing Tales #5: Day 191 - Ayers Rock

Climbing Tales 
This series celebrates Uluru climbing experiences posted online.
#5Cheney's Caravan of Courage at the Rock Cheney's on top of Ayers Rock Another great family climbing story from August 2011. The Cheney's caravan of courage stops in at Ayers Rock.
From the Cheney's blog...Read more at the link above.
Bec was a little disappointed as she was hoping there was a visitors book at the top that we could sign, but there was nothing to be seen for miles - and I mean miles. We could clearly see the Olga's and Mt Conner in the distance, and even the curvature of the earth.

Well, it took us a total of three and a half hours to climb to the top and back down again. It was an experience I will never forget; especially since I got to do it with two girls. I underestimated both of them, and I am truly sorry for that. I guess you learn a new thing everyday - and mine today was to respect, praise and encourage; not to stress and think something isn't within either of t…

10 reasons why you should climb Ayers Rock

Ten reasons why you should climb Ayers Rock
Everyone should be free to make up their own minds and enjoy the natural world without undue religious or political interference.

Knox Grammar Scientific Expedition, 1950 Part 1

Knox Grammar Scientific Expedition, 1950
Wonderful footage and summary of Knox Grammar's 1950 excursion. Pity they don't run them like this anymore! If you click the image it will take you to Vimeo.

Still from Red Horizon, expedition visits the Cairn.
Red Horizon from Knox Grammar School on Vimeo.

More on this landmark excursion in the future.

Parks Australia explain why they are closing a cultural icon.

The decision to close the climb defies common sense and logic, no wonder Parks Australia's representative, Park Manager Mike Misso, has such a hard time explaining it. As to the "other things" to do instead of climbing, well, all of them could be done decades ago. I mean a bush BBQ from 2km away... seriously!

Mike Misso Park Manager Uluru-KataTjuta National Park Manager explains the closure of the Uluru climb to Tim Webster Talking Lifestyle radio Nov 6, 2017 Transcript.
Link to MP3 file

Why the ‘no climb’ decision will make visiting Uluru better
Tim Webster: Now last week the news that Uluru will officially be closed to climbers from October 2019 did make international news, but it's certainly not a new story. Many tourists, climbing the rock, the last thing on their list, is more being at the rock and seeing it, walking around it than climbing it, and taking in the very spiritual nature of it. Now for those who have been, you'll agree there is something very deeply…

Ayers Rock summit belongs to the Minga

Elder's map shows No Sacred sites at Uluru Summit
Tony Tjamiwa was a respected Aboriginal Elder at Uluru. He was a board member of the National Park. When he died in 2001 the climb was closed for 11 days. Tony's quotes feature prominently in Parks Australia Management plans. For instance this one indicating climbing is not a proper tradition.

Ananguku ngura nyangatja ka pukulpa pitjama. Nyakula munu nintiringkula Anangu kulintjikitjangku munu kulinma Ananguku ara kunpu munu pulka mulapa ngaranyi. Nganana malikitja tjutaku mukuringanyi nganampa ngura nintiringkunytjikitja munu Anangu kulintjikitja. Kuwari malikitja tjuta tjintu tjarpantjala nyakula kutju munu puli tatilpai. Puli nyangatja miil-miilpa alatjitu.Uti nyura tatintja wiya! Tatintjala ara mulapa wiya.© Tony Tjamiwa
This is Anangu land and we welcome you. Look around and learn so that you can know something about Anangu and understand that Anangu culture is strong and really important. We want our visitors to learn about…

Tourism concerns if sacred mountain sites declared off limits

You wouldn't think the issue of religious inference with bushwalking would arise in the 21st century in our supposedly secular society. If you believe access to our natural heritage should not be restricted due to religious beliefs let your local member know how you feel. This article by Luke Griffiths from The Australian outlining what bushwalkers now face well worth the subscription price.

Tourism concerns if sacred mountain sites declared off limits

There are growing fears among tourists and business owners that at least two of Australia’s most spectacular mountain walks will be banned because they are sacred to indigenous groups.

Sydney hiker Christie Davies at the summit of Mt Warning. Picture: Natalie Grono
Read the rest HERE

Indigenous beliefs on Flinders Ranges’ St Mary’s Peak should not override the right of all to enjoy hiking it

I have an op ed in the Adelaide Advertiser today. It's subscription only.

Indigenous beliefs on Flinders Ranges’ St Mary’s Peak should not override the right of all to enjoy hiking it

At 1171m, St Mary’s Peak is the highest point in the Flinders Ranges. It’s the end point for a spectacular scenic 20km bushwalk that rewards with 360 degree views of the rocky ranges, salt lakes and amazing desert plains. This wonderful challenging walk, accessible to most people of moderate fitness with a little planning and a willing spirit, has been under threat for some time by the beliefs of the local Adnyamathanha people, who believe that the peak is the head of an ancient serpent whose petrified body forms the walls of Wilpena Pound. They prefer you don’t visit it or walk it. Read the rest at...this LINK
I'll post an image in a few days.