This weekend, on the 26th of October, the Uluru climb will officially close at Uluru-Kate Tjuta National Park. On 11 December 1983 Bob Hawke (the PM at the time) promised to hand back the land title to the Aṉangu traditional custodians and caretakers and agreed to the community's 10-point plan which included forbidding the climbing of Uluru. The government, however, set access to climb Uluru and a 99-year lease, instead of the previously agreed-upon 50-year lease, as conditions before the title was officially given back to the Aṉangu on 26 October 1985.
It is for this reason that this date of the 26th of October is so significant, as it marks 34 years since the return of the land to its original people.
This comes after the park’s board agreed unanimously in 2017 that the climb should close, mainly due to cultural reasons, but also, and just as significantly, due to environmental reasons. The impact of millions of footsteps over the last 150 years has left a scar on Uluru. And what’s more, the climb is dangerous.
That’s a really important sacred thing that you are climbing… You shouldn’t climb. It’s not the real thing about this place.
— Kunmanara, traditional owner
Traditional owners have asked that tourists not climb Uluru, and apparently 80 percent of visitors have complied, mainly out of respect for this sacred place and those who care for it, however, thousands of tourists have been flocking to the great rock of late, in what seems to be a rush to complete the climb before it’s too late.
We at Life Apparel are extremely happy to see this long-awaited change come into effect before any further damage is done to this sacred site. Hopefully, the protection of this site will ignite similar protections of sacred sites around the country, as so many of them are at risk.
You can find out more about Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park here.