The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board has unanimously voted to prevent people climbing on Uluru starting from October 2019, a move which should safeguard the sacred site’s future.
The indigenous population have long raised cultural concerns over travellers clambering over the highly spiritual landmark, with 300,000 people visiting Uluru in 2015 alone for example, and now their fears have been assuaged.
In a speech at Ayers’ Rock unveiling the decision, the chairman of the national park board, Sammy Wilson, confirmed the site’s importance as a sacred location. It is believed to have been formed during the Dreamtime, the ancient period of creation – the spirits from which time live on in the present according to local folklore. Uluru was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.
“The climb is a men’s sacred area,” said the board’s chairman and a senior traditional owner and leader, Sammy Wilson.
The park had previously submitted a draft proposal recommending stopping climbing in 2009, but at the time it failed to receive government backing.
The date of the change has been set to honour its historic significance: October 26 marks the 34th anniversary of the return of Uluru to its traditional owners. They first started asking people to stop climbing the rock in that same year and signs asking tourists to reconsider were first erected in 1992.
Ayers Rock is one of the most recognisable natural occurrences in the world, and since it has been there for around 600 million years, it only seems right that everything possible is done to preserve it. Thanks to this new measure, it looks set to be kept in the best condition it can.