Uluru to be Banned from Climbing?


According to Zoie Jones of ABC News, University of Western Sydney Researcher, Sarah James has found that attitudes to climbing Uluru have changed, and the time might be right to close the climb altogether.

Interesting that it has taken so long to come to such a reckoning, when Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park became only the second property in the world to be listed as a cultural landscape in 1994.

Australia nominated the property in recognition of its cultural heritage importance and committed to manage those values in accordance with its international obligations as defined within the World Heritage Convention.

The fact that it has showcased for the world its reluctance to prohibit climbing, despite World Heritage obligations and also the stated wishes of the traditional owners, is indisputable.

33 Responses to Uluru to be Banned from Climbing?

  1. Ian Mott December 3, 2007 at 10:50 am #

    Once again we have the classic green politics of exclusion. Take something over for “the public good”. Big note it all by giving it a world heritage listing that tells the whole damned world about it. Add buckets of government money to tell even more people about it (in the name of promoting eco-tourism) and then lament the damage (real and imaginary) inflicted by the resulting hordes. And eventually close the whole thing to restrict access to a privileged few in the green hierarchy who maintain their access under the guise of ‘monitoring’ the traditional owners.

    To paraphrase what the Eagles sang in “The Last Resort”,
    “They called it paradise, I don’t know why. If the greens call some place paradise, then kiss it all good-by”.

    The next step will be to further undermine the level of services in the indigenous communities so they all drift into ‘The Alice’, thus completing the final act of dispossession.

    For the green movement, in a classic of Orwellian newspeak, the ultimate public good is the total exclusion of the public.

  2. Luke December 3, 2007 at 11:47 am #

    Oh boo hoo. It’s what the traditional owners want. Is is that important to you to walk all over it. Could you live without it. More anti-green propaganda crap from the New Republic at Byron Bay. We don’t want to exclude the public just irrational rednecks like you. I mean you might go crazy and starting punching park officers, or light a wildfire or blow up a bilby colony. I mean you are really touchy. Anything could spark you off.

    Maybe should have tourist walking platforms built all over Australia’s cathedrals so we could have church climbs. We could drill a few scaffolds into the sandstone and attach some aluminium ladders, chains and gantries.

  3. Denis Webb December 3, 2007 at 12:17 pm #

    Great picture – amazing colors. What is it?

  4. Neil Hewett December 3, 2007 at 12:50 pm #

    It is … a Thorny Devil or Moloch (Moloch horridus), photographed last May in the vicinity of Uluru.

  5. Libby December 3, 2007 at 1:18 pm #

    Let’s try this again…To simply suggest that ceasing the climbing is the fault of the green movement, is not only convenient and predictable, it is insulting to Indigenous people, who are quite capable of making their own decisions regarding their sacred sites.

  6. Ian Mott December 3, 2007 at 3:45 pm #

    Would the traditional owners actually mind people climbing over it if it had not been commodified by heritage listing and all the hype?

    It is generally not the fact that someone is climbing on a rock but, rather, that those someones insist on boosting numbers to 150 busloads and gawk at the locals.

  7. Goodoo December 3, 2007 at 4:32 pm #

    Did anyone see the Chaser on ABC where they convinced tourists that it was disrespectful to whites to climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

    I know some people who climbed it about 20 years ago and comented on the aboriginal kids playing chasy up and down the rock, while tourists were strugling to climb it with the asistance of the chains. When I go there I will climb it.

  8. Luke December 3, 2007 at 8:16 pm #

    The local Anangu have long been requested people not to climb the rock. It has nothing to do with greenies. Of course they’re mostly ignored.

    You could go native, do a local walking tour, and invest in the local economy. But of course blog rednecks would already know everything so wasted time.


    At least John Williamson got it right.


  9. Paul December 3, 2007 at 9:26 pm #

    Would the traditional owners actually mind people climbing over it if it had not been commodified by heritage listing and all the hype?

    Apparently yes,they do object. I say respect their wishes.

  10. Neil Hewett December 4, 2007 at 8:54 am #

    Over eighty-percent of the world’s 851 World Heritage properties are inscribed for their cultural heritage.

    By contrast, Australia, with about three times as many WH-properties than the average State Party, has a clear preference for natural heritage, which accounts for around ninety-percent of its inscribed WH properties.

    Uluru was initially inscribed for NH, but later re-nominated for CH as well. Tasmanian Wilderness was nominated for both NH & CH. The Wet Tropics was nominated for NH only, but its indigenous peoples have been fighting for more than eighteen years for re-nomination in terms of CH criteria, without appropriate support from Australia.

    Much of that which Australia has identified as NH of universal importance, has indigenous custodianship to thank for its recognised value. The inference, that its protection is an Australian responsibility for humankind as a whole, through inscription within the WH estate for NH only, is grossly insensitive to the historical caretakers who regard NH & CH synonymously.

    Preclusion of CH in the nomination process relieves the State Party from the same degree of cooperative management that the dual nomination would entail.

  11. Charles December 4, 2007 at 10:06 am #

    I first climbed the Rock 27 years ago. At that time no-one could have cared less, and the aboriginal rangers who were showing people around had no stories about whether they were inclined for people to climb the Rock or not, even when they were directly asked. In their opinion climbing the Rock was hard work and they thought it was a silly thing to do without any tangible reward.

    Fast forward to 1988 and the story was much the same about climbing the Rock. Although, there were a few areas around the base that had been converted from free and open to sacred sites. However, as I had been to most of those sites in the previous visit, I didn’t take too much note of it.

    Now we have the current statements on what is right and wrong in respect to climbing it, you really need to ask yourself whether it is opinion being formed by the current political and social environment and which is retro-fitting how we view the Rock. It seems to me to be a somewhat recently manufactured belief.

  12. Ian Mott December 4, 2007 at 10:13 am #

    I don’t have any doubt that the traditional owners now object to the climbing. My criticism is directed at the sequence of events that has led to this current situation.

    There is a view, a primarily metrocentric view, that a thing of great wonder only gains legitimacy after a million punters have walked over it. It is urban herd instinct at its worst. So the first thing they do after visiting a special place is tell anyone who will listen about their experience. They sometimes fine tune this by then returning a few years after telling the world and lamenting the decline in conditions caused by those who followed at their behest.

    If there is a problem at Uluru then sheet the blame to Qantas and the government tourism boards that set out to deliver the hordes.

  13. rossco December 4, 2007 at 1:07 pm #

    I have been to Uluru twice. I climbed it the first time, about 10 years ago, but I wouldn’t do it again.
    From my observation, most tourists don’t climb it because it is just too damn hard. The first time I went I was in a tour group of about 20, only 2 of us climbed. The second time there was a group of about 30 and only one climbed. People come to see Uluru, not necessarily to climb it.So a ban on climbing would not have a major effect on tourism.
    I understand that the NT alcohol bans could have prevented the sunset watching over Uluru while indulging in champagne and cheese and bikkies – that would have affected tourism. But I think that has been resolved now.

  14. G Bore December 4, 2007 at 1:16 pm #

    Ownership by anthropological decree.

    Retrofit history and belief and voila, a place becomes no man’s land.

    It’s a bloody big huge rock. What if I had a religious christian experience there while climbing it can I stake a claim too on behalf of religion. What if I look at it and see god too can I make a claim.

    The enviro religion steals more land and then subjects it to neglect.

    At least it isn’t Hindmarsh sacred Von Daniken stuff.

    Impressive stuff rates right up there with my Godfather who did five in San Q for selling stuff without title.

  15. Louis Wu December 4, 2007 at 3:05 pm #

    “It’s a bloody big huge rock. What if I had a religious christian experience there while climbing it can I stake a claim too on behalf of religion. What if I look at it and see god too can I make a claim.” – G Bore

    What a disgraceful comment to make, with absolutely no respect for Aboriginal Australians.

    Ban the climbs and let the me-generation appreciate it on their digital cameras instead. The perceived need to clamber all over an object which has been neatly tour packaged and will be forgetten as soon as the next bus stop is reached is something that will hopefully be consigned to history, leaving the traditional owners with some pride intact and the visitors with a greater understanding of other cultures.

  16. Neil Hewett December 4, 2007 at 3:06 pm #

    G Bore,

    Traditional ownership is recognised under common law as having never been extinguished. It is not that the land was given back, but rather that it was ratified as having never been relinquished. The judicial change that brought about this ratification was no doubt influenced by anthropological evidence, but it was/is also undeniable that the indigenous people of Australia held/hold possessory interests in their traditional lands.

    So, by the generosity of its owners, this enormous rock is made available for public access … in a multitude of ways, but NOT for climbing, unless that climbing is undertaken contrary to the expressed wishes of its owners.

    As far as christian experiences on Uluru are concerned, I understand that it is required by commandment that (they) NOT make for themselves an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.

  17. Paul Williams December 4, 2007 at 5:44 pm #

    Neil, there’s plenty of sacred places associated with Christianity, eg Lourdes, Fatima. If a bona fide religious (Christian) experience happened on the rock, why shouldn’t it also be a Christian sacred site, maybe with a shrine on top?

    Louis Wu, there are Christian aboriginals too, you know.

  18. Ian Mott December 4, 2007 at 5:45 pm #

    Louis, spare us all the high moral dudgeon, who the f@#$% do you think you are?

  19. chrisgo December 4, 2007 at 6:46 pm #

    It is odd that frequent contributors to this blog, presumably focused on essentially scientific matters, would defend a religious taboo.

    I look forward to a spirited defense of, say, the literal version of Genesis, from Luke et al.

    Do I get a faint whiff of patronization?

  20. Louis Wu December 4, 2007 at 6:51 pm #

    “Louis Wu, there are Christian aboriginals too, you know.” – Paul Williams.

    I’m not denying that. There are also Muslim ones. I’m quite sure some have religious experiences in places like Wineglass Bay, the top of the Harbour Bridge and at a fence post in Coogee, but that does not mean a shrine should be built there. No doubt should Christians wish to worship the Rock without desecrating it, the local Aboriginals would have no problem. It’s a matter of respect. Speaking of which…

    Ian Mott – why would you write that comment? This is the second time I have posted a comment and basically had you asking me what right I have to do so. I know who I am Ian, and I have as much right to express my views as you. The difference being I dont resort to bully-boy tactics.

    Neil, why is this blog dominated by such aggressive and obscene individuals? It’s a pity, because away from them there is great information and an interesting forum for discussion.

    Louis Wu

  21. Luke December 4, 2007 at 6:55 pm #

    Well Chrisgo – it’s basically just ingrained animosity towards rednecks.

    Read what I said above – what would we say if the central Australian tribes wanted to attach scaffolds to our churches for church roof walks – like why not?

    For decades they’ve asked people not to walk on their rock and most have ignored them. After all the impact the interaction with Europeans have had on these people is it that hard to show some respect. It’s about a “fair go”.

  22. chrisgo December 4, 2007 at 7:32 pm #

    “what would we say if the central Australian tribes wanted to attach scaffolds to our churches for church roof walks – like why not?”
    No one has constructed a scaffold at at Uluru.
    I have climbed St Paul’s dome in London, the Duomo of Florence, the top of the Duomo in Milan, San Marco in Venice and the towers of Notre Dame, Chartres and Reims and in most cases, payed for the privilege.
    But if the owners of Uluru want to ban climbing the rock, that’s their right.

  23. Luke December 4, 2007 at 10:56 pm #

    No just a bloody big chain.

  24. rog December 4, 2007 at 10:59 pm #

    G Bore is Als uncle, eh Luke?

  25. Neil Hewett December 5, 2007 at 8:12 am #

    Louis Wu

    “Neil, why is this blog dominated by such aggressive and obscene individuals? It’s a pity, because away from them there is great information and an interesting forum for discussion.”

    Some entries are informative and interesting and stimulate very little discussion. Others are highly contentious and emotionally charged.

    In my opinion, the issue at the crux of this entry cuts to the quick for many visitors to this site.

    As I see it, Australia nominated Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park for WH-listing, as an expression of its management intent – to protect natural and cultural heritage and to ensure the transmission of those values to future generations. That such an undertaking conforms with the management responsibilities of traditional owners should have been celebrated, but there are those who seem to despise both the executive expression of Australia’s concern for this aspect of its heritage as much as the indigenous interest.

  26. Luke December 5, 2007 at 9:11 am #

    Louis – don’t try to negotiate with these extremists, property rights wankers and industry apologists. Nor be deterred. Either ignore them or put the boot right in.

    The problem with these dudes is that they hate being told what to do – “no black bastard is going to tell me what I can and can’t do – this is MY land”. Bore and Mottsa would like to grade a road up Uluru and put a Maccas on top. This is the mentality you are dealing with. The other distinguishing features are dynamiting special objects and bulldozing bora rings.

  27. Ian Mott December 5, 2007 at 11:35 am #

    Oh, so its “bully boy” claims now Louis. I simply asked who the hell you thought you were, trying to be the arbiter of what someone else may or may not ask on this blog. And then you come up with a pathetic attempt to try and exclude a contrary opinion. This aint Big Brother, matey, get used to it.

    And readers will note that Luke just spun out on an orgy of totally imaginary behaviours that he attributes to others in a blatant attempt to defame people whilst hiding behind a pseudonym. What a hero, what an honourable man is the Boy Blunder, and all done while he collects his public sector salary. Must be time for another “bonding workshop” eh Luke?

  28. chrisgo December 5, 2007 at 4:56 pm #

    Luke’s recent posts worry me also.

    Can I suggest that the blog administrators post some alarming, human induced, climate warming predictions (I mean really dire) just to cheer the poor fellow up?

  29. Luke December 5, 2007 at 6:46 pm #

    Interesting that Grott’s posts seem acceptable to you Chrisgo? No shortage of double standards on this blog…

  30. DHMO December 6, 2007 at 5:29 am #

    I suggest you guys take a long hard look at the Hindmarsh Island debacle. I think this whole thing is to do with manipulation and nothing to do with it being sacred. I want aboriginals who argue this to show themselves and present the argument. I have seen many such claims that are patently false. For instance some reckon we should not display images of kangaroos or emus.

  31. Luke December 6, 2007 at 10:18 am #

    “I want aboriginals who argue this to show themselves ” – yes exactly !! You demand do you?

  32. DHMO December 6, 2007 at 10:36 am #

    Luke Hunnh!!

  33. EAT ME March 12, 2008 at 11:27 am #

    so i like went to the mall and like bought a new dress and like when i got home i like didnt want it ne more so i like cried and then i like took it back and like the person at the desk like went off at me and i like cried again like yea

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