Australia Bans Climbing A Sacred Heritage Site

Lucy Bush
November 2, 2017

The date chosen for the closure is 34 years to the day since Uluru was handed back to its traditional owners, the Anangu people.

Speaking at Uluru for the announcement, senior traditional owner and chairman of the park board Sammy Wilson said the site had deep cultural significance and was not a "theme park".

Climbing Uluru will be banned from October 2019, after the board of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park unanimously agreed to prohibit climbers.

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Climbers are to be banished from the world's second largest rock, Australia's 2,800ft Uluru, after its Aboriginal owners decided the sanctity of the 600-million-year-old edifice outweighed its lure for tourists.

But in two years' time, climbing Uluru will be no more. According to the board, only 16 per cent of visitors to the national park climbed Uluru from 2011 to 2015.

"Closing the climb is not something to feel upset about but a cause for celebration".

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The entirety of Uluru is a sacred area and the site where the climb begins is also a sacred men's area.

Anangu owners make up a majority of the park's board and would have been able to institute a policy change without the backing of the non-Anangu board members.

The park's 2010-2020 management plan recommended the climb be closed when one of three preconditions was met, including that fewer than 20 per cent of visitors climbed the rock. "Let's come together; let's close it together", he said.

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It's within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which also includes the 36 red-rock domes of the Kata Tjuta formation.

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