Uluru’s New Era A Cause For Celebration

Central Land Council chair Sammy Wilson can’t wait for the last day Uluru is open for climbing because the huge lines of people and media circus associated with the closure will finally disappear.

When the decision was announced two years ago, Wilson who then chaired the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board of Management, issued a statement explaining the exact significance of Uluru to the Anangu people.

Unfortunately, the announcement ignited a feeding frenzy as tourists and the media descended on the area even though the traditional owners of the land had asked people not to climb the rock since the mid 1980s.

Interestingly, only around 16 per cent of people visiting the area climbed the rock back in 2017 but that number has spiked since the announcement as tourists rushed to climb it and the media rushed to interview people on why they were climbing it.

Throughout this frenzy the Anangu people have remained relatively silent and have patiently waited for the last day of climbing on October 26 before they can celebrate.

In an ABC 7.30 report back in July, Wilson said “We’re not going to take the rock away. It’s always going to be there and the sacred law is always going to be part of it.”

“We welcome tourists here. Closing the climb is not something to feel upset about but a cause for celebration,” he said.

At the time, Wilson made it clear he was a little sick of telling every media outlet why climbing Uluru would no longer be allowed and, pointed out everything that needed to be said was in the initial statement.
One of the simplest messages in the statement was: “It is an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland. We want you to come, hear us and learn.”

Speaking on the 7.30 report in an interview reproduced in the October edition of Land Rights News, Wilson said he enjoyed “people asking about and wanting to learn about our country.”

When he reflects on the announcement he said there was a lot of anxiety at the time and “a lot of pressure put on traditional owners to keep it open and they were worried about that. But they didn’t lose sight of the sacred law and they wanted to teach people about Uluru’s importance.”

Mr Wilson said he looks forward to the day when ignorant comments about it belonging “to all Australians” will be a thing of the past.

“This is our place. We really want people to respect that and learn about Uluru’s significance from Anangu.”

He said there is an extraordinary amount to do and see in the park as well as opportunities to learn about the Anangu people and their deep association with the land.

Moreover, after a day of exploring the park, gazing at the 348-metre monolith at sunset while hearing stories that have been passed down for generations is one of the world’s most magical experiences.

The climb will be closed from Saturday, October 26, and the five-hour celebration will kick off at the sunrise viewing area at 4pm the following afternoon with Mr Wilson as one of the masters of ceremony.

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