Uluru History

Uluru History: For more than 20 000 thousand years, Aborigines live around this incredible mountain. At the origin, the world was featureless, which explains that such rock formations were considered sacred by human-beings. This is how Aboriginal people installed around Uluru. Nowadays the place is considered sacred, it’s a living cultural landscape to the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people. The spirit of their ancestral beings keeps residing here. This land has a huge role in their cultural identity.

brown mountain with two trees in the foreground
Uluru. Picture from Kyle Hinkson

1870s: The arrival of the Europeans

The center of Australia is hostile. The lack of water and the heat are two features that made the explorations complicated. However, Ernest Giles was able to travel the area in 1872. He did not discover the Uluru, but he found a lake and a mountain, which he named Lake Amadeus and Mount Olga. The real name of the latter is the Kata Tjuta. It is also part of the Aborigine’s territory, which made those explorations very hostile to them.

Kata Tjuta, close to Uluru. Picture from Karl JK Hedin
Kata Tjuta, close to Uluru. Picture from Karl JK Hedin

In 1873, Ernest Giles was beaten by William Gosse to discover Uluru. William Gosse named the mountain after the Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. We now call it either the Ayers Rock or Uluru. Giles was the first European to climb the rock. However, by doing that, he broke the Aboriginal people’s rules. Indeed, climbing Uluru is like climbing the Vatican or climbing a Buddhist temple, it is forbidden.

In 1985, the Ayers Rock -Uluru- was handed back to the traditional owners. This step is important to remember when we see that people keep climbing it as a challenge.

A perpetual debate about Uluru History

The climb ban of Uluru is a debate that still goes on. For now, it seems like it is still allowed, but I do not recommend that you do it. To respect the traditions, you should simply enjoy it at the bottom.

brown mountain in a desertic landscape in australia
The view at the bottom is already wonderful. Picture from Antoine Fabre

Traveling consciously and responsibly

I like finishing my articles with general eco-tourism rules. I wrote about it in both the Death Valley tour article and the Salar de Uyuni tour article. For the Ayers Rock National Park, those rules will go further than before. Since Uluru is a natural wonder full of history, it is your right to see this part of Human culture. However, it is also your duty to respect all humans. Since climbing Uluru is disrespectful for some of them, the best is to stay at the bottom. Please respect the memory and the history of the people who lived there for almost 30 000 years.

This is one of the best places to come back to the roots of humanity. Coming to this place is a great occasion to connect with yourself. Please travel responsibly and keep your waste in your pocket. Here, if you throw waste, you will both soil the Earth and the Aboriginal’s people culture.

white toyota suv in front of brown mountain
Uluru at night. Picture from Karl JK Hedin