Uluru

From Academic Kids

Uluru (also Ayers Rock or The Rock) is a large rock formation in central Australia, in the Northern Territory. It is located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, 400 km southwest of Alice Springs at Template:Coor dm. It is the second largest monolith in the world (after Mount Augustus, also in Australia), more than 318 metres (986 ft) high and 8 km (5 mi) around. It also extends 2.5 km (1.5 miles) into the ground. It was described by explorer Ernest Giles in 1872 as "the remarkable pebble".

Uluru at dusk
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Uluru at dusk
Contents

Description

Uluru is notable for appearing to change colour as the different light strikes it at different times of the day and year, with sunset a particularly remarkable sight. The rock is made of sandstone infused with minerals like feldspar (Arkosic sandstone) that reflect the red light of sunrise and sunset, making it appear to glow. The rock gets its rust color from oxidation.

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Uluru.jpg
Uluru, appearing yellow at midday
Uluru, purple in the afternoon
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Uluru, purple in the afternoon

Uluru is sacred to the Aborigines and has many varied springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. Ayers Rock was the name given to it by European settlers, after the Premier of South Australia Henry Ayers. Uluru is the name in a local Aboriginal language (Arrente), and since the 1980s has been the officially preferred name, although many people, especially non-Australians, still call it Ayers Rock.

The Aboriginal community of Mutitjulu (pop. approx. 150) is near the western end of Uluru. From Uluru it is about 21 km to the tourist town of Yulara (pop. 3,000), which is situated just outside of the National Park.

Uluru's location relative to other places in Australia
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Uluru's location relative to other places in Australia

Kata Tjuta, which literally means 'Many Heads' owing to its peculiar formation, is another rock formation about 25 km from Uluru. They are called the Olgas by many Australians. Special viewing areas with road access and parking have been constructed to give tourists the best views of both sites at dawn and dusk.

On 26 October 1985, the Australian Government returned ownership of Uluru to the local Aboriginal people, the Anangu (or 'people'), of the Pitjantjatjara tribe, who then leased it back to the Government for 99 years as a National Park.

Climbing Uluru

The local indigenous community request that visitors respect the sacred status of Uluru by not climbing the rock, with signs posted to this effect.

In 1983 the former Prime Minister of Australia, Bob Hawke, promised to respect the request from the community that climbing Uluru be prohibited, but broke his promise when title was handed to the traditional owners in 1985 because access for tourists to climb Uluru was made a condition before they could receive the title. The climb crosses an important dreaming track, which has been a cause of sadness and distress among traditional owners.

Neverthless, they are unable to prohibit climbing, and climbing Uluru is a popular attraction for a large fraction of the many tourists who visit it each year. A rope handhold makes the climb easier, but it is still quite a long and steep climb and many intended climbers give up partway. There are several deaths a year as a direct result of climbing the rock, mainly from heart failure.

Chamberlain disappearance

In 1980, baby Azaria Chamberlain disappeared while she and her parents were camping near Uluru. Her mother Lindy Chamberlain reported that Azaria had been taken by a dingo, sparking the most publicised trial in Australian history.

Climbers ignoring warning signs
Climbers ignoring warning signs
Detail of Uluru showing Skull Cave
Detail of Uluru showing Skull Cave

Further reading

  • Breeden, Stanley. 1994. Uluru: Looking after Uluru-Kata Tjuta - The Anangu Way. Simon & Schuster Australia, East Roseville, Sydney. Reprint: 2000.
  • Hill, Barry. The Rock: Travelling to Uluru. Allen & Unwin, St, Leonards, Sydney. ISBN 1-86373-778-2; ISBN 1-86373-712-X (pbk.)
  • Mountford, Charles P. 1965. AYERS ROCK: Its People, Their Beliefs and Their Art. Angus & Robertson. Ammended reprint: Seal Books, 1977. ISBN 0-7270-0215-5.

External links

et:Uluru fr:Uluru he:אולורו lb:Ayers Rock nl:Uluru no:Uluru ja:ウルル pl:Uluru pt:Uluru fi:Uluru sv:Ayers Rock zh:艾雅斯岩

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