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Uluru Dreamtime – OUR SONGLINES
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21 Aug

Uluru Dreamtime

Uluru

Right in the heart of the Red Centre lies the most famous monolith of Australia – Uluru. This massive sandstone rock began to form about 550 million years ago, and gained fame due to its historical importance, as home to the Aboriginal Australians: the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people. People of these tribes reside near Uluru, due to the spiritual significance it holds for them. Whilst their rich culture and history have termed Uluru as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tourists visit Uluru with the desire to understand its local heritage. Aided by native Anangu tour guides, the visitors get an inside look, brimming with stories of the past. As part of the indigenous adventures, the sightseers also get to enjoy local experiences of dot painting, bush tucker, and traditional bush skills. A helicopter ride from Uluru and around Kata Tjuta, is also one of the famous attractions.

Uluru is also home to a variety of flora and fauna, with many near-extinct species. Whether it be the rare Mulgara, the Great Desert Skink, or the ever-famous kangaroos of Australia such as the Red Kangaroo, Uluru paints a lovely picture of the Animal Kingdom. Whilst for those who hold fondness of flora, the Centralian Bloodwood and very rare Adders Tongue Ferns are only some of the many varieties of vegetation present, as exhibitions of nature.

The beauty of Uluru lies not only in its rocky structure, but its surrounding environment too. The atmosphere is a sight for sore eyes, as the sun shines on the rock, its rays lighting up the area in an array of colors. It glows red at dawn, varying throughout the day in hues of browns and oranges, to finally settle on red at sunset, and then the grey of the night. Such natural attributes have assisted Uluru in becoming symbolized as an epitome of beauty.

Uluru is rich with Dreamtime stories of the Anangu ancestors. With guided tours, such stories are narrated to tourists, enlightening them with the mystique and culture of the area. The cultural story surrounding the formation of Uluru is:

There lived two tribes of ancestral spirits. Invited to a grand dinner, they did not show up because they were distracted by the Sleepy Lizard Women. The hosts, in anger, sang evil into the mud sculpture, which thereupon came to life. Then began a massive battle, which resulted in deaths of leaders of both tribes. Due to the amount of bloodshed, and remorse felt by the Earth  itself, it rose in grief, becoming Uluru.

It is not only the formation of Uluru, but also the boulders, the caves, the inscriptions on the sandstone which speak a different story of the past:

When the Bell-bird brothers visited the Lizards, they were handed a small piece of emu to suffice for their hunger. In resentment, the brothers set fire to the lizard home, whilst trying to escape by climbing the high rock, only to fall back, and burn to their deaths.

It is thought that the grey lichen on the rock face is remains of the smoke, whilst the two boulders are the half-buried lizard men.

Uluru holds immense spiritual importance for the local Indigenous people, who believe they can communicate and receive blessings from ancestral spirits by touching certain rock outcroppings. The rocks are therefore considered blessed, and those taking rocks from the formation may suffer misfortune. Due to its sacredness, visitors are told to not climb the rock, since it is considered a traditional Dreamtime track, whilst also being associated with various Mala ceremonies as it was the route opted by Mala men upon their arrival to Uluru. Uluru is also a dangerous climb, with its steepness, and windiness at the top. Therefor resisting those medically and physically unfit to make the climb. We support the locals in not climbing Uluru and we ask all tourists not to climb Uluru. As we feel strongly about this, we will not be facilitating any bookings or tour companies that climb the rock.

The Anangu feel their solemn duty to protect people visiting Uluru, due to its spiritual significance, and thus prevent them from making such a strenuous and maybe fatal climb. Moreover, after certain instances of possible defamation of the rock, it has been declared unscalable for visitors in the near future (effective 26th October 2019). However, with other indigenous experiences to be enjoyed, and the beauty of nature calling your name, Uluru awaits your arrival, with the hope that its culture and sacredness will be upheld.

Kayla Cartledge

I'm a proud Gurindji woman. I am thankful the Bunurong, Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung people of the Kulin Nation on whose land I live and work.

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