It's been over twenty years since I first set eyes on Uluru. Visiting it again this week, the sacred beauty and majesty of this natural wonder are more obvious to me than ever. It's enormous presence is truly awe inspiring.
In 1985 , as an 'Innocent' fifteen year old student, my fellow classmates and I climbed the rock as part of a school vacation to central Australia. Looking back, its hard to believe that we were encouraged to do this, from memory, it may even have been mandatory.
Standing at the rock today, with a greater understanding of its deep cultural significance, I couldn't dream of touching the rock face, let alone walk over it; it's hard to believe that some travelers still feel it's ok to do so.
In November 2017, Georgia Hitch and Nick Hose of the ABC wrote:
Climbing Uluru is set to be a thing of the past after the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park board decided unanimously to ban the activity, starting in 2019.
The board, made up of eight traditional owners and three representatives from National Parks, made the decision after consulting with the wider Anangu community, who it said was overwhelmingly in support of banning climbs.
Senior traditional owner and chairman of the park board Sammy Wilson was at Uluru for the announcement and in a written speech said the site had deep cultural significance and was not a "theme park".
"Some people in tourism and government for example might have been saying we need to keep it open but it's not their law that lies in this land," he said. "It is an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland.
"The Government needs to respect what we are saying about our culture in the same way it expects us to abide by its laws.
"After much discussion, we've decided it's time."
The ban will begin on October 26, 2019 to coincide with the 34th anniversary of the return of Uluru to traditional owners.