Uluru climb closure 2019: Why these Australians flocked to climb the rock
Despite objections from Aboriginal traditional owners, thousands of Australians have flocked to Uluru to climb the rock before it officially closes this week. We travelled to Uluru to ask a few of them why they decided to make the journey.His mother's great-uncle climbed the rock in 1933 and he said that was why he wanted to make the trek.
Now that climbing on Uluru is closed, honouring the wishes of its traditional owners, it is time for indigenous people to have a voice to parliament, Midnight Oil singer Peter Garrett says.
Anangu people partied alongside non-indigenous people at a celebration on Sunday at which rock stars such as Garrett, Goanna frontman Shane Howard, and local indigenous bands and artists performed.
Two days after the climb's closure, which included a sometimes bitter debate marked by the booing of the last climbers on the rock, an inclusive party open to all was held as the sun went down over Uluru.
Uluru open to climbers for final day
A mild 33-degree forecast for Friday means Uluru is likely to be open to climbers potentially meaning huge numbers on its final day before a permanent ban.After the last climber shuffles down Uluru's steep descent on Friday, workers will waste no time trying to ensure he or she is the final person to do so.
Garrett, the political activist and former Labor federal minister, received cheers performing hits about indigenous people such as Beds are Burning and The Dead Heart, backed by Aboriginal choir singers.
"This is a terrific opportunity and I feel like a weight has been lifted off the nation now we've got people off the rock," he told reporters.
"Traditional owners have never wanted it, now they've had their wishes respected at last.
"It's time for a new relationship with Aboriginal and Islander people, honouring the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Both Prime Minister (Scott) Morrison and the opposition leader (Anthony Albanese) need to get together and look closely at this document.
"That is so that Aboriginal and Islander people can take their rightful place in a nation which was theirs and still is."
All evidence of Uluru climb to be removed
After the last climber comes down from Uluru on Friday workers will immediately begin removing all evidence anyone was ever allowed on the rock. A mild 33-degree forecast for Friday means Uluru is likely to be open to climbers and in potentially big numbers on its final day before a permanent ban.The rush to beat the ban on climbing the rock from Saturday, or crazy "climb fever" as the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park ranger in charge Greg Elliot calls it, has continued right to the end. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.
The 2017 Uluru Statement signed by indigenous leaders calls for an advisory voice to parliament in the constitution but is opposed by the Morrison government.
Neither Mr Morrison nor his Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt were present at the event near Uluru and the Mutitjulu Aboriginal community, with the only federal representative Environment Minister Sussan Ley.
Federal Labor had four MPs there, including three indigenous members: Linda Burney, Pat Dodson and Malarndirri McCarthy.
The Northern Territory Labor Chief Minister Michael Gunner recalled the darker side of Uluru's history, including the shooting death of Aboriginal man Yokununna by Police Constable William McKinnon in 1934, who only received a reprimand for the deed.
"We have not always respected this place nor have we always respected you," Mr Gunner said in a speech.
Anangu traditional owner elders who were part of the fight for the hand back of the rock to them on October 26, 1985, were delighted at the event.
Extraordinary scenes at Uluru as hundreds gather to climb the iconic landmark as it opens for the very last time
After the last climber shuffles down Uluru's steep descent on Friday, workers will waste no time trying to ensure he or she is the final person to do so. That will include all signage associated with the climb urging people not to do it.The chain handhold built in 1964 and later extended, enabling visitors to get up and down the sheer western face of what used to be known as Ayers Rock, will also be removed.The rush to beat the ban on climbing Uluru from Saturday or crazy 'climb fever' as the ranger in charge Greg Elliot calls it, has continued right to the end.
Uluru is a sacred site and of great spiritual significance to the Anangu, and related to their creation myths, cultural beliefs and laws known as Tjukurpa.
But the Anangu still mostly live in poverty and "while this is a time for celebration, we now have some hard work", activist Vincent Forrester, 68, said.
He recalls helping his uncle as a child bring 44 gallon drums of water to tourists at Uluru, saying Anangu "always wanted to be involved in the tourism industry".
Anangu were excited when the hand back occurred 34 years ago, with hopes of gaining jobs and riches from the tourism boom at the luxury Yulara resort town.
But fewer than 30 are believed to work there and leaders such as Central Land Council chairman Sammy Wilson say it is time operators "woke up" and employed Anangu.
The Howard government intervention in Aboriginal communities started in Mutitjulu.
The hope is for more guided cultural tours, Anangu working as rangers, and perhaps an annual cultural festival near Uluru.
"The next chapter will be local Aboriginal park (Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park) managers for Parks Australia," said Leroy Lester, the son of land rights campaigner Yami Lester.
"Then the next step will be providing visitors with more activities, private enterprise starting more activities now that the climb is finished, but there are other things we can do."
Hitmaker's song marks end of Uluru climb .
A concert to to mark the closure of climbing on Uluru is possibly the most significant indigenous event since the apology to the Stolen Generations.Howard, who was a member of the folk rock group Goanna, said that his close friend and Pitjantjatjara Anangu singer Trevor Adamson asked him earlier this year to co-write a song about the closure of the climb.