‘Uluru climb clo­sure wrong’

Sunday Territorian - - NEWS - PHILLIPPA BUTT

AN ULURU climber is fight­ing for the clo­sure of the climb to be banned, ar­gu­ing it would nul­lify the rock’s UNESCO World Her­itage sta­tus.

Max Hen­drickx, who has climbed the rock four times and in­tends to climb again this year, said the 1987 list­ing of Uluru as a her­itage site marked the climb as an im­por­tant part.

“One of the list­ings is about the views around Uluru and the nat­u­ral land­scape value,” he said. “By ban­ning the climb, aren’t we breach­ing those con­di­tions?”

He has writ­ten to En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Melissa Price, ar­gu­ing “it is pos­si­ble the act of climb­ing, the chain, the five me­mo­rial plaques and the most pho­tographed sum­mit mon­u­ment in the world are al­ready pro­tected un­der cur­rent World Her­itage list­ing cur­rently in place in the park”.

A sub­mis­sion to the UNESCO board in 1987 said the most pop­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties at the rock were “sight­see­ing, walk­ing, climb­ing Ay­ers Rock, scenic flights, sun­set and sun­rise view­ing, driv­ing, pic­nick­ing and pho­tog­ra­phy”.

“Uluru Na­tional Park meets two cri­te­ria for nat­u­ral sites un­der the World Her­itage Con­ven­tion,” the re­port stated.

“The im­mense size of the Uluru mono­lith and the col­lec­tion of pol­ished domes at Mt Olga re­sult in a land­scape of scenic grandeur.”

In its con­clu­sion, it rec­om­mended Uluru-Kata Tjuta Na­tional Park should be given world her­itage sta­tus and that “fu­ture ad­di­tions to the area of the site to more com­pletely por­tray the arid land­scape would be wel­comed”.

Mr Hen­drickx is ar­gu­ing this sub­mis­sion in­cludes the climb. “The climb is such a joy­ful, won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence of the nat­u­ral world,” he said.

“The views peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence, the ca­ma­raderie when peo­ple are climb­ing to­gether as fam­i­lies, it all makes the climb spe­cial.

“And the fact that past tra­di­tional own­ers had no prob­lem climb­ing the rock, even act­ing as tour guides some­times, in­di­cated there was noth­ing par­tic­u­larly sa­cred about the climb­ing route.”

Mr Hen­drickx, a for­mer North­ern Ter­ri­tory ge­ol­o­gist, said in­stead of ban­ning the climb, it should be more in­for­ma­tional.

“Part of the prob­lem at the rock is there’s been a fo­cus on the cre­ation story to the detri­ment of the ge­o­log­i­cal science,” he said.

Tourists will be banned from climb­ing the rock on Oc­to­ber 26 this year, af­ter al­most 30 years of cam­paign­ing by the Uluru-Kata Tjuta park board (made up pri­mar­ily of the site’s tra­di­tional own­ers).

Ms Price was con­tacted for com­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.