Uluru

On Friday, 25 October 2019 Uluru was closed to climbers permanently. Tourists, both international and Australian have always considered the climb a bucket list item but the local Anangu people consider it a sacred place and have always asked that visitors do not climb.

In 1985 the lands surrounding Uluru, then more commonly known as Ayers Rock, were handed back to the Anangu people to administer. Climbing the rock was not immediately banned but over the past thirty-four years, they have tried to steer tourists into other activities. As time passed fewer tourists did make the ascent and it was agreed that when the number of tourists who were climbing dropped to less than 20% of visitors the climb would be closed permanently. The decision was made in 2017 and the date of closure was announced some months ago. Over the last few months, a lot of people have rushed to have a last chance to do the climb. Many people on social media have made scathing comments about it being disrespectful but it is what always happens when people realise they will only have a limited time to do something or see something. They want to be there, the last sailing of a ship, a last train journey, the last time in a favourite hotel. It’s human nature I guess. I can understand it.

Uluru in the distance
Our first glimpse. Photo David Jensen

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post or two David and I visited Uluru in the 1980s with a penfriend of mine from the USA. I think this was just before or around the time that the land was handed back to the Anangu community.

At that time tourists were requested not to climb the rock out of respect for the beliefs of the owners but it was not outright forbidden. My friend and I did climb it.

In hindsight, I don’t know why we did it except to say that we had done it because it was “a thing”. Perhaps it was to conquer our fears because both of us were afraid of falling. I didn’t intend disrespect to the indigenous owners but I knew very little about their culture and beliefs.

Uluru NT
Christie near Uluru

I suppose that I should say that I’m sorry I climbed but I’m afraid I can’t do that. It was a special experience to be there. I remember how I felt the age of my surroundings and how it felt calm and peaceful at the summit.

In recent years when the subject of closing the climb has come up, I’ve felt relieved that my ageing body would no longer allow me to climb safely even if I wanted to. I wouldn’t have to make the decision. But if I were suddenly granted the body of a twenty-something would I go? Probably not, I may not understand the reasons any better than I did then but ultimately I think I would respect the culture in the same way that I’d accept the rules of any religious structure I visited, covering my head, removing my shoes or whatever is asked.

37 people have died whilst climbing Uluru, many more have collapsed due to heat, dehydration or the exertion of climbing. As I said, I was in my twenties when we went and moderately fit. We saw much older people struggling to get up there. We also saw people who ran up. I believe people have taken bicycles up as well. It’s really not the safest place to be. On Friday morning it was very windy at Uluru and the rangers were obliged to delay opening the track for safety reasons causing a lot of consternation amongst the line of waiting visitors.

I have added some links to news articles about the closure below if anyone would like to read more about the subject.

Uluru photo was taken on holiday around the early-mid 1980s. I have cleaned the picture up a bit as there were a few dust spots but the colours are what I saw.

Further Reading:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-24/uluru-climb-closure-gives-voice-to-other-groups/11634498

https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-updates/hundreds-queue-for-last-chance-to-climb-uluru-before-ban-is-enforced/news-story/0344f36da37867416d8685857bfc35d3

https://www.9news.com.au/national/surge-in-visitors-to-uluru-for-last-chance-to-climb-landmark-rock/59dc749c-7a1c-4dd4-a997-6e0dc225dfe0

Cee’s Which Way Challenge – 2015 – Week #37

Which Way to Uluru

I have been missing from the Which Way Challenge for a couple of weeks because all I’ve been  doing is the same trip to and from Hobart which I love but you all know what the Huon Highway looks like now.

However, when I went looking for my album of pictures from our holiday in the Northern Territory I realised I had an untapped mine of Which Ways there. I need to scan all these photos and put the originals in a new album as to my horror they were still in one of those sticky page albums. I thought I had got rid of all of those.

Anyway we did the trip in June 1985 with a penfriend of mine at the time, Christie Burke. Christie came to see us during her trip to Australia and we took the Ghan train from Adelaide to Alice Springs and hired a car to drive to Uluru. Neither Hubby nor I drove then so poor Christie had to do all the driving in a strange car on what was for her the wrong side of the road. She did a good job.

The pictures here were taken by all of us. Only one from me because I was using my instamatic camera. Our SLR had decided to die before we even reached Uluru so Hubby and I both scurried for our back up cameras, the instamatic for me and an old  Braun Paxette from the 1950s for Hubby. I am still amazed by how red the soil is in the Northern Territory. I have not altered these photos very much. I’ve cleaned off a few dust spots and cropped one or two but otherwise they appear as we took them.

Stuart Highway NT
Most of the road to Uluru looks like this. – Photo David Jensen

Walking on the road to Uluru
Christie took this one of us somewhere along the way. – Photo C. Burke

Ayers Rock sign circa 1985
Still mostly referred to as Ayers Rock in 1985. I was obviously into Which Way photos early. Photo by me.

Uluru in the distance
Our first glimpse of Uluru as we turned off for Yulara, now known as Ayers Rock Resort. – Photo David Jensen

Uluru NT
Christie near Uluru – Photo David Jensen

Christie and I lost touch many years ago but I often wonder where she is now and if she remembers me.

 

Share Your World – 2015 – Week#37

Sharing My World This Week

If you could have three wishes granted for you alone, what would they be?

  1. First of all to have Hubby home and well again.
  2. To continue to have good health.
  3. To  have a big win on the lottery.

That pretty much covers my needs and wants I think.

What is the most incredible natural venue that you’ve ever seen in person?

In the 1980s we visited Uluru (Ayers Rock). That was pretty amazing. I had seen pictures of the rock changing colour at sunset and I have to admit that I was a bit sceptical that it really was that dramatic. I thought it might be a bit of artistic licence in the brochures. However, it really does change colour just like that and it’s incredible to see.

Uluru taken on holiday around the early -mid 1980s. I have cleaned the picture up a bit as there were a few dust spots but the colours are what I saw.
Uluru taken on holiday around the early –  mid 1980s. I have cleaned the picture up a bit as there were a few dust spots but the colours are what we saw. I think Hubby may have taken this as I was using an Instamatic for most of that trip.

I did climb Uluru. These days more people choose to respect the indigenous people and not make the climb although it is not forbidden. I doubt that I would do it if I were to visit there again even if I were physically capable but I am glad that I did it then.

Is your hair short (total neck and ear showing), medium (covering ears and neck), long (below shoulders) or extra long (at least halfway down your back)?

At the moment my hair is the longest I’ve worn it in several years as it is around shoulder length. My hair is very thick and heavy and normally I prefer to wear it shorter than this especially in hot weather when I may even have it cut to collar length. It is more curly when it is that length too which I like. I find having hair on my face physically uncomfortable. When I was a child I did wear it much longer, almost waist length if it was loose but normally I wore it in a ponytail or a stumpy pig tail.

List some of your favorite blogs.

Not in any particular order here are just some of the blogs I follow. They are all people who make me laugh, make me think, take great photos or have hobbies and interests in common with me:

  1. Serendipity
  2. Aliceville
  3. Diary of Dennis
  4. Shedding Light
  5. Confessions of a Doll Collectors Daughter
  6. Barbie Who?
  7. Virginia Views
  8. These Days of Mine
  9. Rarasaur
  10. Victoria Rollinson
  11. Stuff My Dog Taught Me
  12. Life in the Boomer Lane

and of course Cee’s Photography 🙂

This is actually two photographs scanned together.
This is actually two photographs scanned together.

 

 

Daily Prompt: Fear Factor

English: Words associated with Fear
English: Words associated with Fear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fear of Falling

I used to think that I had a fear of heights but what I really have is a fear of falling. I am not worried about flying, well not much, and I can enjoy the view from the top of a tall building providing there is a comforting wall all around me but ask me to climb a ladder and I turn into a quivering mass.

I don’t think that I was always afraid but certainly by the time I went to school I was. At my first school in England we had to do gym. One of the things they would make us do was to walk on a plank suspended between two large stools. I don’t suppose they were very high but they seemed so to a five year old. I was terrified to do it but too shy to tell my teacher. I’d just try to make myself invisible and keep going to the back of the line. In those days they would probably have made me do it even if I had said something.

If we went to the playground I wouldn’t go on the big slide because I didn’t want to climb up the ladder. I do wonder if I had an early experience that made me afraid. Mum did tell me that once when I was very small my father brought me home from the playground covered in blood after a fall. I don’t remember this incident at all but maybe that was the start of it.

Fear of falling has continued to be a nuisance all my life. Occasionally on outings I’ve missed out on doing things because they involved ladders. Last summer at the Maritime Museum in Sydney I found that I could not tour most of the ships on display because doing so would have involved climbing down ladders.I would love to sail on a tall ship but even before I became too unfit to be much use I would not have been able to pull my weight because there was no way I was ever going to climb the rigging. I’ve never been to the top of a lighthouse for the same reason even though I would love to do that too.

When I was younger I could sometimes overcome my fears if the motivation to do so was great enough. When I was a Steamranger volunteer I was for a short time able to climb onto the roof of a train carriage. My greatest achievement I think was to climb Ayers Rock. It’s not the done thing to climb the rock these days, it’s considered disrespectful to the indigenous people who consider Uluru to be a sacred site. However, in the 1980s a lot of people did it. Hubby and I were there with an American pen friend of mine and although she and I were both a bit anxious we decided that we would try it. Hubby elected to remain on the ground. I really expected that I would be too scared to go on once we got past the first section where there was a chain link railing to hold. Surprisingly I wasn’t; it felt firm underfoot, not slippery and although we resorted to some undignified sliding on our bottoms on the way down we both made it to the top. I could never do that now.

English: Looking down the trail of Ayers Rock,...

English: Ayers Rock, Uluru, Australia Deutsch:...
English: Ayers Rock, Uluru, Australia Deutsch: Ayers Rock, Uluru, Australien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The worst thing about this fear though is that it means that I am unable to do certain jobs around the house.  I can’t wash or paint my ceiling unless I employ a long-handled brush but the most aggravating thing is trying to change lightbulbs. I’m fine if I am near the wall, I can just about manage on a step-ladder but if it’s in the centre of the room I to into a state of near panic even if Hubby is standing by to catch me. As I get older it seems to be affecting me more. In the car steep driveways and ramps worry me. I sometimes resort to closing my eyes when we have to use them. Luckily I’m not the driver!

I have to admit that I’ve never sought treatment for this problem. It’s never really been a priority for me. I’ve just learned to live with it.