BFF-05 Tourists flock to Australia’s Uluru for last ever climb





Tourists flock to Australia’s Uluru for last ever climb

ULURU, Australia, Oct 25, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Hundreds of tourists flocked to
Uluru Friday for one last chance to climb the sacred site ahead of a ban,
despite heavy winds preventing early attempts to scale the giant red

A permanent ban on scaling Uluru — also known as Ayers Rock — comes into
place Saturday in line with the long-held wishes of the traditional
Aboriginal owners of the land, the Anangu.

This has led to a surge of climbers in recent months.

Hundreds were left waiting for hours early Friday due to safety concerns
over heavy winds, before rangers allowed climbers to head up the rock at
10:00 am local time.

Parks Australia said they would reassess the weather conditions throughout
the day to determine if climbers could continue to mount the rock.

More than 395,000 people visited the Uluru-Kata National Park in the 12
months to June 2019, according to Parks Australia, about 20 percent more than
the previous year.

Around 13 percent of those who visited during that period made the climb,
park authorities said.

Uluru has great spiritual and cultural significance to indigenous
Australians, with their connection to the site dating back tens of thousands
of years.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt likened the surge of people rushing
to climb Uluru with “a rush of people wanting to climb over the Australian
War Memorial”.

“Our sacred objects, community by community, are absolutely important in
the story and the history of that nation of people,” he told national
broadcaster ABC.

Saturday marks 34 years since that the park’s title was handed back to the
traditional owners.

BSS/AFP/GMR/0919 hrs