This is a conflict where tourism confronts sacrednesss. Formerly known as Ayers Rock, Uluru in the Northern Territory is made of sandstone about half a billion years old. It stands 348 metres high and has a circumference of 9.4 km. Uluru is at its most stunning around sunrise and sunset, when the golden light makes the rock’s colours come "alive".
The traditional guardians of Uluru are Anangu Aboriginal people. Anangu have lived in the area around Uluru and Kata Tjuta for at least 30,000 years  .
For the Anangu people, Uluru is inseparable from Tjukurpa, or traditional law. The actions of the creation ancestors are still visible around the rock, and their stories are passed on from generation to generation. This ancient monolith is home to rare plants and animals, important spiritual sites and caves painted with remarkable rock art .
The claim to land and Ululu was inspired by a conflict event in 1966, when 200 Gurindji people, domestic workers and their families initiated strike actions at Wave Hill station locaed also in the Northern Territory. Negotiations with the station owners, the international food company Vestey Brothers, broke down, leading to a seven-year dispute. This eventually led to the return of a portion of their homelands to the Gurindji people in 1974, and the passing of the first legislation that allowed for Indigenous people to claim land title if they could prove a traditional relationship to the land .
Thus, the Gurindji strike at Wave Hill inspired Anangu to return to Uluru and that Urulu should be returned to them. Over the next decade (1966-1976), Uluru’s traditional owners lobbied the government for the right to their country, expressing concerns about mining, pastoralism, tourism and the desecration of sacred sites. The historic Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act came into force in 1976. It recognised Indigenous land rights and set up processes for Indigenous people to win back their land and manage their own resources .
In 1920, both Uluru and Kata-Tjuta (group of large, domed rock formations) were included in the South West Reserve, part of a larger system of reserves set aside as sanctuaries for Aboriginal people .
However, the Ayers Rock (Uluru and Kata-Tjuta) National Park was declared in 1950, the same year that Alice Springs resident Len Tuit accompanied a party of schoolboys from Sydney’s Knox Grammar on a trip to Uluru. Recognising the enormous tourism potential of the rock, Tuit began offering regular tours in 1955, with guests camping in tents and drinking water carted in from Curtin Springs. The first permanent accommodation was constructed also the same year, while a new airstrip allowed the first fly-in, fly-out tour groups .
Anangu were able to reclaim ownership of the national park in 1985, when the Governor-General of Australia returned the title deeds to the park to Anangu in a handback ceremony on the oval in Mutitjulu community. In return, Anangu leased the land to the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service (now Parks Australia) for 99 years. The board of management was set up in December 1985 with a majority of Anangu members, and the park continues to be jointly managed by Anangu and Parks Australia .
The national park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987 for its natural values. In 1994 it was also added to the list for its extraordinary value as a living cultural landscape .
However, in 2017, the Anangu Aboriginal people said that their sacred site -Uluru- is being eroded by visitors who traipse up and down the rock, which in Anagu culture and traditional law is an offensive act. Uluru attracts domestic and international tourists, and is visited by over 250,000 people per year .
"No single foot should be placed on Uluru". "It is the traditional law and philosophy Tjukurpa that tells us how to care for one another and the land that supports us. It tells of the relationships between people, plants, animals and the physical features of the land. When we have a problem, we always look at it through the lens of Tjukurpa. Tjukurpa is our moral compass for daily life and our justice system. It underpins everything Anangu do. Tjukurpa refers to the past, the present and the future at the same time. The knowledge never changes, it always stays the same" .
"We’ve [Anangu] talked about it for so long and now we’re able to close down the climb. It’s about protection through combining two systems, the government and Anangu. Anangu have a governing system but the whitefella government has been acting in a way that breaches our laws. Please don’t break our law, we need to be united and respect both. Over the years Anangu have felt a sense of intimidation, as if someone is holding a gun to our heads ... Please don’t hold us to ransom…." "This decision is for both Anangu and non-Anangu together to feel proud about; to realise, of course it’s the right thing to close the ‘playground’. The land has law and culture. We welcome tourists here. Closing the climb is not something to feel upset about but a cause for celebration. Let’s come together; let’s close it together" .
The official ban on climbing on the top of Uluru takes place on October 26, 2019, the 34th anniversary of the land title being handed back to the Anangu people .