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Anangu Aboriginals stopped tourism expansion and the climb to the top of Uluru rock, Australia

"Stepping on Urulu is considered as an offensive act". By arguing their traditional relationship with the Uluru rock for many years, the Anangu people officially ban massive tourist climbing on 26 of Oct, 2019.


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". 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Anangu Aboriginals stopped tourism expansion and the climb to the top of Uluru rock, Australia
State or province:Northern Territory
Location of conflict:Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Tourism Recreation
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Establishment of reserves/national parks
Specific commodities:Tourism services
Ecosystem Services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The first non-Aboriginal person to see Uluru and Kata-Tjuta was the explorer Ernest Giles, who spotted the domes while leading a party near Kings Canyon in 1872. Giles named the largest dome Mount Olga, after Queen Olga of Württemberg. In 1873 another explorer, William Gosse, was another non-Aboriginal person to see Uluru, naming it Ayers Rock after the Chief Secretary of South Australia, Sir Henry Ayers. The next major expedition to the area was a scientific team in 1894. The party was sent to research the geology, mineral resources, plants, animals and Aboriginal culture of Central Australia.

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Level of Investment for the conflictive project12,500,000 (year)
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:2,276 (a total number of Anangu living in the area today)
Start of the conflict:1920
Relevant government actors:Governor General of Australia
Australia Parks
International and Finance InstitutionsUNESCO - World Heritage
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Anagu people
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Anangu Aboriginal people
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Loss of livelihood
Potential: Displacement
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Negotiated alternative solution
Fostering a culture of peace
Proposal and development of alternatives:The alternative to tourism proposed by Anangu Aboriginal people is that the climbing to the top of the Uluru rock should be banned. However, tourists would be allowed to visit the National park and experience the landscape and Anagu culture without climbing on the top of it. Climbing on the top is an offensive act according to Tjukurpa, or Anangu' s traditional law [5].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The official ban on climbing Urulu will take place on October 26, 2019 as decided by the Anangu Aboriginal people and accepted by the Australian Government. It is worth mentioning, however, that the conflict for Urulu and the resistance of Anagu people to preserve their culture related to the rock is, at least, 148 years long "battle".
Sources & Materials

[1] Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park: Please do not climb Uluru
[click to view]

[2] Uluru climb closure - Words from the Chair
[click to view]

[3] DW 2017: Australia bans tourists from climbing Uluru
[click to view]

[3] DW: Australia bans tourists from climbing Uluru
[click to view]

[4] National museum Australia: Wave Hill Walk-Off
[click to view]

[5] History of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
[click to view]

[5] History of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

[6] Tjukurpa

[6] Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park: Tjukurpa
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Youtube: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park -- Welcome from Anangu
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Ksenija Hanacek ICTA-UAB
Last update20/10/2019
Conflict ID:4766
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