Australia’s Ayers Rock and ten Historical Facts
Australia, consist of a comprehensive historical background representing a struggle to reach independency but also a series of indigenous sacred sites. The country offers a diversity of recognised heritage landmarks and secured its place on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These world known sites include a range of historical buildings, national parks and indigenous sacred areas embedded in symbolic values. Some popular places appreciated by visitors all over the world include the following:
- Ayers Rock, Uluru-Kata Tajata National Park, North Australia
- Fraser Island, Queensland
- Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton
- Great Barrier Reef, Queensland
- Kakadu National Park, Jabiru, North Australia
- Blue Mountains, North-South Wales
- Port Arthur, Tasmania
- Ningaloo Reef, Exmouth
- Sydney Opera House, Sydney
- Bungle Bungles, West Australia
Among these interesting and highly visited historical heritages, Ayers Rock holds a significant historic value that represents the culture of Australia which majorly derived from Australian aboriginal culture and civilization. The article aims to list some historical realities and interesting facts about this world-famous heritage site.
1. The Saga of Naming
The official and primary historic name of Ayers Rock is Uluru. This name dates back to the aboriginal period and reflects the past earth before there existed any civilization when the world was bland and amorphous. The Australian tribes of Anangu who inhabited this North Australian land of Uluru for over 30,000 years maintained and managed these ancestral lands for years and also named this rock as Uluru.
In the 1870s, the Europeans visited and came across this land. On July 19th, 1873, a European explorer William Goose sighted this monolith and named it after Sir Henry Ayers who was a South Australia Chief Secretary during the time. Now, it holds the status of a dual-named geographical heritage site of the world.
2. The Rock Architecture
This gigantic rock stands as an epitome of colossal natural architectures. The calculated figures of the height, width, range, and perimeter of the rock are,
- 1142 feet (348 meters) high on land
- 2831 feet (863 meters) above the sea level
- 2.2 miles (3.6 km) in length
- 1.5 miles (2.4 km) in width
- 5.8 miles (9.4 km) in circumference
We know the rock to be formed under the ocean. After many years it evolved on land as a hardened land iceberg, which is several hundreds of miles deep under the ground. It takes about 4 hours to complete a walk around the Uluru. The rock is an ovoid monolith poised of sandstone, mostly feldspar having various shapes, ridges, caves, and valleys on its surface.
3. The Natural Beauty of Uluru
One of the most amazing, interesting, and capturing facts of Uluru remains its natural beauty. The soil of Ayers rock presents a massive iron and mineral content that gives the rock a reddish appearance. Besides, it became noticed that the changing positions of the sun are also responsible for the beautiful picture of the rock giving it an orange-red tint.
The fiery facade visible during sunsets became known as one of the most beautiful views among the world. It was even voted as one of the top 10 best sunsets of Australia.
4. The Sacred Status of Uluru
Ayers Rock is an ancient world-famous heritage and believed to be around 600 years old. This rock is a symbol of an ancient civilization and Australian aboriginal culture. It also holds a sacred status among some aboriginal tribes. The Anangu tribes, the Yankunytjatjara and Pitjantjatjara people consider the Uluru as a sacred figure. The indigenous people observe a tradition known as Tjukurpa and signify the religious importance of the Uluru. They even consider themselves as the descendants and protectors of this spirited land. Whether it be a modern Anangu man or a 600-year-old Anangu man, the religious respect of this rock remains the same for him.
5. The Ancient, Historic and Sacred places in Uluru
Ayers Rock reflects and holds a sacred position in Australian aboriginal culture. Many reasons exist why the indigenous people highlight Ayers Rock as one of their most sacred sites. Diverse characterisations embrace the meaning of the Uluru sacred heritage site inclusive of:
- Mutitajulu Waterhole – an ancient water spring to the south side of Uluru, feeding the flora and fauna of the region.
- Tjukatjapi, Mala Puta, and Pulari – a sacred place of Anangu women.
- Mutitjulu Cave – this cave has most paintings and carvings that reflect the Dreamtime stories of the aboriginal tribes. Also, this place was used to distribute food among the tribe.
- Kuniya Piti and Warayuki – a sacred site for Anangu men.
- Kantju Gorge – also an ancient waterfall between Warayuki and Mala Puta.
6. The Ancient Uluru Arts and Crafts
The arts and crafts associated with Ayers Rock reflect the culture and mode of life in the Anangu tribe. The expression of their culture, civilization, traditions and religious beliefs one finds in their unique skills. The rock art found in the caves and valleys of Ayers Rock shows signs of an ancient civilization.
The many paintings, oral history and symbols researchers believe present the creativity of the Anangu tribe. They used diverse material for example clays, soil, ochre, white-ash, charcoal, and desert oak to produce their arts and crafts.
The photography of this craftwork without a permit in the rocks of Uluru is prohibited as it holds a sacred rank to some people.
7. Ayers Rock Climate
Ayers Rock occurs in a semi-desert area and experiences mostly hot and dry weather for much of the year. The temperature degrees vary slightly between day and night.
Summer occurs between October to February, while winters happen from May to July. In summers, the temperature often rises to 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). In winter, the temperature falls to freezing points at night and the average lowest temperatures recorded are 40.5 degrees Fahrenheit (4.7 degrees Celsius). The average rainfall recorded is 284.6 mm annually.
8. The Flora, and Fauna inhabiting the land of Uluru
The harsh climate of the semi-deserted region of Ayers rock still supports the survival of a variety of living species. Over 400 species of plants are present and some important abundant ones are,
- Mulga trees
- Desert oaks and poplars
- Various Categories of eucalyptus
- Grevillea shrubs and other wildflowers
The fauna constituting the life in Ayers Rock include,
- Red kangaroos
- Reptiles including lizards, poisonous snakes, and skinks
- Small rodents and marsupials
- Thorny Devil (the indigenous moloch)
- Falcons and honeyeaters
- Various species of Parakeet.
All these vegetations and wild animal species reflect the beauty of life in Ayers Rock.
9. The Surroundings of Ayers Rock
The southwestern Northern Territory of Australia surrounds the popular world heritage site Ayers Rock. The surroundings itself offer a range of magical environmental landscapes, for example:
- Alice Springs an area of about 100,000 square miles in central Australia comprising small deserts and semi-deserted areas.
- Kata Tjuta- or Olgas are the 36 domes of rocky build located 360 km southwest to Alice Springs.
- Yulara a community having a small airport where many Ayers Rock visitors overnight. An access road connects the Ayers Rock to the domes of Kata Tjuta.
10. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
In the 1950s, they transformed the Ayers Rock into a national park. In 1957, Bill Harney, who worked for the government and became known as the protector of the Aboriginals, visited the site. In 1958 they combined the Olgas and Uluru formation sites to create the Ayers Rock National Park.
Many motels opened their doors between 1959-1976 at Ayers Rock and they established an airport at Yulara. Soon, many small hotels, restaurants, hostels, and other tourist facilitations developed and offered overnight stays. The ownership of the land still belongs to the aboriginals, but the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service received a 99-year lease to manage the environment.
In 1987 and 1994, UNESCO recognised it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site focused on its natural and cultural significance.
The Australian government allocated thousands of dollars over the maintenance and care of the Uluru-Ayers Rock world-famous heritage site. The entry fees to visit the park is $25 for adults whereas for children it is free.
Thousands of tourists from all over the world visit annually to explore the natural rock features and interesting historical heritage of Australia. It remains one of the top 10 best sunsets of Australia and the opportunity to experience the Australian aboriginal culture and tradition.