Top 10 Amazing Facts about Uluru – Ayers Rock in Australia
This is perhaps Australia’s most famous icon. It is a giant stone monolith located right at the centre of Australia, also referred to as the heart of Australia.
The rock, which also goes by the name Ayers, holds a valuable place among the indigenous people. They consider the rock to be sacred.
Uluru rock and the Kata Tjuta are part of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The park has several attractions such as caves, springs, waterholes and painting in caves.
This area is a UNESCO Heritage Site as sacred and historical grounds. The Pitjantjatjara people consider this to be sacred ground.
As one of the most important indigenous sites in Australia, there are amazing facts about this place. Here are the top 10.
1. It has two names- Uluru/Ayers Rock
The local Anangu people, call this iconic landmark Uluṟu. It has no particular meaning but is used as a local family name by the senior Traditional owners of Uluru.
Its other name is Ayers Rock. This name was given by William Gosse who first saw the mountain in 1837. He was a surveyor and he named the mountain Ayers Rock to honour Sir Henry Ayers.
The two names were adopted in 1993 allowing both an English name and a traditional Aboriginal name. It is known as Uluru/Ayers Rock.
Most Australians call the mountain Uluru.
2. Uluru is also a dual heritage site
Uluru has two UNESCO listings. The first one was declared in 1987 as a natural World Heritage Site in recognition of its unique geology.
Its second listing was declared in 1994 as a cultural site due to the meaning it has for local Indigenous Australians.
This mountain is one of the few in the world that has a dual listing.
The Park in which the mountain is located was declared as an aboriginal reserve. The people had no contact with European settlers.
3. It is a sacred rock, disrespecting this belief leads to death
The Aborigines of Central Australia believe that Uluru a sacred ground. Their ancestors had conducted several prayers on the site for many years.
This is not a myth but it is believed that those who defy this culture drop dead. About 38 climbers have lost their lives attempting to climb the rock.
4. Uluru is an Inselberg
The Uluru/Ayers Rock is an Inselberg. This means that it is an island mountain that was left after the surrounding area got eroded by rainfall and ground running water.
Uluru stands at about 348 meters above sea level. It is 28 meters taller than the Eiffel Tower. There are no joints or part at the base of the mountain.
It is one huge rock that geologists have termed the mutitjulu Arkose. It is one of many sedimentary formations in the Amadeus Basin.
5. The rock was originally made of sand
Uluru/Ayers was originally sand that got deposited as part of an extensive sedimentary fan that extended from the ancestors of the Musgrave.
It is part of the Mann and Petermann Ranges. They are separate from the Kata Tjuta.
Uluru has a similar mineral composition as the Mutitjulu Arkose. The ranger was previously larger but it got eroded.
6. Uluru is under the ownership of the Pitjantjatjara people
Before 1985, Uluru was owned by the Australian government. They returned the ownership to the local Pitjantjatjara people.
They signed an agreement that the Anangu people would return the ownership to the Australian government after 99 years.
Part of the agreement was to stop tourists from climbing the rock. This agreement was however violated.
About 300 aboriginal people are living near Uluru. The Uluru viewing area was opened to the public in 2009.
7. Two royals climbed the rock in the 80s
Prince Charles and Princess Diana, climbed Uluru when they visited in 1983. Although the aboriginal people asked that climbing be prohibited, the two royals climbed it.
Lives have been lost climbing the rock.
8. Its real colour is grey, not orange
One glance at Uluru/Ayers Rock and it looks burnt orange. The rock is made up of arkose sandstone.
The natural colour of the rock is grey. This colour difference is due to iron oxidation on the surface.
Its colour also varies during the day depending on when you see it.
9. Uluru has one of the best sites for sunset views
For the best sunset views in central Australia, Uluru is the best place to be. It was voted as one of the best places to view the sunset in Australia.
The red colour of the rock is caused by the angle of the sun, minerals in the rock and the reflection of the soil.
Both sunrise and sunset at Uluru are magical.
10. It is home to several animals and plants
Uluru/Ayers rock hosts over 400 plants species. Most of these plants are used by the Anangu people for medicine and food.
There are more than 27 animal species in the area such as dingoes, red kangaroo and spinifex mouse.