Uluru (Ayers Rock)


The sketch above was drawn early Tuesday morning (14 Sept 2010) from the overlook at Pioneer Outback Inn. You can see the log rails of the overlook, the scrub brush and desert oaks in the middle ground and Uluru to the left and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) off to the right on the horizon. I am including a few photographic images from Uluru below for those who can’t read sketches.

Uluru is the name that the indigenous peoples of Australia have called the rock that sits one-third above ground at around 1200 feet high. It is the earths’s largest rock–also known as Ayer’s Rock by the rest of the world. It is made of sandstone mixed with feldspar and iron oxide, so it changes color with the atmosphere appearing reddish pink in the morning, but by sunset--a blazing red!

Our group spent several days in the outback learning from the elder Anangu people about Uluru and their spiritual ties to the physical environment. They have many ancestors who were larger than life (kind of like the Greek gods), they took on human form and walked the earth in the ancient times, creating what is and the stories that explain how life works. It is an animistic culture and one that is very put off by the loss of land, life, property and dignity that took place when the European settlers came. In fact, when white Australians celebrate Independence Day, the Aboriginal groups mark it as Invasion Day. Their story is much like our American story with the European colonists and the Native Americans. Still, all is not bitterness, the Aboriginal clans are actively involved in educating the public as to their history and culture, through the arts, dance, song and guided tour programs. You see, until recently the Aborigines had no written language--their entire culture and history and belief system was passed down orally and through the arts.

It was a pretty incredible couple of days to say the least. A lot to think about as a Christian who wants to share faith, but must be careful in doing so because of the bad taste “Christians” have left in the mouths of the indigenous people of this wonderful land. (Oh yes, don’t wear white--the red dirt stains white clothes a sick orange.)

Morning drive to Uluru. Notice how reddish pink it is.

This close up of one small part of the rock is later in the morning, around 11 AM

A slightly bigger slice (probably 1/4 mile away)

Reggie Uluru grew up here and is showing us how to make fire in the bush.

He also showed us how to throw spears.

Approaching Kata Tjuta (pronounced Katta Chuta)

I kid you not, unretouched photo of Uluru at sunset. Took it myself.