• "I'm a born and bred Aussie. If I wanna walk on Uluru I'm going to. Your stupid ban won't stop this Aussie patriot from enoying this country [sic]." (Facebook)
There's heaps of stuff to do that's a little more wholesome and a little less culturally disrespectful
By
Sophie Verass

8 Nov 2017 - 3:26 PM  UPDATED 8 Nov 2017 - 4:50 PM

Some people have their knickers in a twist that the Uluru climb path - the icon of 1970s Australia along with smoking indoors and ham in aspic - will close in two years time.

That's right. Just when you thought you could arrive at a historic sacred site and think, 'that's a big rock - I'm going to climb that', before you know it, some Traditional Owners who have ongoing ties to the land have used their native title rights to put a ban on a highly dangerous, invasive activity that is barely used anymore. It's PC gone mad I tell you.  

To some, it might seem like their right to come into an Aboriginal community and ignore traditional laws has been taken from them, but there are actually plenty of rewarding things out there that surpass being "king of the castle" of Uluru. After all, we're not allowed to smoke on Bondi Beach or walk on top of Parliament House lawns anymore and the world is still turning (hard to believe, I know)... 

Why not...

 

1. Climb the corporate ladder instead of an Aboriginal sacred site

The path of the 'Uluru climb' infiltrates a spiritual story walked by ancestral Mala men. It's a sacred place that has been used by the Traditional Owners long before before a chain handhold was implemented into its interface. 

A far more sustainable, less sacrilegious, trajectory might be paved in business? Given Australia is looking very 'gung-low' than 'gung-ho' at the moment, and currently facing some of the most bleak statistics regarding work and unemployment, why not have follow a career path instead? 

 

2. Fall in love instead of hundreds of metres down

Uluru is high. It's higher than the Eiffel Tower. It's also steep and can be very slippery. Consequently, 'the climb' has resulted in many injuries and in some tragic cases, death. When people fall, it leaves a devastating effect on the community who live there. As 62-year-old elder of the Mutitjulu community, Keith Aitken puts it, "with us mob, when people hurt themselves while climbing Uluru, it makes us feel no good. It's like if you woke up to find someone dead in your backyard - how would that make you feel?"

Falling in a less physical, more emotional sense, can be wonderful however. According to Celine Dion, it "feels so good". The 2016 Census revealed that around 40 per cent of Australian adults are single, and what is more, in 2015, data showed that 15 per cent of our population was on Tinder. So start swiping. As a nation, we are clearly on the lookout for companionship and intimacy, than on the lookout on top of a 'rock'.    

 

3. Get stuck in a good book instead of a crevice

They say 'what goes up, must come down', but when backpackers trek up Uluru - particularly in tough conditions like extreme heat and strong winds - what goes up, often comes down with the NT Emergency Services.

Alternatively, why not take a leaf out of the books (pardon the pun) of many of Australians and join a book club? Recent research from the Australian Research Council and Macquarie University shows that on average, Australians spend at least five hours per week reading a good book. So, how about embark on a different kind of adventure? Fall down the rabbit hole into Wonderland, journey to a hidden beach in Thailand or get stuck Between a Rock and Hard Place with Aron Ralston.

 

3. Wear out your kids so they go to bed early instead of precious sandstone

It doesn't take a genius to know that regularly prodding and poking paintings in an art gallery lessens their life expectancy. This is why institutions have an idiot-proof 'do not touch' policy. Nor does it take Einstein to know that regular physical activity upon pristine sandstone erodes it.

Uluru is made from arkose, a unique coarse sandstone rich in mineral feldspar. For thousands of years, the only changes on the monolith were made by natural mechanical erosion (heat and moisture). Today, the constant tread of climbers over time has stripped the rich iron rust colour off the face and left a tarnished pale streak up the side of the natural wonder. The majesticity of Australia's landscape has existed pristine over hundreds of decades thanks to Traditional Owners who have managed the land and taken care of country. Since the influx of visitors however, preserving such sites is becoming more and more of a challenge - especially when people want to use them like an amusement park.       

Actual amusement parks however, are designed to faciliate human activity. Mechanicised thrill machines, play equipment and legit toilet facilities are great for family entertaining. In turn, this excitement is good for getting to kids to bed at night. Research shows that there is a direct correlation between earlier bedtimes and emotional stability in children. For parents, having the evening to yourself is perfect for "relaxation and connection", according to the Huffington Post. Escape the trials of your everday, put the kids to bed, take a bath and listen to Smooth FM or some sh*t.

 

4. Chuck a sickie instead of your rubbish

 

Climbers on Uluru rarely leave their footprints behind only. Aside from dropping the odd muesli bar wrapper and a cigarette bud, plastic water bottles are consistantly falling out of climber's hands, backpacks and pockets and landing into crevises where they are unable to be retrieved.  

Something many Australians are also not retrieving - but should - is their annual sick leave. Figures from Roy Morgan data showed that 11 per cent of Australians did not take any allocated leave in 2014, with many saying they felt unable to because of work commitments. If worker's want to perform at their very best, medical experts say they need to ditch the 'workaholic' mentality and relax and recharge the mind every once in a while. Power up your battery. Take a personal day and hit the beach, take a selfie and then load onto Instagram a week later as a #tbt so your boss will be none the wiser. 

 

5. Disrespect 'The Man' instead of First Nations' culture

Tired of 'the system'? Stick it to The Man. Loosen that tie bro... In fact, take the whole thing off. Don't give your business to places that have the great Australian EFTPOS minimum scam. Play Scrabble without a dictionary at hand. And who says you can't have more than one sauce on your Subway footlong? Boys, I also heard that you can wear a dress to school next year if you feel like it...     

Fight for your right to party - just don't abuse your priveldge and oppress marginalised groups while doing so. Don't be the prick who visits someone else's country and disregards any customs or cultures that are important to the local people. Aboriginal history, people, culture and knowledge contributes to and is largely responsible for Australia's unique identity and thinking that climbing Uluru is an authentic Australiana experience, is as in touch with reality as thinking that you'll loose weight from eating the McDonalds 'healthy options' menu.    

 

6. Admire the natural wonders of the world instead of your physical ability 

We get it, you're a goal-setter, an adventurer, someone who's always up for the challenge. But not everything is a Ninja Warrior course. Furthermore, not all natural wonders are Everest or Kilimanjaro, or actual Mountains for that matter.

Uluru is listed as a World Heritage site for it's natural, cultural and other outstanding universal values and recognises Tjukurpa and the Anangu culture in all aspects of it's existence. With great importance comes great responsibility and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National park maintains Uluru's unique ecosystem, conserves archeolocial resources, records Anangu history and ensures Tjukurpa remains a vital componenet of the site.

Aside from admiring the sheer brilliance of Uluru and its surrounds; seeing it's vibrant colour, feeling the heat of the middle of Australia, breathing in the clean air, there are many activities on offer that enhance the experience of being in its presence. Unfortunately, all of which don't include the 'satisfaction' of climbing the equivelent of a 95-story in 35 degree heat, though. Soz.      

 

If you're still left eager to climb on something that's needlessly offensive, why not contact your local parish and ask whether you can absail down the side of it this Sunday? 

This article is satire and while it pays respect to the Anangu Traditional Owners, it does not speak for them. 

Like content? Follow the author @sophieverass

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