Ayers Rock

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The Ayers-Rock is located in the Uluru - Kata Tjuta national park in Australia's center in the federal state Northern Territory in the southeast of the village Yulara. The next bigger city is Alice Springs in a distance about 340km in the northeast. Following maps should show the location:

Locaton relative of Alice Springs

Uluru - Kata Tjuta Nationalpark

Road map of the Red Center


It would be too simple if there exists a definition. The former named mountain Ayers Rock was renamed into Uluru in the early 1990s. Uluru is the preferred notation of the indigenous people. The Ayers Rock-Mount Olga Nationalpark founded in 1977 was renamed into the todays Uluru - Kata Tjuta Nationalpark in 1993.

The meaning of the term Uluru is nebulous. Some artikls translate Uluru as shadow place and as place of ancestors .

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Dieter Tischendorf, 2007 (Text only available in German!)

Uluru, das heißt „schattiger Platz“. Die Übersetzung mit „Wasserloch“ ist wohl ziemlich frei gewählt.

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - German Wikipedia, 10/09/2009 (Text only available in German!)

Der Name „Uluṟu“ stammt aus der Sprache der Pitjantjatjara Aborigines und bedeutet „Sitz der Ahnen“.

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - English Wikipedia, 10/09/2009

The local Pitjantjatjara people call the landmark Uluṟu (IPA: [uluɻu]). This word has no particular meaning in their language, also known as Pitjantjatjara, but it is also used as a local family name by the senior Traditional Owners of Uluru

Up to now I cannot confirm the right translation. Maybe all of the given translations discribe the same in far away sense. Information are welcome in our forum.

Discovery and Origin

William Gosse
Sir Henry Ayers

The island-mountain was discovered by the adventurer William Gosse (1842-1881) in the year 1873. The rock got it's name in honor of the South Australian prime Minister Sir Henry Ayers (1821-1897).

A long time, the Ayers Rock was classified as the biggest monolith of the earth. Then Mount Augustus in Western Australia was classified as the biggest monolith. Now the Ayers Rock is not a monolith any more. The literature for example the German- and the English speaking Wikipedia cannot find any uniform definition. However, it is right that it is an island-mountain, a rocks that simply rises from the earth. There is no rubble at the bottom of the Ayers Rock.

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Dieter Tischendorf, 2007 (Translation in English)

In 1873 Ernest Giles stopped the age of "the seeming unreachable" of this area. His first attempt failed due to the nature. He and Baron von Müller, a german botanist, named the Mount Olga („a high and abrupt ending range of mountains“) after the Königin Olga von Württemberg (Queen Olga of Württemberg), but at the saltlake Lake Amadeus the expedition stopped. Horses were unsuitable for discovery. One year later with the help of camels he reached the holy place of Uluru. But he was not the very first one. The Englishman William Gosse were there first with Kamran the camel driver. He was the first White who climbed the Uluru to name the mountain "Ayers Rock" after Sir Henry Ayer, minister of South Australia. The testimonies of Gosse and Giles concur that say: "This is a improbable mountain. It climbes out of the plain. I saw a wonderful game of nature!“ The indigenous people described them as friendly and peacful men. Surely they were. Because the Aborigines account the "paleface" returned ghosts of died people that have to go later and leave the area. The indigenous people think that the world will not change in future.

Open bible 01 01.svg  Quote - Dieter Tischendorf, 2007 (Original in German)

1873 beendete Ernest Giles die scheinbare Unerreichbarkeit dieses Gebietes. Noch bei seinem ersten Versuch scheiterte er an der Natur. Zwar benannten er und Baron von Müller, ein deutscher Botaniker, den Mount Olga („ein hohes und abrupt endendes Gebirge“) nach der Königin Olga von Württemberg, aber am Lake Amadeus, einem Salzsee, stoppte die Expedition. Die Pferde waren ungeeignet für ein weiteres Vorwärtskommen. Ein Jahr später, jetzt mit Kamelen, erreichte er den heiligen Berg Uluru. Aber da war schon einer vor ihm da gewesen. Der Engländer William Gosse kam mit seinem Kameltreiber Kamran durch. Er war der erste Weiße, der auf den Uluru kletterte und den Berg zu Ehren des Sir Henry Ayer, Leitender Ministers von Süd Australien, Ayers Rock nannte. Die Aussagen von Gosse und Giles stimmen überein, wenn sie sagen „Das ist ein unwahrscheinlicher Berg. Er erhebt sich nahtlos aus der Ebene. Ich habe ein wunderbares Naturschauspiel gesehen!“ Die Ureinwohner beschrieben sie als freundliche und friedliche Menschen. Waren sie auch. Denn die Aborigines hielten die „Bleichgesichter“ für zurückgekehrte Geister Verstorbener, die auch wieder gehen würden. Für sie war ihre Welt schon immer so und würde auch immer so bleiben.

600 million years ago the country was flooded by the ocean. Sediments on the seafloor were compressed in the course of the time and a thick rock-layer out of Arkose-Sandstone was finally created. This layer was tilted on the basis of faults. The originally horizontally layer was pressed in parts vertically upwards. Because of the effects of weathering and erosion the upper part was exposed. This is the visible part, that is called Ayers Rock. The biggest part is still in the ground, however. This part is invisible for us. This could be compared with at iceberg that only shows the top of it. The high fe-content causes the ginger coloring of the rock.

Parking place for viewing the sunset
Faults in the formation of Ayers Rock and Mount Olga. The connection of Ayers Rock and Mount Olga below the surface is not confirmed up now.

Some data:

  • Length: 3.600 meters
  • Width: 2.400 meters
  • Scope: 9.000 meters
  • Height
    • 348 meters of above the ground level
    • 867 meters of above NN
  • Ages: 600 million years

During the day the rocks constantly changes its color. That is only possible because the Ayers Rock is free of any vegetation and the sun can effect the rocks directly.

The colors of the mountain:

  • Sunrise: light-red
  • gray
  • purple
  • orange
  • talk
  • Sunset: dark-red

Uluru - the sanctuary of the natives

Sunset and moonrise
Mount Conner (old: Mount Connor)

Uluru is the most important place in the culture of the natives. It is about one of the biggest Djang-Place (Djang = the energy stored in a sacred place to the continuation of the dreamtime). The place is an oasis in the desert with water-places and caves. In the dreamtime, during the rainy season two boys played in the bog and built the island-mountain. After the completion they walked southward to the Musgrave Range in order to hunt and eat a kangaroo. Later went back to Mount Connor northward. Now you can see the bodies of the two boys as boulders.

Uluru is the habitation of the rainbow-snake. It represents the ultimate deity of the natives. The rainbow-snake is the god of life. It is praised as the good by the natives. (This is in contrast to many other religion, in which the snake's embodies the evil.)

Ayers Rock / Uluru - Travel destination


Light-games during the sunrise
Road map of the center
Ayers Rock Resort

The rock, that attracts many nations and races and is the biggest sanctuary of the Aborigines, shows a growing popularity in the course of the times. The nearby located airport grasps 5.000 tourists per day, who can live in the luxury hotels. Thanks to the modern technology everything is possible. But there are problems, too:

The social collision of the Aborigines and the tourists should not be underestimated. If you want to climb the Ayers Rock via the footpath (named "The Climb"), you "tramples around" on sacred ground of the natives! The Rock is very interesting and beautiful to climb to enjoy the performance of Nature, but this is a kind of "Desecration." A comparable situation are Aborigines jumping in a church on the altar.

A lot of sacred places on and around the Ayers Rock are closed for tourists. Please note this rules! This areas are intended and reserved exclusively for the Aborigines. If you nevertheless want to step into this areas, you can get a permit. Please respect the interests of the natives!

Furthermore tourists should keep in mind if you want to contact Aborigines, that only women speak to the women and only men to the men! There could be difficulties otherwise because of misunderstandings.

After the Striptease (Text only available in German!) of Alizee Sery at the top of the Uluru, there are new discussions to close the holy rock for climbers.

See also

  • Sources about the translation of Uluru
    • Translation as shadow place:
      • Article of Ditido in our forum: Back in the Red Center (Text only available in German!)
      • Travel Guide - - Australien, 3. Auflage, Brigitte Fugger und Wolfgang Bittmann, 1994, ISBN 405-14732-8 (Text only available in German!)
    • Translation as place of ancestors :
      • German Wikipedia: Uluru (Text only available in German!)
    • No translation:
      • English Wikipedia: Uluru
  • Dreamtime Stories
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