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Uluru (Ayers Rock) (21 December 2010)
contributed by DerrickJessop
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My first visit to the then 'Ayers Rock' was in 1978. The road in had been improved and tourist buses were the favoured means of travel. To see the rock rising from the plain in the distance was amazing, as it must have been also to William Gosse, who having left Alice Springs in April 1873 to cross the continent to Perth and enduring weeks of slogging across the waterless plan saw the monolith rising in the distance and more importantly finding water at its base.
Gosse named the rock Ayers Rock, not after the explorer John Ayers but Sir Henry Ayers, former Premier of South Australia. He was also the first white man to climb the rock, and may even have been the first man to do so as the Aborigines regarded the rock as sacred.
On my visit there was no restriction to climbing the rock and it was a very popular thing to do, despite the danger of sliding off if one strayed from the narrow marked path or left the single link chain that was necessary to negotiate the steep sections.
On my next visit in 1989 I was able to explore the Eastern end of the rock that extends far beyond the register cairn. Here the surface of the rock is very different. It is rough, with scattered rocks and boulders and deep crevasses in which shrubs and bushes grow.
I climbed just before dawn and saw the rising sun tip the Olgas (Kata Tjuta) in the distrance, and the plains take on the impression of an endless sea. As thesun rose the whole tenor of the landscape changed and the rock took on its typical burnished red glow.
It was a sobering thought that this marvelous change take place every morning and has done for millenia.
This story was uploaded into the Bonzle Digital Atlas of Australia entry for the Mountain or Hill 'Uluru / Ayers Rock'.
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