Uluru -- Kata Tjuta National Park (1987, 1994)
Australia

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Australia 2005. World Cultural Heritage. Uluru -- Kata Tjuta National Park (Ayers Rock) Australia.

This park, formerly called Uluru (Ayers Rock Mount Olga) National Park, features spectacular geological formations that dominate the vast red sandy plain of central Australia. 

Uluru, an immense monolith, and Kata Tjuta, the rock domes located west of Uluru, form part of the traditional belief system of one of the oldest human societies in the world. 

The traditional owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta are the Anangu Aboriginal people.

Kata Tjuta National Park is located approximately 280 miles (450km) southwest of Alice Springs. Ayers Rock/Uluru is the world's largest monolith as well as an Aboriginal sacred site, and is Australia's most famous natural landmark. Also in this enormous park are many Aboriginal sacred sites, spectacular scenery and famous rock formations, that produce an incredible light show at sunset, with crimsons turning to rusts, and pinks to mauves, making heaven and earth explode into virtual flames. 

Ayers Rock was named by explorer William Gosse who visited there in July, 1873, and named it after Henry Ayers, then Governor of South Australia, 

Australia 1993. World Cultural Heritage. Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia. UNESCO (Paris) 1996. World Cultural Heritage. Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, Australia. United Nations (New York) 1992. World Cultural Heritage. Uluru and Jount Olga National Parks, Australia.

Approximately 500 million years ago it was part of the ocean floor at the center of Australia. Some believe that there is a light source emanating at various times of the year. The Aborigines believe that there is hollow below ground, and that there is an energy source that they call 'Tjukurpa' [the 'dream time']. 
 
The term Tjukurpa is also used to refer to the record of all activities of a particular ancestral being from the very beginning of his or her travels to their end. Anangu know that the area around Ayers Rock (Mount Uluru) is inhabited by dozens of ancestral beings whose activities are recorded at many separate sites. 

At each site, the events that took place can be recounted, whether those events were of significance or whether the ancestral being just rested at a certain place before going on.

United Nations (Geneva) 1999. World Cultural Heritage. Uluru National Park, Australia.

Usually, there is a physical feature of some form at each ancestral site which represents both the activities of the ancestral being at the time of its formation and the living presence of Tjukurpa within that physical feature today. For the Australian Aboriginal people, that physical feature, whatever its form or appearance, animate or inanimate, is the Tjukurpa. It may be a rock, a sand hill, a grove of trees, a cave. For all of these, the creative essence remains forever within the physical form or appearance. 

 

The main city in the area is Alice Springs, featured in the excellent novel by the British author Nevil Shute "A Town Like Alice" (also known as "The Legacy"), telling of a young woman who miraculously survived a Japanese "death march" in World War II, and of an Australian soldier, also a prisoner of war, who offered to help her, even at the cost of his life. 

Sources and links: 

 

Other World Heritage Sites in Australia (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Australia-section, for further information about such sites. 

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Revised 01 jul 2007  
Copyright 1999 Heindorfhus 
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