Who are the traditional owners of Uluru?
The Anangu (arn-ung-oo) people are the traditional owners of Uluru and its surrounding regions, living off and learning from the land for centuries. In fact, they've been here in Australia for over 60,000 years. With knowledge and tradition passed down from generation to generation, the Anangu people still act as guardians of the land, protecting it, cherishing it, and respecting it according to the ancient laws that make up their culture. While adapting to live in modern society today, the Aboriginal community of Uluru still hold various traditional ceremonies such as Welcome to Country's, as well as guided walks and Dreamtime storytelling to share the significance of this land with travellers who are keen to learn all about it.
Experience some of these cultural activities for yourself like on our Red Centre Explorer where you'll join a local Anangu guide on a walk to the breathtaking Mutitjulu Waterhole. While there, learn about what makes this site a sacred one and listen to stories of the extraordinary landscape and its connection to the community.
Why is Uluru so important?
While the fascinating rock formation known as Uluru is a much-beloved icon for all Australians, it's also a place of spiritual connection for the traditional owners of the land, the Anangu people. It is believed to have been formed by ancestral beings when they moved across the baren and scarce landscape as part of the Dreaming. Each fissure or cave in the sandstone of Uluru was said to have been created by the actions of these ancestral beings as a way to let the Anangu people know this was a sacred and special place. It is this idea of Tjukurpa (creation period) that ultimately guides the Aboriginal community's teachings, with stories, dances, and songs all supporting not only their belief systems and societal behaviours but also their very outlook on the world and life itself.
What is the Dreamtime story of Uluru?
The Dreaming story of how Uluru came to be created revolves around 10 ancestral beings, with each region of the rock formed by a different entity. The Anangu people believe that the north-western side of Uluru was created and molded by Mala, known as the hare-wallaby people by their actions and religious ceremonies. The southern side of the Uluru was formed by a battle between the Kunia (carpet snakes) and Liru (poisonous snakes) with each species leaving its mark on the rock. A different part of Uluru was formed by the Tjukurpa of Kuniya (sand python) who danced across the rock and left her eggs in a region nearby. Plenty of other Dreamtime creatures such as the Linga (sand-lizard), Tjinderi-tjinderiba (willy-wagtail woman) and her Yulanya (children), the Lunba (kingfisher woman), and the Kulpunya (spirit dingo) all had a hand in shaping the Uluru we know and love today.