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The immense rock formation of Uluru and rock domes of Kata Tjuta are remarkable geological and landform features set on a sand plain. They have special significance to the Anangu people as their Tjurkurpa (traditional law).

Uluru is a huge, rounded, red sandstone monolith 9.4 kilometres in circumference rising to over 340 metres above the plain. Rock art in the caves around its base are further evidence of the enduring cultural traditions of Anangu.

About 32 kilometres to the west of Uluru lie the 36 steep-sided domes of Kata Tjuta. The domes cover an area of 3500 hectares with Mount Olga, the highest feature, rising to a height of 500 metres. This area is sacred under Anangu men's law and, as such, detailed knowledge of it is restricted.

The first European to sight Uluru was the explorer William Gosse in 1873 who named it Ayers Rock. The year before, Ernest Giles had named Kata Tjuta the Olgas, after Queen Olga of Wertemberg.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in two stages, initially for its outstanding universal natural values in 1987 and then for its outstanding universal cultural values in 1994.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was one of 15 World Heritage places included in the National Heritage List on 21 May 2007.

Gallery

Click an image for a larger view.

Location

The park covers 1, 325 km 2 of arid ecosystems and is located close to the centre of Australia in the traditional lands of Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal people (locally known as Anangu).

Description of place

The huge rock formations of Uluru and Kata Tjuta are remarkable geological and landform features, set in a contrasting, relatively flat, sand-plain environment. They are a part of an important cultural landscape and have special significance to Anangu.

The features of Uluru, Kata Tjuta and the surrounding landscape are physical evidence of the actions, artefacts and bodies of the ancestral heroes (Tjukuritja) who travelled the earth in creation times. These heroic beings, who combined the attributes of humans and animals, journeyed across the landscape creating not only its features, but also Tjukurpa (the law) - the code of behaviour followed by Anangu today. Tjukurpa regulates all aspects of life, from foraging behaviour and management of the landscape to social relationships and personal identity. It is expressed in verbal narratives, through lengthy inma (song cycles and associated ritual), art and the landscape itself. For Anangu the landscape is the narratives, songs and art of Tjukurpa.



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