‘the time has come to say fair’s fair
to pay the rent, to pay our share
the time has come, a fact’s a fact
it belongs to them, let’s give it back’
lyrics – midnight oil, beds are burning
As at 16:00 on Friday, 25 October 2019 the right of the public to clamber over this place came to an end in recognition of the reverence in which it is held by the indigenous people of Anangu.
Australia retains a firm hold on a part of me, her spirit locked down tight, forever, deep inside.
It is impossible to be indifferent concerning this continent of colour, contrast and contradiction. Much of this beautiful, desolate land remains unexplored by many who live there.
Perhaps one of the last places on earth that holds tight some of its oldest stories.
As a Deputy Secretary in the Australian Government, I was privileged to travel across this wide brown land, exploring places almost as far away from our urban environment as it is possible to be.
Maybe I will write more about that.
Uluru is not a rock.
It is an irrepressible force of nature.
A powerful psychic force that ensnares you from the moment you first see it whether from the air or up close and personal. There is a visceral thrumming in the air. A song from the past that captures your mind, your body, your soul.
Away from the inevitable tourist traps there is no sound. Only the whispers of the ancestors.
I am happy that this place has been given back to those whispering souls.
There are too few places left in the world that move us and re-connect us to our roots, to the essence of our humanity.
Imagine also, how much a boy from the Rossendale valley felt blessed when sharing a flight and snatched conversation with Peter Garret, lead singer with Midnight Oil, and then Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts.
How do we sleep when our beds are burning?
It starts by smelling the smoke and doing something about it.
Images made in November 2009 with Nikon D70 and Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX lens