On October 26, 1985, the Australian government returned ownership of Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, to the Pitjantjatjara, Aboriginal Australians who traditionally lived in the area. The return of Uluru to the Pitjantjatjara was a significant acknowledgement of the rights of indigenous people. Conditions of the “handback” allowed the Aborigines to lease Uluru to the national park service, and jointly manage the area with the government.
Uluru is one of the most famous natural sites in Australia. The enormous red sandstone formation is an “island mountain,” jutting more than 860 meters (2,822 feet) out of the surrounding desert, and measuring 9.4 kilometers (5.8 miles) in circumference. Aborigines have many legends about the origins of Uluru. In one legend, the rock is a pile of mud left by two giant boys playing in the dirt after a rain.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry Aboriginal Australian Noun
people and culture native to Australia and its surrounding islands. Also called Aborigine.
distance around the outside of a circle.
area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year.
Encyclopedic Entry: desert enormous Adjective
system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.
characteristic to or of a specific place.
Encyclopedic Entry: indigenous lease Verb
to rent, or buy for use during a specific time period.
national park Noun
geographic area protected by the national government of a country.
common sedimentary rock formed by grains of sand compacted or cemented with material such as clay.
important or impressive.
large sandstone rock formation in central Australia. Also called Ayers Rock.