Climbing Uluru and disrespect

Perhaps revelations over the last week regarding disrespectful shenanigans on top of Uluru will finally push the Federal govt to honour the promises it made in 1983 to stop people climbing the rock?

Football celebrity Sam Newman poses with a golf ball on top of Uluru, he appears poised to strike the ball with a golf clubSam Newman (surprise!) Just Doesn’t Get It:

“I didn’t hit a golf ball — I posed pretending I was hitting a golf ball,” Newman told Nine News.

“I was having a bit of fun 20 years ago. It was not meant to be disrespectful. [I] wouldn’t have done it if it was.”

Get that? Posing as if you were about to do something disrespectful but then not doing it makes it Totally OK. It’s not as if he got naked like the French woman, so lay off poor li’l Sammy.

Of course, newman was actually lying with what he said above about just pretending, going by the exchange he had on Melbourne Talk Radio that sparked this round of outrage. Does he think nobody checks these things?

Newman: “I … actually hit a golf ball off the top of it (Uluru) toward the Olgas.”

Price: “You didn’t. You did not.”

Newman: “I did so.”

Price: “It’s a traditional Aboriginal site, you’ve taken your one iron up there and hit a golf ball?”

Newman: “I wasn’t demeaning it. I was enjoying its beauty and what it represents. And I can enjoy its beauty and what it represents any way I like without being told by people.”

Price: “You shouldn’t be hitting golf balls off there. Did you get on to it?”

Newman: “It was a magnificent one iron. It carried about two-and-a-half miles.”

Price: “Oh gee, you’re going to get us in trouble. The traditional owners don’t want you on it.”

Newman: “People have been climbing up that rock until the traditional owners got on to the fact that there’s some mileage in … not letting people climb up it, Steven.”

Various indigenous football players have spoken up to tell Newman that Actually, It Is Not OK At All, but he has not responded to them. I wonder what all those folks who think Tamina Tahu should just have had a quiet word with Andrew Johns about his behaviour think of that?

As I’m sure some of you remember, lauredhel posted on this Uluru nonsense back in January, pointing out that there are no sanitation facilities on Uluru, nor rubbish bins, so the rock is strewn with rubbish, urine and faeces from the climbers.

It’s well past time for the wishes of the traditional owners to be respected. There’s plenty to do locally around Uluru to appreciate its majestic beauty without climbing it. Stop the climb.

Categories: ethics & philosophy, indigenous

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4 replies

  1. Exactly. For people looking to do something energetic – the walk around the base takes two hours. Plus there is no danger of falling off.

  2. 20 years ago we climbed Uluru.
    But never in a blue fit would antics of any sort akin to Newman’s have entered our head.
    Ignorant and unempathatic as we were then, totally disrespectful we were not.
    We hereby apologise for our previous white fella [male in particular] lack of understanding and empathy with the wishes of the custodians.
    We’ve been back since.
    And did not climb.
    A deliberate decision based on belated growth in awareness and understanding of and recognition as to the significance of the place to the locals.
    We were priveliged to be allowed to spend some time after dusk at Mutijulu Waterhole and for a totally atheistic person such as me it was a ‘spiritual’ experience of indescribable awe at the majesty of the place.
    As for Newman.
    Words fail me …again.

  3. Newman: “It was a magnificent one iron. It carried about two-and-a-half miles.”

    That picture is the best expression that I have ever seen of patriarchal arrogance – the whole world depicted as the playground of rich, white, able-bodied men. I mean, golf! Gah!

  4. I’m a local, I live on the same planet as everyone else. 100 meters up the road there is a group of people that don’t want a mobile telephone mast erected. I’d have it but apparently I don’t live in a good spot for a mast.
    Sounds like you’ve got some people that don’t want a big rock to get climbed. It’s just a rock. Nothing more. Climb it. Play golf on it. Put a McDonalds on it.
    Perhaps God will talk to me and tell me that the planet is all mine. If so, please leave. I’ve got it all to myself. Your continued presence is disrespectful to me. Only your death will placate me.

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