Exploring central Australia in 1873, William Gosse stubbed his toe on a half-buried gibber and cursed Sir Henry Ayers out loud for not cleaning up. So for a century hence Australians called their desert landmark “Ayer’s Rock” and, as men do boast, hailed it “the world’s biggest rock.”
Seventy years later white fellas finally figured how to make a buck off the thing and the early-Cambrian sandstone monolith entered a most unhappy period, hosting curious travellers trampling base flora to wear grooves up the sides in an Everest effort to confirm the desert looked just as flat from a few hundred feet above.
The traditional owners (as we call the people we stole Australia from, as if in full payment) regained control of the sacred site some decades past, and just a few days ago rallied enough votes to ban tourists from ever trampling upon, climbing up, falling off, slipping and rolling interminably down, becoming a human kite in unseemly zephyrs plying the surface of – and, especially, crapping upon and/or pissing down the gullies of – Uluru, the originally-named Ayer’s Rock.
Throsby suspects every Australian politician closeted a desire to see their face carved Rushmore-style upon the furrowed red arkose. And that the “traditional owners” seeing ever more crude and greedy pollies warming seats in the nation’s capital felt it a matter of urgency to get whitey off the prostrate obelisk for good.
After all, if a politicians image defaced Uluru’s delicate bulk, nothing could quell the compulsive urge of any red blooded voter to storm the sandstone slopes and endlessly stamp their Crosbys upon the offending visage.