• 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.

    circumference Noun

    distance around the outside of a circle.

    desert Noun

    area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year.

    Encyclopedic Entry: desert
    enormous Adjective

    very large.

    government Noun

    system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.

    indigenous Adjective

    native to or characteristic of a specific place.

    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.

    sandstone Noun

    rock formed by grains of sand.

    significant Adjective

    important or impressive.

    Uluru Noun

    large sandstone rock formation in central Australia. Also called Ayers Rock.

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