On 26 October 1985, custodianship of Uluru and neighbouring Kata Tjuta was returned to its Anangu traditional owners. The ceremony remains one of the most significant moments in the Aboriginal land-rights movement.
Sir Ninian Stephen, then Governor-General, acknowledged the importance of Uluru to indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. “Today we stand not merely in the centre of our continent but at its very heart. We stand beside what has become one of our national symbols, what original Australians know as Uluru, and what the rest of it think of as Ayers Rock,” he said.
The handover, described as “groundbreaking” by the director of the Central Land Council, David Ross, symbolised a growing awareness of Aboriginal traditional law and land ownership, later recognised in the 1993 Native Title Act.
25 years after the Hand Back Ceremony of Uluru to the Anangu People, a commemorative ceremony was held at Uluru which included dance, music and story.
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