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Uluru: dancing - and stripping - on solid rock

By Ross Barnett - posted Friday, 2 July 2010

The bureaucrats at Parks Australia must be breathing easier this week. Just when the spotlight should have turned on them over the grotesque waste of $21 million of taxpayer money on a viewing area at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park that is in the wrong spot to catch the sunrise, a young French woman saw fit to release to the media photographs and video footage of herself on top of the Rock as she “performed” a semi-strip down to a white bikini and cowboy boots.

On June 27th, less than a week after The Australian revealed that early morning visitors to this Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area were increasingly finding themselves staring at shadows on the south-east flank of Uluru, 25-year old Alizee Sery told the Sunday Territorian that she did her impromptu performance as a “tribute” to Aboriginal culture and to fulfil a lifelong dream.

“After such a hard climb, when you reach the top, the view and the magic of the place gives you an amazing feeling of peace and freedom,” she told reporter Daniel Bourchier.


“You want to sing, dance - and strip.”

Personally I have never felt the urge to disrobe after getting to the top of a mountain (or a rocky hill in the case of Uluru) and Sery’s demeanour in a taped interview with Bourchier suggested that she had arranged the whole exercise as a publicity stunt. But soon enough - as the Sunday Territorian predicted - the moral outrage over her “feat” began to fly thick and fast.

David Ross, the director of the Central Land Council, called Sery’s actions stupid and said that they were indicative of the attitude of the many people who ignored the traditional owners' request not to climb the Rock. He told ABC Radio that the Uluru climb should be closed and asked Prime Minister Julia Gillard to deport Sery. The call fell on deaf ears.

Alison Hunt, a traditional owner and member of the management board at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, was angry and disgusted as well.

"We try our best to share our land with many walks of life and coming here and doing that is just disrespect - it's not acceptable at all," she said.

The Northern Territory News - the Territorian’s sister publication - ran a Reader Comments section on its website and by Wednesday evening almost 380 comments had been logged. Similar comment overload was happening on other online message boards.


Many of the respondents berated Sery. “Outraged” from NSW (8.46 pm on Sunday) wondered how anyone could be that insensitive and suggested that “all nations on Earth should ban her from visiting them”.

Lynette Jones of Swan View, WA (7.37pm on Sunday) was equally offended and said that Sery should not be allowed back into the country once she had left. “She is disrespectful of the indigenous Aboriginal culture and all Australians,” she wrote.

But not all Australians were inclined to agree with Lynette.

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About the Author

Ross Barnett is a Sydney-based travel writer and photographer.

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