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Northern Territory
Mutitjulu Waterhole.jpg
Mutitjulu is located in Northern Territory
Coordinates25°21′03″S 131°03′59″E / 25.35083°S 131.06639°E / -25.35083; 131.06639Coordinates: 25°21′03″S 131°03′59″E / 25.35083°S 131.06639°E / -25.35083; 131.06639
Population296 (2011 census)[1]
Elevation523 m (1,716 ft)
LGA(s)MacDonnell Shire
Territory electorate(s)Namatjira[3]
Federal Division(s)Lingiari[4]
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
38.5 °C
101 °F
4.7 °C
40 °F
217 mm
8.5 in

Mutitjulu is an Indigenous Australian community in the Northern Territory of Australia located at the eastern end of Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock). It is named after a knee-shaped water-filled rock hole at the base of Uluru, and is located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Its people are traditional owners and joint managers of the park with Parks Australia. At the 2011 census, Mutitjulu had a population of 296, of which 218 (71.2%) were Aboriginal.[1]

The majority of the Anangu (people) are Pitjantjatjara but there are also associated Yankunytjatjara, Luritja and Ngaanyatjarra people with the languages spoken being Pitjantjatjara, Luritja and Yankunytjatjara. Arrernte people also have a traditional relationship with Uluru.


Mutitjulu community run a number of guided tours for tourists visiting Uluru, who show tourists certain sites, and share Tjukurpa the story of Uluru, as well as of its inhabitants. These tours are called Anangu Tours, from the Pitjantjatjara word Anangu which means "people".

Access to the community is controlled by Anangu, who do not allow visitors to go to Mutitjulu community without permission. The community reserves the right to forbid visitors from entering their land.

The people of Mutitjulu are also the traditional owners of Uluru, and have an art exhibition there where they sell paintings and other artefacts.


Much of the economy of Mutitjulu comes from tourism at Uluru and nearby Yulara, a small proportion of which is funnelled back to the local economy. Despite this, Mutitjulu is not wealthier than most other Indigenous Australian communities.[citation needed]


The community has a school which services students from Year 1 to Year 7, and a high school, Nyangatjatjara College. The cultural traditions of Mutitjulu dictate that once reaching adolescence, children must be taught only with peers of the same sex. Nyangatjatjara College is a boarding school, and hosts the young men and young women of the community separately in consecutive semesters.[citation needed]

As with housing and health, Anglo-European education standards at Mutitjulu, are far lower than the Australian average.[citation needed]


Languages spoken are Pitjantjatjara, Luritja and Yankunytjatjara. Communication between the languages, however, is not difficult as most residents speak several languages and these Aboriginal languages are closely related, all being mutually intelligibly varieties of the Western Desert Language.

Efforts are made to preserve traditional customs, including traditional languages, but some English is spoken by most residents. The level of English literacy by Mutitjulu residents is higher than in many Indigenous Australian communities primarily due to the regular exposure to tourists at Uluru.[citation needed]

Relationship to Uluru[edit]

Many stories have been told by Indigenous Australians from all around Central Australia about Uluru. Some of these stories are recreated in paintings and artwork, and many relate to the dreamtime. Uluru is seen as having an explanation for why we are humans, and the stories help to describe much of the surrounding flora and fauna.[citation needed]

Climbing of Uluru[edit]

The local indigenous community from 1990 requested that visitors respect the sacred status of Uluru by not climbing the rock, with signs posted to this effect in late 1989.

In 2017 the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park board decided unanimously to ban the activity, from October 26, 2019.[5]

Ownership of Uluru[edit]

The Anangu consider themselves caretakers rather than owners of Uluru. For many years, Uluru was controlled by non-Aboriginal Australians, with motels placed close by. Traditional owners who had been forced out of the national park returned and settled at Mutitjulu, and worked towards restoring their land rights. Tourist facilities have been moved about 24 km north to Yulara, just outside the national park boundary.

Title handback[edit]

Title to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park was returned to the traditional owners on 26 October, 1985.[6][7]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Mutitjulu (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 17 September 2012. Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "Yulara Postcode". Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Division of Namatjira". Northern Territory Electoral Commission. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  4. ^ "Federal electoral division of Lingiari". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 16 June 2019.
  5. ^ Georgia Hitch and Nick Hose (2 November 2017). "Uluru climbs banned from October 2019 after unanimous board decision to 'close the playground'". ABC News.
  6. ^ Toyne, Phillip; Vachon, Daniel (1984). Growing Up the Country: the Pitjantjatjara Struggle for Their Land. Fitzroy, Victoria: McPhee Gribble. p. 137. ISBN 0-14-007641-7. OCLC 12611425.
  7. ^ "On this day: Aboriginal Australians get Uluru back". Australian Geographic Society. 26 October 2010.

Further reading[edit]