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Visitors rush to be the last to climb Australia's magestic Uluru

People line up to climb Uluru, the day before a permanent ban on climbing takes effect following a decades-long fight by indigenous people to close the trek
People line up to climb Uluru, the day before a permanent ban on climbing takes effect following a decades-long fight by indigenous people to close the trek REUTERS/Stefica Bikes

Hundreds of tourists on Friday became the last to scale Uluru – Australia’s famous sacred red rock – ahead of a permanent climbing ban.

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The walkway up the giant monolith, a Unesco world heritage site also known as Ayers Rock, was finally closed to the public just before sunset.

Uluru's indigenous custodians, the local Anangu Aboriginal people, have long asked visitors not to climb the rock, which is 348 metres high.

The decision to end climbing, made in 2017, was made out of respect for the Anangu, as well as for safety reasons.

Since the 1950s, dozens of people have died on the walk to the top of Uluru, where temperatures can reach 47C during the summer.

On Friday authorities closed the climb for two hours due to strong winds. Earlier in the week in had been suspended because of the heat.

Local Aboriginal dancers at Uluru.
Local Aboriginal dancers at Uluru. AAP/Lucy Hughes Jones/via REUTERS
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