Full text: New perspectives to save cultural heritage

C. L. Ogleby 1 G. MacLaren 2 M. Starkey 3 
'Department of Geomatics, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010, Australia, clogleby@unimelb.edu.au 
Environmental Systems Solutions, 9 Pearl Street, West Essendon, 3040, Australia, glen_maclaren@essolutions.com.au 
3 Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, PO Box 119, Yulara 0872, NT, Australia. Mick.Starkey@ea.gov.au 
KEYWORDS: Conservation Project Management, Photographic Recording and Documentation; Cultural Landscapes Conservation, 
Management, Multimedia, Software 
The monolith known as Uluru, also called Ayer’s Rock, is one of the most recognised icons of the Australian landscape. It is located 
almost at the dead centre of the Australian continent, within the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, and within the country of the 
Anangu people. The land around Uluru and Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) was ceded to the Anangu people in 1985, and leased back to the 
Australian Government to be managed jointly as a National Park using the principles of tjukurpa (traditional law and morals) as the 
basis of the management decisions. The Plan of Management for the Park recognises this approach to joint management, and also 
requires that the rock painting and pecking sites located around the rock be documented and conserved as they contribute greatly to 
the social and cultural landscape. 
Following a photogrammetric survey of over 80 rock art sites it was decided to develop a site management system to hold all of the 
documentation of the sites (in a digital form). This system was developed through extensive consultation with the senior men and 
women in the Mutitjulu community, and it was during this consultation that the project was extended to contain other material 
important to the custodians. 
The Cultural Site Management System is capable of dealing with digitised site plans, photographs, report forms, works forms, and 
digital audio and video. It is a protected system, developed so that only people authorised to view certain images are given access, 
with the facility to restrict images depending on circumstances. It has also been developed to be used by the community, with 
extensive use of graphical user interfaces in order to simplify operation. 
This paper will report on the development of the system, and progress and acceptance of the system to date. 
1.1 Background 
Uluru is perhaps one of the most readily recognised features of 
the Australian landscape, along with the Sydney Harbour 
Bridge and perhaps Ned Kelly’s Helmet it is also one of the 
important icons of Australia. The World’s largest monolith, 
Uluru rises some 340m from the surrounding plains creating a 
dominant presence in the landscape. The importance of the 
’Rock’ to humankind is reflected in the declaration of the Park 
as a World Heritage Site (1987, Natural/Cultural) and as a 
Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO Man and Bioshpere 
programme. The Rock is home to a very wide biodiversity of 
plants and animals, and is visited by over half a million people 
each year. 
The Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park was established originally 
under the Northern Territory Government as a Park in 1958. A 
more significant event however was the granting of inalienable 
freehold title to the lands of the Park to the Anangu people in 
1985 (The Anangu are the traditional owners of the county 
around Uluru and Kata Tjuta, the languages they speak are 
Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara and the name of the township 
is Mutitjulu). The lands were then leased back to the Australian 
Government as a jointly managed National Park. Joint 
Management means that the Anangu are represented on the 
Board of Management of the Park, and that all management 
decisions are governed by tjukurpa. 
1.2 Tjukurpa 
Tjukurpa is perhaps best described as the Anangu legal, moral 
and religious code that governs the relationships between 
people, animals, plants and the landscape (or perhaps the 
‘proper’way of doing things). The Plan of Management for the 
Park expresses the basis of tjukurpa as the guiding principles for 
its operation, and all decisions are taken with the cooperation of 
the Anangu people and respect for the Anangu way. (All work 
undertaken as part of the research presented in this paper, and 
all the researchers working on the project, are governed by 
An understanding of the fundamentals of tjukurpa is beneficial 
in understanding the development of the information system 
discussed in this paper. The definition presented here is 
superficial, but will suffice in this instance. 
Figure 1: Uluru at Sunset, photograph Cliff Ogleby

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