Ayers Rock was named for the Premier of South Australia, Sir Henry
Ayers. It extends down over 3 and a half miles beneath the surface.
Approximately 500 million years ago it was part of the ocean floor at the center of Australia.
Some report that there is a light source emanating at various times of the year. Most likely this
can be explained scientifically.
The Aborigines believe that there it is hollow below ground, and that there is an energy source
that they call 'Tjukurpa' the dream time. The term Tjukurpa is also used to refer to the record of
all activities of a particular ancestral being from the very beginning of his or her travels to their
end. Anangu know that the area around Ayers Rock (Mount Uluru) is inhabited by dozens of ancestral
'beings' whose activities are recorded at many other sites. At each site, the events that took place
can be recounted, whether those events were of significance or whether the ancestral being just rested
at a certain place before going on.
Usually, there is a physical feature of some form at each ancestral site which represents both the
activities of the ancestral being at the time of its formation and the living presence of Tjukurpa
within that physical feature today. For the Australian Aboriginal people, that physical feature,
whatever its form or appearance, animate or inanimate, is the Tjukurpa. It may be a rock, a sand hill,
a grove of trees, a cave. For all of these, the creative essence remains forever within the physical
form or appearance.
Around Mount Uluru there are many examples of ancestral sites. The Anangu explanations of these
sites and of the formation of Mount Uluru itself derive from the Tjukurpa. Most of these explanations
are in the realm of secret information and are not disclosed to Piranypa, the non-Aborigines.
'The Dreaming' is not a creation myth, per se, but a myth of formation. The world existed, but was
featureless. Giant semi-human beings, resembling plants or animals, rose up from the plains where
they had been slumbering for countless ages.
These ancient heroes roamed the land aimlessly. As they wandered around, they carried out the tasks
that the present Aborigines do today including camping, making fires, digging for water, fighting
each other, and performing ceremonies. When the heroes became tired of doing these things, Dreamtime
came to an end.
Wherever the creators had been active, some form of natural feature now marks the place.
The creators made everything with which the aborigines are in daily contact and from which they
gain their living. The heroes also established laws that govern all aspects, both secular and sacred,
of the tribes.
Dreamtime was in the past, but it is the Aborigines present religion and culture. The saying,
'As it was done in the Dreamtime, so it must be done today,' dominates all aspects of aboriginal
behavior. Because of their beliefs in 'the dreaming,' ceremonies and rituals are held, stories are
told, pictures are drawn, and daily life is defined.
In order to understand the religion of the Aborigines, one must have a basic understanding of
the organization of the tribes. All men and women belong to small groups, called clans. Each clan
posses a distinct body of spiritual properties, or sacred sites.