Commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Uluru handback 26 October 1985 - 2015

On Monday 26 October 2015 we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the handback of Uluru to the Anangu traditional owners. The 1985 handback was one of the most historic and important moments for Indigenous land rights in Australia. It also paved the way for the lease agreement which now sees Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park managed jointly by Anangu and the Director of National Parks

As the oldest continuing culture on the planet, the living culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is intrinsically linked with sacred places. This year’s National NAIDOC theme ‘We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate’ was specifically chosen to highlight the Handback anniversary of these sacred sites to the Anangu traditional owners.

After more than 35 years of campaigning to be recognised as the park’s traditional owners, on 26 October 1985, Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen, passed the title deeds of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to Anangu. On the same day, Anangu signed a 99-year lease with the Director of National Parks to manage the Park for conservation and for all Australians.

Today, Tjukurpa – the foundation of Anangu life and society, is at the centre of the park’s management. The park is led by a Board made up of members from Mutitjulu and nearby communities, making decisions about what happens to this country.

To mark this significant anniversary, a three day festival is being planned to celebrate the handback anniversary and the achievements of the last 30 years and to promote the park growing focus on Aboriginal business development, particularly in cultural tourism. Today the park attracts around 300,000 visitors per year from all over the world

The Park is one of the few places in the world to be dual-listed by the United National Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for outstanding natural and cultural values. The dual listing recognises Anangu people as the true owners of the land.

The anniversary celebrations for the Handback will attract Anangu people from all over the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, as they come together to celebrate keeping land and culture strong. Traditional owners can now live on their land and teach their children and grandchildren as they were taught.

To learn more about the handback of Uluru visit the Parks website at