Notes on the Geography of Australia: Uluru/Ayers Rock: Photo 28
Edna Bradley, who spent a year as a waitress here in 1958, wrote that she was told that "Eddie Connellan is going to start flying tours out here. He could only fly over before, but now he's got permission to land and pretty soon he'll have his own Chalet...."
The pilot of the first plane proposed a toast: "To the future of aerial tourism. Then he looked around the room, "Ya know, this could be a goer." He sat down, nodded his head and said, "You know, we're really going for the international tourists for this.' 'Ya won't get that many,' said Malcolm [another Tuit employee], not a lot of tourists are interested in Central Australia.'" (Edna Bradley, A Rock to Remember, pp. 91-93.)
In 1960 Ansett-Pioneer took over the Tuit camp and renamed it the Red Sands Motel. The Boomerang Hotel started 18 months later, followed by the Inland Motel and the Uluru Motel. Red Sands was still in business in 1976, when 50,000 visitors arrived, but Australia's governor general in that year proclaimed the creation of a new village, Yulara, eight miles from the rock.
It took a few years before the first hotels opened, complete with shopping center and laid out in a curvilinear plan developed by Philip Cox and Associates. All the old hotels lost their leases, and their land reverted, along with the air strip, to what is now called Parks Australia. Ownership of the park land was transferred to the local indigenous peoples, who leased it back to the parks agency for 99 years. Ownership of the hotels has changed several times but settled in 2011 in the hands of the Indigenous Land Corporation. By 2015 the new airport, which opened in 1982, was handling over 300,000 passengers annually. Hotel reservations in the cool of winter are scarcer than marsupial eggs.
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