From Bus Driver Dreaming to Tjukurpa the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre

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Jillian Walliss


Separated from the surrounding landscape by walls, wiltjas and fences, with strategically framed views back to the rock, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre offers opportunities for tourists to learn about Anangu understandings of place. Historically, this information has been conveyed through interpretations located in situ within the landscape of the national park or through the narrative of the organised tour. What then is the role of a museum space in a national park? Why go inside to understand what is outside?

To investigate these questions, this paper looks outside the discourses of museology and architecture, the orthodox methods for analysing the ‘typology’ of the cultural centre, and instead traces the development of the Centre within the spatial history of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This analysis offers an alternative reading, revealing the Centre as a place of mediation and control, strategically located between landscape and tourist and Anangu
and tourist. Further while the Centre fulfills a role in promoting Aboriginal culture, Anangu voices remain filtered through the display techniques of the museum. It is only through the introduction of Anangu tours that the museological driven interior is linked with the Tjurkapa of the exterior.

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How to Cite
Walliss, Jillian. 2024. “From Bus Driver Dreaming to Tjukurpa: The Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre”. idea journal 6 (1):161-72.
text-based research essay