Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park ranger Craig Woods reveals what it’s like working at Australia’s most famous natural landmark.
For Craig Woods, Uluru is home. Craig is Anangu – and Anangu are the traditional owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
“About 15 years ago I was coming out of school and wanted to do some casual work,” Craig says. “There was a program called Mutitjulu Community Rangers. I wanted to try something new and see where it took me.”
Where it took him was a journey that would bring him into contact with former US President Bill Clinton, the Dalai Lama, and a host of sports stars and celebrities.
It also gives him the chance to be involved in programs that brought native animals back to Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park.
“In 2005 we released one of our endangered species – the mala (a small rufous hare-wallaby),” Craig says. “To be there at that time when it was released, starting from 25 animals back then and now there is close to 300 animals. That was a proud moment for us.”
Raised in the community of Mutitjulu at the base of the rock, he can speak five languages – Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara, Ngaanyatjarra, Luritja and English. He uses these language skills and his ranger training to take care of the cultural and natural values of the park. In particular his role is to conserve Tjukurpa. Tjurkupa is the foundation of Anangu life, society and knowledge.
“A lot of people in the community get to see me do my job,” he says. “Being able to set an example for the next generation and teach them about it is one of the greatest things about my role.
“The thing I love about my job is working from home. To come from the community and be able to work in your own backyard and look after one of the natural icons of the world is very special.”