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Why Google Removed An Australian Sacred Site From Street View

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Google has removed images that allowed people to virtually walk to the summit of Uluru, Australia on Street View. Parks Australia closed the site situated in Australia’s Northern Territory in 2019.


The site belongs to the indigenous Anangu people and the Australian government returned it to them in 1985. It is considered sacred and for that reason, they asked the Australian authorities to close it to visitors which they obliged.


User-generated images had allowed people to complete virtual walks to its summit and Parks Australia had requested that they be immediately removed. Google’s Street View shows a 360-degree image of different environments, including people’s own pictures. Google says it removed the images as soon as it got the request.

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Internationally, people know the Uluru as Ayers Rock and features in many traditional stories of the Anangu. A Parks Australia official told ABC News, “[we] alerted Google Australia to the user-generated images from the Uluru summit that have been posted on their mapping platform”.


Park Australia then requested, “[the content should] be immediately removed in accordance with the wishes of Anangu, Uluru’s traditional owners, and the national park’s film and photography guidelines”.


Google also responded by saying; “We understand Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is deeply sacred to the Anangu people. As soon as Parks Australia raised their concerns about this user contribution, we removed the imagery.”


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