A 20-metre-tall Christian cross atop a remote mountain in central Australia has officially opened as a tourist attraction, with locals hoping it could soon join the bucket list of must-see locations to visit. Source: Catholic Leader.
The lights on the huge steel monument were turned on for the first time on Good Friday evening.
First proposed in 2009 with the backing of the nearby indigenous desert communities of the western MacDonnell Ranges, the giant cross sits atop Memory Mountain located near Haasts Bluff, 230km west of Alice Springs.
Local elder Douglas Multa said the vision for the project originated from his uncle, Nebo Jugadai, one night at an Easter celebration at the base of the mountain — a site of historical and cultural significance for the Haasts Bluff community and the nearby communities of Papunya, Mt Liebig and Kintore.
Local elders shared their vision with renowned landscape photographer Ken Duncan, in the hope that he could help realise the cross as both a symbol of hope and a potential world class tourism destination.
Mr Duncan saw opportunities for meaningful Indigenous employment that would create long-term financial sustainability for the local communities. His Walk A While Foundation has supported local jobs and initiatives, including helping with fundraising and logistics for the ambitious display of Christian faith.
Through tourism, Mr Multa hopes the project will help create a prosperous future for locals.
“It’s important because we have been struggling for many years to get job opportunities for the young people, so that cross is going to bring lots of jobs,” he told the ABC.
“The way I see it, the young people have nothing, they are just bored, but with the cross, there is help and a future for them.”
It will take visitors about 30-40 minutes to trek to the summit of Memory Mountain – a climb of about 950 metres. From the top there are spectacular sunrise and sunset views across the desert.
Giant desert cross a symbol of hope (By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader)