About 300 people live in the remote Aboriginal community of Mutitjulu, the closest to Uluru, and visitors need a permit to enter the community.
But on Tuesday, a number of Mutitjulu’s residents will be firmly in the global spotlight as they meet two of Australia’s biggest guests to date: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
“They’re a long way removed from the royals… these people live and breathe their culture every day,” said Terry Brown, deputy principal of Mutitjulu’s Nyangatjatjara College.
It is an honour that the royal couple is travelling to such a remote part of Australia, she said.
“Your celebrity people stick to the east coast, so it’s nice they’re coming and they’ve made an effort to meet some of the locals, and the locals do appreciate that.”
Since Prince Charles and Princess Diana brought a baby William to visit Uluru in 1983, there have only been two other royal visits: by Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia in 2005, and by Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Crown Princess Maxima of the Netherlands in 2006.
William and Kate will present graduation certificates to students of the National Indigenous Training Academy before being welcomed to country at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre.
They will also do a base walk around Uluru, and hopefully will be able to experience the silence of the desert, said Karena Noble, spokeswoman for Voyages Indigenous Tourism.
“People often comment after a visit to Uluru that it’s the spiritual nature of the destination that touches them,” she said.
“The Australian desert has got a special aura and presence all of its own.”
The royal couple would have benefited from a visit to an indigenous community, said Harry Wilson, of the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation.
“That would have been a good thing, if they could see the other side of community life and see how people live these days,” he said.
“Should have opened their eyes up, I reckon.”