Come along to our next General Meeting – this Saturday 17 May from 2pm.
From Port Arthur to the Dog on the Tuckerbox, from explorers’ trees to bushrangers’ graves, from stately homes to theme parks, historic tourism is a great Australian tradition.
But popular tourism’s fascination for the lurid, the macabre and the sensational has often undermined more respectable perspectives on Australia’s past.
While governments were prepared to celebrate explorers, pioneers and political figures, the past that tourists persisted in seeking out was a more disreputable one - they were less interested in being inspired than in being entertained - and in catering for more vulgar tastes, tourist operators and ordinary tourists themselves wrote their own versions of Australia’s past.
Richard White will talk about the beginnings of ‘historic’ tourism in Australia from the late nineteenth century and why we are so attracted to our more notorious historic figures - convicts, bushrangers and rebellious diggers. We’ll take a look at the variety of pasts that tourists visited, the exhibits that drew them in and the souvenirs they took away.
Richard White is Associate Professor at the University of Sydney, where he has taught Australian history and the history of travel and tourism since 1989. His publications include Inventing Australia, The Oxford Book of Australian Travel Writing, On Holidays: A History of Getting Away in Australia and Symbols of Australia. His latest book, co-edited with Caroline Ford, is Playing in the Bush: recreation and national parks in New South Wales, published by Sydney University Press in 2012. His current ARC Discovery project explores the history of tourism to the past in Australia. This research was the basis of an exhibition at the Macleay Museum [until 15 February 2014]. Other current research includes work on the history of Australian tourism to Britain and a history of the Cooee.
Visitors are welcome and afternoon tea will be served after the talk.
Admission is free.
The meeting will be held in the library meeting room between Gordon Library and the KHS research rooms.