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British Travellers and the Invisibility of Australia’s Past, 1868–1910

  • Richard White
Part of the Britain and the World book series (BAW)

Abstract

British travellers have visited Australia in many guises: as writers, tourists, investors and migrants, convicts, cricketers, gaolers and governors, ‘new chums’, ‘remittance men’ and ‘pommie bastards’, all part of the flow of people, ideas and information to which a new transnational imperial history has been directing attention.1 But whatever the guise, their visits were framed within a complex cultural relationship in which Britain was the ‘Old Country’ and Australia the new. It would take some time before Australians began to see Australia as old, to think of their past as an object of the tourist gaze and to learn how to be nostalgic about their own history. 2 In that process, British travellers played a significant role, less in what they saw than in what they failed to see. Their regard or disregard for the Australian past shaped not only the development of tourism in Australia but also Australians’ broader understanding of their history. So let us begin with an American abroad.

Keywords

Tourist Attraction Popular Tourist Heritage Tourism Terra Nullius Australian History 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Among a host of works, see D. Lambert and A. Lester (eds.) (2006) Colonial Lives Across the British Empire: Imperial Careering in the Long Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press); G. Magee and A. Thompson (2010) Empire and Globalisation: Networks of People, Goods and Capital in the British World, c.1850–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press); D. Schreuder and S. Ward (eds.) (2008) Australia’s Empire (Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series), (Oxford: Oxford University Press); T. Richards (1993) The Imperial Archive: Knowledge and the Fantasy of Empire (London: Verso).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    This chapter is part of a larger project on Australian ‘history tourism’ supported by a Discovery Grant from the Australian Research Council (ARC). As well as the ARC I would like to thank Rose Cullen, Justine Greenwood, Philippa Macaskill and Toby Martin for research assistance. It also benefited from a Harold White Fellowship at the National Library of Australia in 2011.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., pp. 94, 103; Ann Standish (2008) has argued for a similar concern to identify Englishness among women travellers, who were similarly imperially minded: Australia Through Women’s Eyes (Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing).Google Scholar
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    T. Carlyle (1842) Chartism, 2nd edn. (London: Chapman and Hall), p. 5; see also T. Carlyle (1843) Past and Present (London: Chapman and Hall, 1843), p. 1, noting the presence of the past in his analysis.Google Scholar
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© Richard White 2013

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  • Richard White

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