'Blue lagoons and coconut palms': The creation of a tropical idyll in Australia
|Pocock, Celmara (Author) and Pocock C.
|Australian Journal of Anthropology
|16 (3), pp. 335-349
|Number of Pages
|Place of Publication
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
The Great Barrier Reef is regarded as an 'Australian icon'. It is an internationally recognised World Heritage site managed for its 'natural' values. However, it is a location where visitors rarely enjoy Australian landscapes. This paper contrasts the sensuous engagement of past visitors with contemporary tourist experiences. Analysis of historic and contemporary visual and written materials suggests that tourist landscapes of the Reef have been transformed significantly during the 20th century. In particular, experiences of Reef islands characterised by Australian bush have been displaced by those of a generic Pacific location. The coconut palm, as a symbol of earthly paradise, has played an important role in realising both an imagined landscape and the physical transformation of tourist locations. Whereas the tourism industry is often regarded as responsible for the promulgation of such generic images, this study suggests that they are the product of a shared imagination to which both the tourism industry and tourists subscribe.
|Great Barrier Reef; tourism; islands; coconut; sensuous
|ANZSRC Field of Research 2020
|350801. Impacts of tourism
|440107. Social and cultural anthropology
|430302. Australian history
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|University of Tasmania
|Institution of Origin
|University of Southern Queensland
|'Blue lagoons and coconut palms': The creation of a tropical idyll in Australia
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