Title: Intersecting journeys of past and present in the 'bush': unsettling coevalness in the tourist space of indigenous Australia

Authors: Anke Tonnaer

Addresses: Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, Radboud University, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Abstract: In Australia there is a persistent stereotypical image on which many touristic cultural experiences rely that entwines Aboriginal people, as members of 'one of the oldest living cultures in the world', into a timeless, 'untouched' wild country. In this paper I discuss a recurring event drawn from my fieldwork in North Australia in which this tourism imaginary is, even if quietly, challenged. I describe the practice of one Aboriginal tour guide who, through sharing his personal story at the remnants of a pastoralist stone oven, revealed the multiple layers of colonial history that underlay the tourism encounter in the seemingly wild 'bush'. Through his narrative memory of loss and hurt, tourists not only realised that they were morally implicated in the heritage of colonisation and appropriation, in so doing they also, even if temporarily, experienced the actual presence of coevalness.

Keywords: indigenous Australia; tourism imaginary; cultural heritage; colonisation; post-colonial society; memory; coevalness; landscape; indigeneity; indigenous peoples; the Bush; stereotypical images; stereotypes; Aborigines; Aboriginal tour guides; colonial history; tourist encounters; narrative memory; loss; hurt; moral implications.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTA.2016.081784

International Journal of Tourism Anthropology, 2016 Vol.5 No.3/4, pp.172 - 186

Available online: 20 Jan 2017 *

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