Roads, Tourism and Cultural History: On the Road in Australia
Author: Rosemary Kerr
Roads and road tourism loom large in the Australian imagination as distance and mobility have shaped the nation's history and culture, but roads are more than simply transport routes; they embody multiple layers of history, mythology and symbolism. Drawing on Australian travel writing, diaries and manuscripts, tourism literature, fiction, poetry and feature films, this book explores how Australians have experienced and imagined roads and road touring beyond urban settings: from Aboriginal 'songlines' to modern-day road trips. It also tells the stories of iconic roads, including the Birdsville Track, Stuart Highway and Great Ocean Road, and suggests alternative approaches to heritage and tourism interpretation of these important routes. The ongoing impact of the colonial past on Indigenous peoples and contemporary Australian society and culture – including representations of the road and road travel – is explored throughout the book. The volume offers a new way of thinking about roads and road tourism as important strands in a nation's cultural fabric.
A stunningly original exploration of Australian roads, real and imagined, zones where dreams and nightmares, love and hate, exhilaration and horror are intimately entangled. Rosemary Kerr takes us on a strange and magnificent journey across the Australian continent and deep into the hearts and minds of Australians.
Grace Karskens, University of New South Wales Sydney, Australia
Since the late nineteenth century Australians have defined both their individual character and national identity as resulting from their interaction with the Bush, a harsh natural environment marked by fire, flood and drought. This immaculately researched and tightly argued book complicates our understanding of how Australians have imagined the road, the rural environment and themselves. This is a bold and imaginative contribution to Australian cultural history.
Richard Waterhouse, Emeritus, University of Sydney, Australia
This book elevates the road network of Australia to one of global significance by uniting the road, culture and landscape of the continent in an engaging narrative that is sure to inspire a new look at the Outback road as both a physical and cultural legacy worthy of critical reflection.
Paul Daniel Marriott, Pennsylvania State University, USA
Rosemary Kerr is a professional historian and heritage consultant who has worked in the field for over 20 years. She is also a member of the Australia ICOMOS National Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes and Cultural Routes. Her research interests include Australian cultural history, cultural heritage, cultural routes, and the history of travel and tourism.
List of Abbreviations and Metric Conversions
Introduction: Imagining the Road
Chapter 1. Making Tracks
Chapter 2. The Call of the Open Road
Chapter 3. 'Discovering' Australia
Chapter 4. Travelling North
Chapter 5. 'Going Around': On the Road to Nowhere?
Chapter 6. Freedom on the Wallaby?
Chapter 7. What Goes on Tour….: Communities and Rituals of the Road
Chapter 8. Blood on the Bitumen: The Dark Side of the Road
Chapter 9. Politics and Protest on the Road
Chapter 10. Romancing the Road: Constructing Australian Icons
Are We There Yet? Conclusions on the Road