Tourism as theatre: Performing and consuming indigeneity in an Australian wildlife sanctuary

David Picard, Celmara Pocock, David Trigger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the social and cultural production of indigeneity in a wildlife sanctuary on the Australian Gold Coast. We note that the human and animal characters that form the displays of the sanctuary work towards the assemblage of a largely consistent underlying theme. The latter reproduces commensurability between two main figures associated with Australian settler history, namely the country's pre-colonial indigenous species of animals and plants and the human Aboriginal population. We argue that the theatre produced in the park's highly sanitized visitor contact zone has wider social and political ramifications for Australian society and modern society in general. By ceremonially re-enacting the historical myth of separation between modern civilization and primordial indigeneity, through a tourist enterprise, the sanctuary produces ambivalent meanings about the relation between 'nativeness' in nature and society. Our analysis addresses the simultaneous emancipation of contemporary human indigeneity as a revitalized cultural value together with the social distancing of Aboriginal people as one-dimensional caricatures of primordial nature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-223
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Tourism and Cultural Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Tourism as theatre: Performing and consuming indigeneity in an Australian wildlife sanctuary'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this