Heritage Tourism on Australia's Asian Shore: a Case Study of Pearl Luggers, Broome
journal contributionposted on 08.06.2017, 03:18 by Frost, Warwick
This paper examines presentations of Australia's non-European history at heritage tourist attractions. It focuses on Pearl Luggers, a tourist attraction which presents the history of pearling (diving for pearls) in Broome, Western Australia. The experiences provided for visitors at Pearl Luggers contrast the dark side of the early history of pearling (high death rates, the forced labour of Aborigines, use of Asian indentured workers for dangerous jobs and racist immigration policies) with the glamour and attractiveness of pearls and Broome as a tropical resort town. This paper uses the example of Pearl Luggers to consider how issues such as the treatment of Aborigines and the restrictions on Asian immigration which comprised the White Australia Policy are treated in interpretation at heritage tourism attractions in Australia. A number of studies have identified a strong tendency for Australian heritage attractions to ignore these issues, instead presenting a Eurocentric view of Australia's history and there are strong fears that growing tourism will whitewash Broome's distinct multicultural heritage. In contrast, there is now a growing trend for some attractions to take a broader perspective of Australia's history and culture.