Touring the past:
Tourism and History in Australia

Souvenir copper, photograph © Tim Harland

How did the Australian past become an object of the tourist gaze? For well over a century Australians have learnt to be nostalgic about their past. This exhibition charts the way Australians began to discover they had a past worth visiting. Convicts, bushrangers and rebellious diggers became standard tourist fare surprisingly early. At the same time, Australia’s past was also acquiring a patina of nostalgia, as artists discovered the beauties of colonial architecture and country towns recognised the benefits of promoting their history to tourists.

From Port Arthur to the Dog on the Tuckerbox, this exhibition explores the variety of pasts that tourists visited, the exhibits that drew them in and the souvenirs they took away.

calendar icon


Exhibition runs from 26 August 2013 – 14 February 2014


radio icon


Arts Alive program #33 (MP3, 51.1MB) – Community Radio Network
Listen to the interview with Richard White on the ARTS alive radio program.

newspaper icon


Convict Cells, Graves and Gift Shops – Scope Mag
Read Ian Mason's interview with Richard White in the July 2013 issue of Scope Mag.

radio icon


Touring Australia's Past - East Side 89.7FM
Listen to a three part interview podcast with the exhibition curators, broadcast on August 29, 2013 on Arts Thursday with Maisy Stapleton.

newspaper icon


Exhibition review - Inside History magazine, issue 18.
Read the review of the exhibition by Chloe Okoli.