Blue lagoons and coconut palms: the creation of a tropical idyll in Australia

Pocock, Celmara (2005) Blue lagoons and coconut palms: the creation of a tropical idyll in Australia. Australian Journal of Anthropology, 16 (3). pp. 335-349. ISSN 1035-8811


The Great Barrier Reef is regarded as an 'Australian icon'. It is an internationally recognised World Heritage site managed for its 'natural' values. However, it is a location where visitors rarely enjoy Australian landscapes. This paper contrasts the sensuous engagement of past visitors with contemporary tourist experiences. Analysis of historic and contemporary visual and written materials suggests that tourist landscapes of the Reef have been transformed significantly during the 20th century. In particular, experiences of Reef islands characterised by Australian bush have been displaced by those of a generic Pacific location. The coconut palm, as a symbol of earthly paradise, has played an important role in realising both an imagined landscape and the physical transformation of tourist locations. Whereas the tourism industry is often regarded as responsible for the promulgation of such generic images, this study suggests that they are the product of a shared imagination to which both the tourism industry and tourists subscribe.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version made not accessible.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Arts - Department of Humanities and International Studies
Date Deposited: 31 May 2013 00:09
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2013 01:35
Uncontrolled Keywords: Great Barrier Reef; tourism; islands; coconut; sensuous
Fields of Research : 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1506 Tourism > 150601 Impacts of Tourism
16 Studies in Human Society > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9503 Heritage > 950399 Heritage not elsewhere classified
C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australia's Past

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