1 Introduction: Nascent Tourism in Victoria, Australia – Insights Into the Evolution of Its Tourism Landscape by Ian D. Clark
This work is concerned with the emergence of tourism in colonial Victoria, Australia, and is part of ongoing research into understanding Victoria’s ‘tourism era of discovery’ (Towner, 1996: 140). It is concerned with the processes of ‘opening up’ new attractions and its focus is the discovery state of the development of tourism or what Young (1983) has termed ‘pretourism’. Victoria’s tourism era of discovery, here defined as ‘nascent tourism’ or ‘pretourism’, is a period that has generally been neglected in tourism histories in Australia, notwithstanding the recent works of Bonyhady (2000), Horne (2005), and Inglis (2007). Nascent tourism, defined as the embryonic or emergent phase in which natural attractions are coming into being as the subject of tourist visitation, will be contextualized in the study of eight tourism sites that will be the primary focus of this work.
Travellers’ accounts and other contemporary sources will be used to provide us with insights into Victoria’s nascent tourism – through them; we should be able to see the various places that were emerging as tourist sites in the colonial space. The sources are interrogated as journals or narratives that offer a biography of the journey in ways similar to Carter’s (1988) and Ryan’s (1996) interrogations of the journals of Australian explorers. These accounts enable observations of tourism and travel phenomena to be contrasted and allow geographical and temporal controls to be applied. Accounts from the 1830s and 1840s, for example, capture the nascent state of hospitality and travel as it was centred around squatting stations; the 1850s and 1860s show the evolution of an accommodation industry away from Melbourne and the improvement of transport infrastructure contrasted with the chaos caused by the gold rushes and the emergence of fledgling townships such as Ararat and Ballarat.
1.1 Understanding the Colonial Settler Gaze
To understand the colonial settler gaze in Victoria, it is necessary to understand the conventions or tropes that mediated it. The cultural milieu of the various travellers needs to be contextualized, especially the prevailing paradigms or conventions of seeing, particularly the ‘cult of the Sublime’, the ‘cult of the Gothic’ (Ousby, 2002), the picturesque and the panoramic (Ryan, 1996). Renderings of the new world landscape in terms of old world paradigms, or the notion of pictorial colonization, should emerge in the various travel accounts. Furthermore, the role of settlers in mediating tourism, something I dubbed ‘nascent private tourism’ will be scrutinized – especially the scenic attractions and other places of interest that settlers, as hosts, showed their guests. In these settings, the settlers were themselves discoverers and explorers.
Henry Brown’s (1862: 35) experience upon disembarking in Melbourne encapsulates the ‘shock of the new’ that confronted many travellers: ‘I can truly say that I left the ship with a sigh of regret. It may be that the strangeness of all around made me cling instinctively to something that had been in England, and to which I was accustomed, but I have since learnt that there are few who leave a vessel, where they have been comfortable, without similar feelings’. Richard Howitt (1845: 168) also discussed the problems emigrants faced in new colonies, something he described as ‘homereturn-anxiety’, where emigrants are personally ‘abroad, but mentally at home; living, moving, and having their existence amongst friends and kindred’. Kinahan Cornwallis (1859: 33f) confirmed that first impressions of Australia were often incorrect: ‘The beauties of Australia have been frequently painted in the brightest and most inviting of hues, and I had read those pleasant book pictures before my embarkation from England; but instead of the beautiful, I had as yet only experienced the wretched, and on this, my first night in Australia … After experience however proved to me that Australia abounded less in shadow than in sunshine, and that my first experiences of the country were the worst’. Richard Twopeny (1870: 1) counselled his readers that ‘In one sense the visitor is disappointed with his first day in an Australian city. The novelties and differences from the Old Country do not strike him nearly so much as the resemblances. It is only as he gets to know the place better that he begins to notice the differences. The first prevailing impression is that a slice of Liverpool has been bodily transplanted to the Antipodes, that you must have landed in England again by mistake, and it is only by degrees that you begin to see that the resemblance is more superficial than real’.
Several travellers considered Victoria to be very English. Frenchman, Ludovic Marquis de Beauvoir (1870: 19, 30), for example, was struck by the Englishness of Victoria and although he believed it was ‘a good thing to arrive at a place without any preconceived notions or prejudices, to wait for and seize upon first impressions, though very likely riper experience may change one’s opinion’, ‘since I have landed it has struck me that the local tone of the country consists precisely in being no local tone at all, and that the colony, contrary to custom, resembles the mother country in a very unusual manner’. Samuel Smiles (1880: 179) who spent 18 months working as an accountant at Majorca, near Maryborough, during 1868-9, considered life in Victoria was very much like life in England. ‘There are the same people, the same callings, the same pleasures and pursuits … Indeed, Victoria is only another England, with a difference, at the Antipodes. The character, the habits of life, and tone of thought of the people, are essentially English’. Charles Carter (1870: 188) was struck with the English appearance of the country on both sides of the railway, at Malmesbury [sic], Kyneton, Woodend, all about Mount Macedon’, and Mossman and Banister (1853: 62) considered the ‘open forest-lands’ of Victoria ‘have very much the appearance of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens’.
But Clara Aspinall (1862: 162) did not share their opinion and considered that Australian scenery ‘cannot certainly bear comparison with British scenery; at the same time, I must add that I have seen some very pretty spots, and some very fine views in Australia; but whenever this happened to me, my first exclamation always was, “How very lovely! How very English!” Generally speaking, there is a monotony in the scenery of Australia which is wearisome to the eye. … There is one want in Australia, which must always be felt in a new country by the traveler who is in search of the picturesque: namely, the want of scenes, ruins, or edifices hallowed by a sense of antiquity’. Robert Henderson (1911), an evangelist in Australia, concurred with Aspinall: ‘Face to face with a new country and new conditions, I soon saw that, with the exception of a few centres of population and scattered villages, a mere handful of people were in possession of a vast Island-Continent, consisting of great flock-masters and their shepherds, of farmers and gold-diggers, who had taken over the hunting grounds of the Aborigines, and were driving them into the interior and decimating them. In vain you looked for venerable cathedrals, baronial halls, old castles, famous battlefields, Druidical remains, or ancient history. Everything was new, and in the interior, wild and primitive. The only thing that could boast of antiquity was the black man, the native of the soil’ (Henderson, 1911: 149). However, Christopher Hodgson (1846: 174) whose interests were botanical and geological, did not share Aspinall’s or Henderson’s opinions, and considered that ‘Australia to the geologist is a truly interesting and wonderful country; unfolding new mysteries every day, and leaving simple man to revel in the midst of wonder, uncertainty and amazement’.
To understand the history of tourism visitation and the evolution of tourism attractions, this study uses perspectives developed by MacCannell (1976), Butler (1980), and Gunn (1994). MacCannell’s (1976) research into the development of secular attractions through five stages – sight sacralization or naming, framing and elevation, enshrinement, duplication, and social reproduction – will be tested to see if it satisfactorily accounts for the development of the eight attractions that are the focus of this study. Butler’s (1980) tourism area life-cycle model may explain any subsequent stagnation and decline of the attractions. Finally, Gunn’s (1994) spatial model of attractions should be able to add a spatial dimension to understanding the history of recreation planning at each attraction in terms of the three zones (nucleus, inviolate belt, and zone of closure) of visitor interaction outlined in his model.
MacCannell’s model has been applied to specific studies of particular tourism sites, including Jacobsen’s (1997) study of a cape in Norway; Clark’s (2002b) preliminary study of Lal Lal Falls in Victoria, Australia, Slade’s (2003) investigation of Gallipoli, Turkey, and more recently Forristal, Marsh, and Lehto’s (2011) analysis of Historic Prophetstown in Battle Ground, Indiana, in the United States. Forristal et al (2011: 574) note that the ‘use of MacCannell’s site sacralisation model is not a quantitative exercise, but rather a subjective and qualitative one. There is no specific or agreedupon operationalization of the model. Indeed, the beauty and strength of the model lies in its flexible application to a wide range of sites and situations’.
MacCannell (1976) has identified the first phase in the development of attractions as ‘sight sacralization’ or ‘naming’ when the sight or site is given a name. A fundamental step in its demarcation as a place of interest is its naming. In the case of Gunn’s (1994) spatial model of attractions, the site is the nucleus of the attraction, the principal focus of visitor interest. This sacralization stage corresponds with Butler’s (1980) ‘exploration’ stage in which tourism as such is nascent and visitor numbers are dispersed and insignificant, a stage best described as ‘pre-tourism’.
1.3 Second Phase: Framing and Elevation
The second phase identified by MacCannell (1976) in the evolution of attractions is ‘framing and elevation’ which he argued results from an increase in visitation, when demand requires some form of management intervention, whereby the sight is displayed more prominently and framed off. MacCannell’s framing and elevation phase corresponds with Gunn’s (1994) ‘inviolate belt’ zone in his spatial model. The inviolate belt represents the essential setting of the nucleus, it is the area immediately surrounding it, and serves as the psychological setting for introducing the visitor to the attraction. This period also correlates with Butler’s ‘involvement’ stage, which is characterised by an increase in tourist visitation and the emergence of an incipient tourism industry developing around the destination.
1.4 Third Phase: Enshrinement
MacCannell (1976) has identified ‘enshrinement’ as the third phase in the evolution of attractions. By this he means a phase where there is an increase in tourism numbers and the attraction’s reputation is enhanced. During this phase the attraction developed its third and final spatial zone, as outlined by Gunn (1994) – that of its ‘zone of closure’, an outer area of community influence of travel structures such as land uses for modern travel services, such as railway stations and grandstands. The enshrinement phase equates with Butler’s (1980) ‘development’, ‘consolidation’, and ‘stagnation’ stages, which are characterised initially by rapid tourism growth and dramatic changes in the tourism industry associated with the destination, its consolidation, and then its stagnation represented by declining visitor numbers.
MacCannell’s (1976) fourth phase in the development of attractions, is that of ‘duplication’, when copies of the nucleus of the attraction, are made available through media such as paintings, photographs, and postcards.
1.6 Fifth Phase: Social Reproduction
For MacCannell, the final stage is social reproduction which ‘occurs when groups, cities, and regions begin to name themselves after famous attractions’.
Through a series of case studies from Victoria, summarized below, this work complements Horne’s (2005) exploration of the evolution of ideas of wonder in scenic Australia in the nineteenth century that helped to create both a tourism industry and an enduring interest in the natural environment. For Horne (2005: 8), the ‘answer to the question of why particular natural features became favourite destinations for nineteenth-century tourists in Australia is in their appeal to certain nineteenth-century cultural interests and sensibilities, the wonder expected to be inspired by a view, a geological formation, a botanical specimen’. Indeed, the sites that are studied in this book are themselves vestiges of nineteenth and early twentieth century sensibilities – distinctive scenery such as waterfalls, rocky outcrops, extinct volcanoes offering panoramic views, and limestone caves filled with exotic stalagmites and stalactites.
1.7 The Cases – Lal Lal Falls Scenic Reserve
The Lal Lal Falls, situated within the traditional country of the Wathawurrung Aboriginal people, is one of Victoria’s most significant Aboriginal cultural sites, as it is one of several recorded living sites of Bunjil – the Kulin peoples’ creator spirit. However, the Lal Lal Falls became a tourist attraction more for its natural significance than its Indigenous cultural values. Its reservation as a public reserve in 1865 marked the emergence of the site as an attraction with a nucleus and an essential setting. Tourism at Lal Lal Falls experienced its zenith when it was associated with the annual Lal Lal Races and, with their cessation in 1938, the Lal Lal Falls Scenic Reserve, in terms of visitor numbers, has experienced continued stagnation and general decline; though this has now been arrested by major intervention works in 2004-2008. Since 1938, there have been periods of management activity when site works have been undertaken, particularly in 1963, 1980, and 2004-2008; however, the benefits of the first two actions appear to have been short-lived and the infrastructure associated with the ‘inviolate belt’ – visitor amenities such as toilets, fireplaces, seats and tables – were vandalised and allowed to fall into disrepair.
What is particularly poignant about the Lal Lal Falls is its sacredness in Indigenous value systems. Its significance cannot be overstated. Yet, although the Aboriginal significance of the site has been understated in previous site promotion and offsite interpretation, visitor information and travel guides on the Internet are beginning to focus on the site’s Indigenous values. In many respects the landslip in 1990 and the two resultant fatalities and the subsequent management decision to attempt to restrict visits to the base of the falls represents the lowest point in the tourism history of the attraction.
Lal Lal Falls, as a tourism attraction – one with significant natural and cultural values – has undergone a fundamental transition from being ‘the top tourist attraction’ and ‘one of the most significant heritage sites’ in the Buninyong region, where thousands of people would congregate for picnic races, to an attraction ‘virtually forgotten’ in 2001, only to reemerge in 2012 to be the leading natural attraction in the Ballarat district.
1.8 Buchan Caves Reserve
Although, the presence of caves in the Buchan district was first mentioned in 1840, the first known visit from staff from the Surveyor-General’s department did not take place until 1854. Nascent tourism began to occur from the 1870s. In 1889 the first systematic geological survey was undertaken and recommendations made to develop the site into a tourist attraction similar to the Jenolan Caves in New South Wales replete with a caretaker and the installation of electricity. Further recommendations by a geologist with the Mines Department in 1900 saw the reservation of some 65 hectares of Crown Land near Buchan by the Department of Crown Lands and Survey in 1901, and an additional 48 hectares in 1902. The camping reserve at Buchan Caves was proclaimed in 1930 and in 1938 the Buchan Caves National Park was officially opened.
The two show caves at Buchan, Fairy Cave and Royal Cave, were ‘discovered’ in 1907 and 1910 respectively. The opening to the Fairy Cave was enlarged using some gelignite and after the construction of pathways and wire netting to protect the stalagmites and stalactites, the cave was opened to the public in late 1907. Royal Cave was opened in late 1913 after reserve employees cut through a solid block of marble and used a large quantity of explosives to blast through 150 feet of rock. In 1920 a generating plant was installed at the complex which remained in use until 1969 when the site was connected to the state electricity grid. A notable feature of the Buchan Caves reserve is that it has been modelled on the United States of America National Parks Service, especially its adoption of ‘parkitecture’ styles for some of its buildings.
In terms of the agencies responsible for the protection and development of tourism at the site, it is possible to identify a mixture of government departments and geologists, the local Buchan community, regional progress association, and key individuals such as Frank Moon. The Buchan Caves have significant Aboriginal values, especially the widespread heritage of caves as places where the Nargun and wicked and mischievous Nyols lived. For this reason Aboriginal people were not in the habit of venturing deep into the limestone caverns.
1.9 Bunjils Shelter, Black Range Scenic Reserve
Bunjils Shelter did not become a tourist attraction until its public ‘discovery’ in 1957. Given its importance and fragility as an Aboriginal art site it has progressed through MacCannell’s attraction development phases within a relatively short period of time. The framing and elevation phase at Bunjils Shelter occurred before there was a significant increase in visitation; and rather than have tourist demand force management intervention, it was the fragility and rarity of the site that demanded that relevant authorities protect the art, or what Gunn understands as the ‘nucleus’ of the attraction. The management interventions taken to protect the art such as drip lines and protective grilles equate with Gunn’s ‘inviolate belt’ zone. The enshrinement phase at Bunjils Shelter is not a significant phenomenon, though it may be argued that this occurs when tourists find the pathway to the site and the various interpretive signs that are placed en route of interest in their own right. These interventions equate with Gunn’s ‘zone of closure’. The duplication phase has occurred in that a facsimile of the shelter was produced and displayed in a nearby theme park attraction in Stawell in 1975 and the art featured in an Australia Post postage stamp series in 1984 dedicated to the First Australians. Social reproduction of the attraction has been minimal probably due to the fact that it is not deemed appropriate for entities to name themselves after an Aboriginal art site, especially one that features a representation of the creator spirit Bunjil.
1.10 Den of Nargun, Mitchell River National Park
The Den of Nargun, set in the Mitchell River National Park in Gippsland, approximately 50km from Bairnsdale, has had a successful tourism history since its European discovery in 1875. ‘Discovered’ by Europeans in 1875, the Den of Nargun did not begin to experience significant numbers of visitors until the 1930s largely through the agency of bushwalkers and field naturalists. Although the site was declared a ‘sanctuary’ in 1938, formal site protection did not take place until November 1963 when the private company, Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd, donated 163 acres that included the cave that saw the formation of the Glenaladale National Park. In 1986 the Glenaladale National Park was merged with adjoining land and renamed the Mitchell River National Park. Today, the site is managed by Parks Victoria and the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Corporation.
Mt Diogenes, or Hanging Rock as it is more popularly known, was the subject of geological research by William von Blandowski in 1855; however it was not until Boxing Day 1864 that we have the first recorded account of the rock being used for leisure purposes when a picnic was organized by a group of tradesmen from nearby Kyneton. In 1869 entrepreneur William Adams purchased the Rock and set about developing the site into a pleasure resort. In 1866 he had purchased a half-acre block near the rock and built the ‘Hanging Rock Hotel’. In 1869 Adams placed a weir across Five Mile Creek to form a lake suitable for small rowing boats and other small water craft, and with the help of neighbouring publicans he developed a full programme of sports. Over the next seven years Adams cleared a track for bush picnic horse races and built a pavilion for dancing and continued to cater for picnics and sporting carnivals. In 1876 Adams sold the Rock to a Melbourne warehouse owner who had no interest in promoting a tourist attraction so the new owner leased the grounds to the owners of the Hanging Rock Hotel.
Around this time community agitation began to stir for the Government to purchase Hanging Rock for the public. The community of Newham urged its shire council to lobby the Government. In 1884, after a series of negotiations the Government purchased the Rock (and added it to the existing Crown Land reserve of 96 acres, west of Hanging Rock, which had never been privately owned), formally gazetting the Hanging Rock Recreation Reserve in the same year. The reserve was placed under the management of the Newham Shire Council. In 1885 a Racing Club was organized. The Council formed a committee of management from within its own councillors and oversaw site maintenance, pest control, and necessary site improvements. The races at Easter and New Year’s Day were significant events, for example, in 1911 some 20,000 attended the News Years’ Day races. In the 1920s a caretaker’s cottage was built and refreshments were provided by the caretaker’s wife to those who visited the reserve.
In 1967 author Joan Lindsay published her novel ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ which was produced into a movie in 1975. The movie saw a substantial increase in international and domestic tourism to the Rock. In 1978 the Victorian Government made funds available for site improvements including barbeques, toilets, and car parks to cope with the increase of tourism that had resulted from the release of the film. In 1990 management of the reserve reverted to the local council. In 1993 the reserve was expanded with the purchase of an adjacent property of 22 ha. – it is now 88 ha in size.
In terms of the agency responsible for the emergence and development of tourism at Hanging Rock this case study differs from the others in this book for the early history of the Rock is tied up with the fact that it was alienated land and owned by an entrepreneur who could see the tourism possibilities the rock offered. From 1869 until 1884 the entrepreneur developed the site into a tourist resort. It returned to public land in 1884 only after community agitation.
As a tourist attraction, Mount Buninyong–with its natural and cultural values, has transitioned from being a resource for farming purposes in colonial days and a scenic attraction for picnics into a highly recognizable public reserve that is central in the local primary school’s environmental and Indigenous curriculum. Mount Buninyong is an important site for the acknowledgment of the ongoing connection of Aboriginal people with the land through creation stories and cultural sites and is an ideal site for interpreting Aboriginal cultural history.
Mount Buninyong is an area of high geological and geomorphological significance. It has excellent interpretive value as it is the most obvious example in Victoria of a breached scoria cone and associated lava flows. The site is easily accessible as it is the only major scoria cone with a deep crater that remains on public land in Victoria. The Mount is still used as a scenic attraction today, and the bond between the local community and Mount Buninyong has always been strong. This has been expressed through organized interest groups as well as in the varied recreational pursuits of individual residents. In relation to Butler’s life cycle model, the Mount could be said to be at the ‘rejuvenation’ stage as it is continuously being maintained and upgraded. In early 2012, the Ballarat Courier undertook a survey of the Ballarat region’s favourite natural attractions. Lal Lal Falls was considered the region’s best, securing 37.5 per cent of the vote; Lake Wendouree came in second with 32.3 per cent, and Mt. Buninyong, third, with 9.4 per cent.
1.13 Tower Hill State Game Reserve
Tower Hill as a tourism attraction has significant natural values for local and international visitors. It became a tourist attraction more for its natural significance rather than its Indigenous values, although visitors to the site are able to learn about the Indigenous people and their way of life. Tower Hill was one of the first natural features in Victoria to be given a European name ‘Peak of Reconnaissance’ in March 1802 by the French explorers Baudin and Peron. A nested caldera, it is one of the most recently active volcanoes in western Victoria, and as well as these significant natural values it has significant Aboriginal heritage values as represented in the detailed Aboriginal microtoponymy that has been recorded in the ethnographic record. The name Tower Hill is descriptive and is believed to date from 1838. Although European settlement and land use began from this time, portions of the caldera remained as Crown Land and in 1866 local residents were successful in their endeavours to reserve Tower Hill when the Victorian Government declared it the Tower Hill Acclimatisation Reserve.
When schools inspector James Bonwick visited the site in 1857 he considered it sublime and grand and urged its reservation. Two years previously, local settler James Dawson had commissioned German landscape painter Eugen von Guerard to paint Tower Hill. Years later, in 1961, this example of duplication of the site featured prominently in attempts to restore the vegetation of the island to that depicted in the von Guerard painting. In 1892, Tower Hill became Victoria’s first National Park and was maintained as a park for public recreational purposes by the local shire council. However, continued environmental degradation of Tower Hill led to its omission from the 1956 National Parks Act. Local Field Naturalists were responsible for efforts to arrest the degradation and take active steps towards its environmental rejuvenation. In 1960 Tower Hill became Victoria’s seventh Game Reserve, and the government department responsible, the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife set about establishing a natural history centre and embarked on a restoration program based on von Guerard’s painting.
1.14 You Yangs Regional Park
The You Yangs have been shown to be a different entity to the sites that are the subject of the other case studies in this volume. It is not a single waterfall or a single mountain but rather a range of granitic hills, of which approximately only a third have been formed into the You Yangs Regional Park. The largest peak in the You Yangs is one of the earliest sites in Victoria that were visited by European – in this case Matthew Flinders in 1802.
In 1835 part of the You Yangs was retained as a Common and used for cattle grazing and timber cutting. This became a Crown Lands Timber Reserve of about 1,000 ha in 1866. In 1875 the reserve was increased to its present size of 2,000 ha. In 1958 some 355 ha were declared a scenic reserve, and in 1962 an additional 110 ha was given special purpose reserve status for the protection of birds. In 1964 the reserve became a state forest. In 1981 some 1,515 ha were added bringing the park to 2,000 ha. In 1992, the reserve became the You Yangs Regional Park –to provide opportunities for recreation and to protect and conserve natural ecosystems to the extent that this was consistent with its recreational role.
It has been a site for botanical research since 1853 when the government botanist von Mueller conducted field surveys there, and with the formation of the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria in 1880, regular excursions have been conducted to the reserve. In 1853, the You Yangs was not the subject of much visitation, and the Geelong Advertiser speculated that perhaps as few as 50 people had stood on its highest peak. The advent of the railway from Geelong to Little River saw the You Yangs become a favourite destination for day excursionists from Melbourne and Geelong.
The You Yangs has been and remains an important historical attraction, especially for people who are interested in the early colonial period when Europeans first explored and settled in Victoria. There is a wide range of diverse activities available at the park. The recent surge in mountain bike rider participation attests to the successful efforts of park management in rejuvenating visitor interest. The changing demographic demand for the park and the continued involvement of the two Wathawurrung organisations allows for an expanded offering of Wathawurrung cultural history.
The question of how a tourist site is created from what was effectively a blank tourism landscape requires further study for, as this study of visitation at eight significant sites has shown, it is too simplistic to attribute the development of tourism at a particular site to the agency of local landholders. In the case of Lal Lal Falls, the locus of causality of its evolution into a mature attraction, or what MacCannell has understood as the framing and elevation stage of his evolutionary model, rested with the local community led by a local newspaper, The Star, which sought to ensure the attraction did not become private property in 1856 when the State Government was considering its sale. Its permanent reservation in 1865 as a scenic reserve ensured that it would become the focus of significant tourism. Nascent tourism began at the Buchan caves from the 1870s, however in terms of the agencies responsible for the protection and development of tourism at the site, it is possible to identify a mixture of government departments and geologists, the local Buchan community, regional progress association, and key inviduals such as Frank Moon.
Bunjils Shelter did not become a tourist attraction until it was ‘discovered’ in 1957. Given its importance and fragility as an Aboriginal art site it has progressed through MacCannell’s attraction development phases within a relatively short period. The framing and elevation phase at Bunjils Shelter occurred before there was a significant increase in visitation; and rather than have tourist demand force management intervention, it was the fragility and rarity of the site that demanded that relevant government authorities protect the art, or what Gunn understands as the ‘nucleus’ of the attraction.
Although ‘discovered’ by Europeans in 1875, the Den of Nargun did not begin to experience significant numbers of visitors until the 1930s largely through the agency of bushwalkers and field naturalists. Although the site was declared a ‘sanctuary’ in 1938, formal site protection did not take place until November 1963 when the private company, Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd, donated 163 acres that included the cave that saw the formation of the Glenaladale National Park.
In terms of the agency responsible for the emergence and development of tourism at Hanging Rock this case study differs from the others in this book for the early history of the Rock is tied up with the fact that it was alienated land owned by an entrepreneur who could see the tourism possibilities the rock offered. From 1869 until 1884 the entrepreneur developed the site into a tourist resort. It returned to public land in 1884 only after community agitation.
Tower Hill was first named by Europeans in 1802, and a small Crown Land allotment at the site remained in public hands and was declared a reserve for public purposes in 1866. In 1892 it became Victoria’s first National Park, and in 1961 it became a State Game Reserve.
The You Yangs, were also first named and visited by Europeans in 1802. In 1835 when Crown Lands were being made available for alienation, a section of land was retained as a Common for cattle-grazing and timber cutting. This Common became a Timber Reserve in 1866 and eventually became the You Yangs Regional Park in 1992.
The Buchan Caves and the Den of Nargun need to be contextualized in relation to their place in the pursuit of wonder in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Horne (2005: 250) has shown how limestone caves were seen ‘as representing the concepts of the sublime and the beautiful’. ‘Their commercial development helped to open this experience to travellers, but the strong government involvement in financing them was a form of colonial altruism, a public investment in providing opportunities for the edification of the people through inspiration in response to the wonders of nature’ (Horne, 2005: 251). Similarly, mountains such as the You Yangs, Hanging Rock, Mt Buninyong, and Tower Hill, and the Lal Lal Falls, in the mid-nineteenth century were understood in the language of the sublime.
All eight places that are the focus of this book have significant Indigenous values – in the case of Lal Lal Falls and Bunjils Shelter they are directly related to Bunjil – the creator spirit. In the case of Buchan Caves, Den of Nargun and Mt Buninyong we have Aboriginal stories that explain the significance of the sites – with Buchan, we have Aboriginal accounts of how caves were the home of evil beings such as Nyols and in the case of Den of Nargun, it was the home of a terrible stone-being called a Nargun; Buninyong was formed when two ancestral beings Buninyong and Derrinallum fought one another. The Aboriginal significance of Hanging Rock, You Yangs, and Tower Hill is demonstrated by accounts of Aboriginal association, Aboriginal place names, and cultural sites.
This work is part of a larger research project into the history of tourism in colonial Victoria, Australia, that is concerned with a fundamental set of questions: how does a tourist site come in to being? How does a tourist gaze emerge in a ‘settler society’? How does an ‘era of discovery’ segue into ‘tourism’? And, how was the tourist map of Victoria created by settler colonists? The tourist gaze in colonial Victoria was essentially mediated by Old World paradigms such as the picturesque and the panoramic. These sensibilities were shaping the gaze of British colonists and travellers and the Victorian landscape was seen through Old World lens. Although they share common Indigenous values, the application of classical models of attraction evolution to the eight sites that are the focus of this study, has shown that their evolution into natural and cultural tourism attractions is diverse and that Victoria’s tourism landscape is dynamic and constantly changing. Some sites, for example, were reserved in the nineteenth century but others did not become tourism attractions until the twentieth century – such as the Den of Nargun in 1938, and Bunjils Shelter as recently as 1957. There are many other significant natural and cultural attractions in Victoria and much more research needs to be undertaken to understand more fully the evolution of Victoria’s tourism landscape.
Forristal, L.J., Marsh, D.G. & Lehto, X.Y. (2011). Revisiting MacCannell’s Site Sacralization Theory as an Analytical Tool: Historic Prophetstown as a Case Study. International Journal of Tourism Research, 13: 570-582.