Roads and road tourism loom large in the Australian imagination as distance and mobility have shaped the nation’s history and culture, but roads are more than simply transport routes; they embody multiple layers of history, mythology and symbolism. Drawing on Australian travel writing, diaries and manuscripts, tourism literature, fiction, poetry and feature films, this book explores how Australians have experienced and imagined roads and road touring beyond urban settings: from Aboriginal ‘songlines’ to modern-day road trips. It also tells the stories of iconic roads, including the Birdsville Track, Stuart Highway and Great Ocean Road, and suggests alternative approaches to heritage and tourism interpretation of these important routes. The ongoing impact of the colonial past on Indigenous peoples and contemporary Australian society and culture – including representations of the road and road travel – is explored throughout the book. The volume offers a new way of thinking about roads and road tourism as important strands in a nation’s cultural fabric.
In The Press
Since the late nineteenth century Australians have defined both their individual character and national identity as resulting from their interaction with the Bush, a harsh natural environment marked by fire, flood and drought. This immaculately researched and tightly argued book complicates our understanding of how Australians have imagined the road, the rural environment and themselves. This is a bold and imaginative contribution to Australian cultural history.
About The Author
Rosemary Kerr is a professional historian and heritage consultant who has worked in the field for over 20 years. She is also a member of the Australia ICOMOS National Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes and Cultural Routes. Her research interests include Australian cultural history, cultural heritage, cultural routes, and the history of travel and tourism.