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Selling waterfront heritage: A critique of Millers Point, Sydney

Journal Article


Abstract


  • This article explores the assimilation of a Sydney waterfront precinct, Millers Point, into the cultural tourism industry. Heritage tourism offers a potential economic base to revitalise an area whose nineteenth-century wharves and port infrastructure have become redundant. The selection of Millers Point over other places occurred through the presence of artefacts dating from the nation's early European history. Marking tourist sites in Millers Point as part of a Bicentenary Project of the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) inhered to this locality imaginings of Australian national identity. Within the rhetoric of 'cradle of the nation', aspects of this officially sanctioned locality that threaten the national imaginings were either suppressed, trivialised or silenced. Furthermore, these claims of national identity are appropriated, communicated and amplified within representations of the tourism industry's brochures and guidebooks. Representations of national identity within Millers Point privilege official over vernacular histories. Furthermore artefacts are prioritised over social memory, in particular first and oldest structures over all others. Finally where social memory is addressed, emphasis is given to the elite over the proletariat, men over women, Anglo-Celtic over indigenous peoples, glorious decisions over the ignoble, and an egalitarian ideology over extant social relationships. Such a selective representation of Millers Point allows conflictual and challenging elements of Australian national identity to be cast aside, leaving dominant social norms unchallenged.

Publication Date


  • 1997

Citation


  • Waitt, G., & McGuirk, P. M. (1997). Selling waterfront heritage: A critique of Millers Point, Sydney. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 88(4), 342-352. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9663.1997.tb01629.x

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-0031413964

Start Page


  • 342

End Page


  • 352

Volume


  • 88

Issue


  • 4

Place Of Publication


Abstract


  • This article explores the assimilation of a Sydney waterfront precinct, Millers Point, into the cultural tourism industry. Heritage tourism offers a potential economic base to revitalise an area whose nineteenth-century wharves and port infrastructure have become redundant. The selection of Millers Point over other places occurred through the presence of artefacts dating from the nation's early European history. Marking tourist sites in Millers Point as part of a Bicentenary Project of the Royal Australian Historical Society (RAHS) inhered to this locality imaginings of Australian national identity. Within the rhetoric of 'cradle of the nation', aspects of this officially sanctioned locality that threaten the national imaginings were either suppressed, trivialised or silenced. Furthermore, these claims of national identity are appropriated, communicated and amplified within representations of the tourism industry's brochures and guidebooks. Representations of national identity within Millers Point privilege official over vernacular histories. Furthermore artefacts are prioritised over social memory, in particular first and oldest structures over all others. Finally where social memory is addressed, emphasis is given to the elite over the proletariat, men over women, Anglo-Celtic over indigenous peoples, glorious decisions over the ignoble, and an egalitarian ideology over extant social relationships. Such a selective representation of Millers Point allows conflictual and challenging elements of Australian national identity to be cast aside, leaving dominant social norms unchallenged.

Publication Date


  • 1997

Citation


  • Waitt, G., & McGuirk, P. M. (1997). Selling waterfront heritage: A critique of Millers Point, Sydney. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, 88(4), 342-352. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9663.1997.tb01629.x

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-0031413964

Start Page


  • 342

End Page


  • 352

Volume


  • 88

Issue


  • 4

Place Of Publication