'The birthplace of Australian multiculturalism?' Retrospective commemoration, participatory memoralisation and official heritage

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
International Journal of Heritage Studies, 2009, 15 (5), pp. 381 - 398
Issue Date:
2009-09-01
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In Australia, the authorised heritage discourse contributes to shaping the stereotypically Australian. It actively engages in creating a contemporary national story which glosses over the more shameful or distasteful episodes and themes in Australian colonial and post-colonial history which is presented as being by-and-large progressive and benign. While the process of forging national history has become more complex and increasingly fraught, given globalisation and the emergence of new histories, nation and nationalism remain culturally persistent. The turn to multiculturalism from the 1970s as the principal way of defining Australianness and the nation lead some conservatives in politics and the heritage industry to appropriate the new social history, using it to present diversity as an indicator of a fair and open society. In this process, both history - an evolving academic discipline - and the past - lived experience which has meanings and uses in the present - were transformed into heritage. © 2009 Taylor & Francis.
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