Arrivals and Arrivals: Royal Travel at Botany Bay

Carfax Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
National Identities, 2003, 5 (1), pp. 83 - 97
Issue Date:
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This article looks at how the sites of the beach and the airport have functioned as chronotopes of 'arrivalism' in Australian history. I suggest that narratives surrounding Queen Elizabeth's 1970 royal tour of Australia, initiated and terminated at Sydney Airport, drew on existing structures of primitivism and modernity at the site of the beach. A re-enactment of Cook's landing at Botany Bay on Australia Day 1970 thus re-inscribed the nation within global space: it showed aboriginal people bearing witness to the (re-)arrival of the colonists. This narrative of national progress linked the British colonial project and Australian economic development -- just as Cook 'discovered' Australia, the Queen's flight 'discovered' anew the international space of air travel and trade. A second re-enactment by trade unions and environmental protestors nearby on Australia Day 1976 contested this narrative, and offered an alternative nationalist vision at the site of the beach.
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