Colonialism’s Past and Present: Performing History at a Gold Rush Theme Park


  • Virginia Watson



Australian mining history, theme Parks, Australian Indigenous history


The urge to seize, to claim the past in order to experience the truth of history is a powerful impulse - one full of desire for a time apart from the here and now. Conceiving and sustaining an experience of the past is today very big business. The ongoing development of the heritage, tourism and re-enactment industries inter-link with popular historical perception in ways that raise multiple questions about the relationship between popular and academic accounts of the past and the many other ways of performing history (Dening 1996). This paper takes as its starting point a gold rush theme park, Old Mogo Town in NSW Australia, and in particular, its erasure of all evidence of the Indigenous past. From here, it is my aim to develop a revised performance of that past- one that interrogates the catastrophe of colonialism and the fate of history currently expunged from the gold rush theme park of Old Mogo Town.