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'The Lottery of Life': Convict Tourism at Port Arthur Historic Site, Australia


Maxwell-Stewart, H, 'The Lottery of Life': Convict Tourism at Port Arthur Historic Site, Australia, Prison Service Journal, 2013, (210) pp. 24-28. ISSN 0300-3558 (2013) [Refereed Article]

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Crown Copyright 2013

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This article will explore the design process behind the ‘Lottery of Life’ interpretation gallery opened at the Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, in 1999. A penal station designed as a site of discipline for secondarily convicted and recalcitrant convicts, Port Arthur operated from 1830-1877. Following its closure as a corrective institution it became a significant tourist destination. As such it has a long history of prison tourism. Prior to the opening of the 1999 exhibition, a number of prominent Australian historians and writers attacked the interpretation of convict and institutional life in this ultra-coercive penal station. The local criticism levelled at the site shared much in common with wider critiques of heritage tourism in the Englishspeaking world. The construction of a new visitor centre and interpretation gallery presented an opportunity to try and address some of the concerns levelled in the local and international literature. It also provided a rare chance to turn academic findings into an interactive display that could communicate a complex picture of penal station life to a diverse audience.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Heritage Studies, Convict History
Research Division:History, Heritage and Archaeology
Research Group:Historical studies
Research Field:Australian history
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Maxwell-Stewart, H (Professor Hamish Maxwell-Stewart)
ID Code:87767
Year Published:2013
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP1112756)
Deposited By:School of Humanities
Deposited On:2013-12-04
Last Modified:2014-07-22
Downloads:3 View Download Statistics

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