Colonialism and the Role of the Local Show: A Case Study of the Gympie District Show, 1877-1940 (Case Study) - Queensland Review

Colonialism and the Role of the Local Show: A Case Study of the Gympie District Show, 1877-1940 (Case Study)

By Queensland Review

  • Release Date - Published: 2009-08-01
  • Book Genre: History
  • Author: Queensland Review
Our rating: 5/5 stars

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Colonialism and the Role of the Local Show: A Case Study of the Gympie District Show, 1877-1940 (Case Study) Queensland Review read online review & book description:

Agricultural shows are important events in rural and regional Australia. For over a century, they have often been the main annual festival on any given town's calendar. This importance makes the lack of scholarly attention to rural and regional shows puzzling. Recently, Australian exhibitions and agricultural shows have come in for some very welcome scholarly attention, although very little has been written about rural and regional events. Scholars such as Kate Darian-Smith and Sara Wills, Joanne Scott and Ross Laurie, Judith McKay, and Kay Anderson have all written on exhibitions and shows--although, of this group, only Darian-Smith and Wills have written on rural shows, the rest focusing more on inter-colonial and metropolitan Australian shows. Even Richard Waterhouse's groundbreaking study of rural Australian cultural history, The Vision Splendid, provides little detail on agricultural shows and their role in rural cultural life, although the show's importance is recognised. (1) This article seeks to address this lack of detailed research on rural and regional shows by discussing the role of the regional show in localising broader colonial aspirations. As Anderson has noted, agricultural shows during the colonial era were celebrations of the march of white civilisation into previously untouched lands. They were celebrations of ownership. (2) Peter Hoffenberg, writing on the great exhibitions of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, agrees with Anderson that these events were showcases of the Empire and the territories it owned, while also promoting external commonwealth and internal nationalism. (3) The demonstration of ownership provided by displays of colonies' products asserted to the world the success of the colonial goals of progress and civilisation in lands that were deemed terra nullius prior to British arrival.

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