Great Southern Rail

The mighty Indian Pacific celebrates its 40th Anniversary in February 2010. A train acclaimed not only as an Australian icon but as one of the worlds greatest train journeys.

Great Southern RailHistory was made when the Indian Pacific departed Sydney Central Station on the first direct rail journey across the continent, forty years ago. Tens of thousands of people lined the track to witness what was said to be a symbol of nationhood; the first solid connection between the cities of the east and the isolated west coast.

More than 55,000 people now experience the vastness and beauty of the Australian outback on board the Indian Pacific each year. The train has earned its place as one of Australia’s most precious tourism entities.

“The Indian Pacific is so much more than a mode of transport,” said Commercial Director of Great Southern Rail, Russell Westmoreland. “It is a journey of a lifetime as guests experience some of the country’s most breathtaking scenery, make new friends and enjoy fine dining in the comfort of an iconic train,” he said.

Great Southern RailThe Indian Pacific provides a rare window into the outback of Australia.

From the stunning Blue Mountains with lush tree canopies and spectacular valley views the train winds through the Great Dividing Range, the salt lakes and sand dunes of South Australia and over the longest straight stretch of rail track in the world as it crosses the Nullarbor Plain.

“Australia is the only continent in the world that can be crossed coast-to-coast by train. The wedge-tailed eagle is the symbol of the Indian Pacific – its massive two metre wingspan symbolises the epic journey of an adventure that spans a continent,” said Russell.

Great Southern railThere is no better time to travel on the Indian Pacific than during its historic 40th year. To celebrate the occasion, Great Southern Rail has a special package available for travel before 31 August.

Guests booking a journey on the Indian Pacific in Red Sleeper Service, with two nights accommodation and one day of touring, will be entitled to a free upgrade to Gold Service. To avoid missing out on this fantastic offer, contact Great Southern Rail on 13 21 47 or

The Indian Pacific departs from both Sydney and Perth twice a week during the high season. During low season the journey is limited to one return service each week.

Wreck Bay Convict shipwreck heritage listed

Minister for Planning, Tony KellyThe historic shipwreck Hive in Wreck Bay is to be protected for future generations, after being listed on the State Heritage Register.

Minister for Planning, Tony Kelly, made the announcement during a visit to Wreck Bay in late March 2010, which gained its name following the loss of the Hive and another 10 subsequent shipwrecks.

“The remains of the Hive were located by the Heritage Branch in 1994 and is the only example of an early 1800’s convict prison ship wrecked in NSW and must therefore be protected,” the Minister said.

“It has considerable heritage significance as it meets all seven Heritage Council criteria for listing on the State Heritage Register.”

Hive Camp Wreck Bay NSWThe Hive was on its second voyage to Australia in 1835 when it ran aground with 250 Irish male prisoners, military guards of the 28th Regiment, ship’s crew, women, children and a cargo of coinage for the Government worth £10,000.

A crew member, the Boatswain, drowned while convicts and passengers were being transported from the foundering ship to shore.

The Hive site is unique in NSW as the only convict ship wrecked whilst transporting convicts to Sydney. The only two other convict transport shipwrecks in Australia are located in Tasmanian waters.

Wreck Bay NSWThe crew established a bush camp in the adjacent sand hills of Bherwerre Beach, in Wreck Bay, to await rescue while they stripped the vessel of anything they could salvage.

Mr Kelly said the events surrounding the loss of the Hive demonstrate early contact with local Aboriginal communities.

“The co-operation and support of the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community members and other Aboriginal peoples in assisting the survivors and in passing word to distant Sydney is a key element of the site’s significance,” the Minister said.

“I am advised Federal Heritage Minister, Peter Garrett, has asked the Australian Heritage Council to add the Survivors’ Camp to its list of places to assess for possible inclusion on the Commonwealth Heritage List.

“The camp, which is on Commonwealth land, is a very important part of the Hive’s story and history, including the role the Aboriginal community played in helping to rescue the survivors of the wreck.”

Because the Hive is buried under sand, an important sonar survey of the shipwreck will be undertaken by maritime archaeologists from the Heritage Branch and the Commonwealth’s GeoScience Australia, to determine the amount of buried hull timbers remaining.

The archaeological remains are protected by the NSW Heritage Act and the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976, and there are severe penalties for disturbing the remains.

The wreck survey will be conducted as part of the State Maritime Archaeology Program and the NSW component of the National Historic Shipwreck Program. 

The Hive wreck site is representative of the period of convict transportation to Australia, and the interaction between survivors of shipwrecks and Aborigines.

The ship, its cargo, crew, military personnel and convicts were part of the later period of highly organised convict transportation. It survives as a rare example of a vessel engaged in this trade. The hull is the main surviving artefact and has the potential to provide information about the construction and fitting of one of His Majesty’s prison ships during this period.

Images Courtesy of Heritage Branch, Planning NSW

It’s official. NSW is the nation’s favourite tourist destination

New independent figures released today show NSW enjoyed a bumper end to 2009 with domestic overnight visitors to the State increasing by 7 per cent.

This follows figures released last week that show NSW continues to lead the nation’s international tourist recovery.

Minister for Tourism Jodi McKay said the latest National Visitor Survey showed NSW was the only State to see a significant increase in visitor numbers in the last quarter of 2009.

“While domestic travel by Australians saw no significant change overall, visitor numbers to Victoria and Queensland actually fell by 4 per cent and 9 per cent respectively,” Ms McKay said.

“So the fact that NSW bucked that trend with a 7 per cent increase in the number of visitors over the quarter is another clear sign that we’re leading the nation’s tourism recovery.”

Ms McKay said that the State’s share of domestic visitors increased by 3.2 per cent to 37 per cent over the quarter, compared to Victoria and Queensland, both at 23 per cent.

“NSW is the number one State for Australian visitors, visitor nights and visitor spending,” Ms McKay said.

“Our State is the nation’s favourite destination and these results are great news for the State’s tourism businesses and for the economy.

“Last week’s International Visitor Survey showed that international visitors to NSW increased by almost 7 per cent last quarter, with visitor nights up by almost 13 per cent.

“The best news is that 2010 is already shaping up to be a great year for tourism in the State with operators reporting strong bookings over the summer.”

Ms McKay said the results also show a 12 per cent increase in the number of visitors to Sydney in the quarter ending December 2009 compared to the same quarter in 2008.

“Sydney saw more than 1.8 million Australian visitors in the last quarter of 2009, an increase of around 200,000 compared with the previous year.

“Regional NSW also recorded a positive quarter with a 6 per cent overall increase in the number of domestic overnight visitors,” Ms McKay said.

A few regions in particular saw significant increases over the quarter, including the Murray (up 40 per cent), Capital Country (up 36 per cent) and New England North West (up 28 per cent).

For the year ending December 2009, NSW received 22.6 million domestic overnight visitors who stayed 77 million nights and injected more than $12.25 billion into the State’s economy.

* Tourism Research Australia National Visitor Survey December 2009 quarter.

 Discover NSW Heritage Tourism

BridgeClimb Celebrates the 2.5 millionth Climber to Scale to the Summit of Sydney’s Icon

BridgeClimb Sydney has celebrated the 2.5 millionth Climber to experience “The Climb of their Life” on the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. At 10.05am on Friday 12 March 2010, Hilary Baker from the UK scaled to the summit of the Bridge with BridgeClimb Sydney.

Ms Baker, a coach driver from Sundon, England (just outside London), climbed with her partner Greg Ashworth as well as her sister Alison Kirkham and Alison’s husband John Kirkham.

“This is our first visit to Australia and what a way to be welcomed” Ms Baker said. “I have been looking forward to climbing the Bridge for so long, and to be lucky enough to be the 2.5 millionth climber…well this is just brilliant.”

At the summit Ms Baker was presented with a trophy containing a cement core from the original 1932 Sydney Harbour Bridge foundation work, sourced from the excavation of the BridgeClimb access tunnel to the Bridge.

Todd Coates, Managing Director of BridgeClimb said “Hilary has travelled from across the globe to summit the Bridge today. Her story and the memory she will treasure forever is as unique and special as every one of our 2.5 million Climbers”.

Since BridgeClimb opened in October 1998 58% of Climbers have been international visitors to Sydney, 24% were Sydney-siders and 18% were from the rest of Australia.

BridgeClimb now have three exciting climbs to the summit of the Bridge; The Bridge Climb, The Discovery Climb and The Express Climb, all available at dawn, during the day, twilight and at night. For booking enquiries call (02) 8274 7777 or book online at

2.5 millionth Climber Pictures by James Morgan on behalf of Bridgeclimb, Sydney, Australia.

Park Pass required at Kakadu from April 2010

From 1 April, visitors to Kakadu National Park will be required to purchase a Park Pass. The Park Pass will cost $25 and is valid for 14 days. Children under 16 and Territorians will not require a park pass.

Park passes will contribute directly to the running costs of the park and will help us maintain the fantastic natural environment and tourism services such as roads, boardwalks, visitor centres and free ranger walks and talks.

Visitors will initially be able to buy their passes at the following agents:

  1. Tourism Top End, Darwin
  2. Bowali Visitor Centre, Park Headquarters
  3. Goymarr (Mary River Roadhouse).

It is best to purchase a park pass before entering the park. Park staff may ask to see the pass, so visitors should carry it at all times. Visitors without a valid pass may be fined.

There will be a paper-based system over the next 12 months. We will phase in electronic ticketing so that visitors can buy their pass on line.

Tour operators:
As a condition of their permit, tour operators will need to ensure that all of their customers (with the exception of children and Territorians) have a valid park pass prior to entering the park.

Tour operators can order their passes from the Parks Australia Darwin Office on (08) 8920 1300. They may pick up the passes in person or request that they be mailed to them.

A five per cent discount will be offered to all tour operators purchasing more than 100 passes through the Darwin office. This will be payable by rebate on a quarterly basis. Tour operators will be able to pay by credit card, direct deposit, and in some cases via invoice.

Alternatively tour operators may purchase smaller numbers of passes from the agents listed above.

Kakadu has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 50,000 years, and during that time the land and their culture have become intertwined. Kakadu National Park is managed jointly by its Aboriginal traditional owners and the Director of National Parks.

Yass Valley Heritage Tramway Tourism Feasibility Study

Council has received funding, in partnership with the Yass Valley Development Corporation and Yass Railway Heritage Centre, to undertake a Feasibility Study to determine the tourism potential for reopening the Yass Valley Heritage Tramway.

Expressions of Interest are invited from suitably qualified persons to undertake the project management of the study. Copies of the Project Management Brief are available from Council by contacting (02) 6226 1477.

Expressions of Interest will be received up until closing time 5:00 p.m. on Monday 22 March 2010. David Rowe General Manager PO Box 6 YASS NSW 2582.

Intriguing city precincts

Discover fascinating suburbs off the main tourist route.
After the Second World War, the Australian Government began a formal migration program that has brought more than six million migrants to Australia.

Since then, people from some 200 different countries have made Australia their home bringing with them their cuisine and traditions.  Many of those immigrants have tended to congregate in certain suburbs, which in turn made those suburbs more interesting.

Together, these precincts have helped shape our major Australian cities into the unique urban landscapes they are today.  

In Sydney, head to the inner city suburb of Leichhardt for a taste of Italy. It was once a working class area populated by first and second generation Italian immigrants. ‘Little Italy’, as it’s sometimes called, is centred around busy Norton Street. There are plenty of Italian cafes and restaurants here, as well as bookshops and a movie theatre. The Italian Forum is a group of Italianate buildings with balconies, upmarket fashion shops and cafes all clustered around a central piazza.   

Sydney’s Chinatown is another fascinating area. Located near Town Hall in the city centre, Chinatown is focused around Dixon Street. It’s a pedestrian mall with many Chinese restaurants and grocery stores. A firm favourite for many Sydneysiders is a weekend trip to Chinatown for yum cha. Close to Chinatown is Sydney’s Spanish quarter, where you can find several Spanish-style restaurants and bars.

Melbourne has some intriguing city precincts too. Among these is the bayside suburb of St Kilda. There are more restaurants and bars here than just about anywhere else in Melbourne, and the suburb attracts a distinctly bohemian crowd. The St Kilda Esplanade, which nudges up to a beach and a historic pier, is popular by day, while the restaurant and bar strips really come alive once dusk falls.

The city has its own Chinatown too, centered on Little Bourke Street. This compact area is home to Australia’s oldest Chinese settlement, which dates back to the 1850s. It’s packed with restaurants and Chinese stores.  

Just north of the city centre grid are the suburbs of Carlton and Fitzroy. Carlton is known for its Italian restaurants and cafes which cluster along Lygon Street and its large student population and parklands.

Not far from Perth’s city centre is Fremantle which boasts perhaps the best preserved example of a 19th century port streetscape in the world. Back streets reveal old dockworkers’ cottages, and warehouses converted into trendy apartments.

Major attractions include Western Australia’s earliest convict jail, as well as Fremantle Prison and the Western Australian Maritime Museum.

Also here are the iconic Fremantle Markets, where you can shop for fashion, home wares, antiques and local produce. Treat yourself to Japanese, Turkish, Indonesian, French, or Vietnamese food too.

In Hobart, the state capital of Tasmania, you can find Salamanca Place. This was once the haunt of sailors, whalers, dock-workers and convict labourers. The old Georgian warehouses here act as Hobart’s cultural hub. They are home to art galleries, theatres, cafes, craft shops and restaurants.

The Salamanca Markets take place here every Saturday. Shop alongside the locals for local organic fruit and vegetables, freshly cut flowers, and arts and crafts.

As Queensland’s state capital, Brisbane has its fair share of fascinating precincts too. The small inner-city enclave of West End is one of them. It’s a free-spirited place known for its many ethnic restaurants, cafes, and Asian grocers.

Then there’s the Fortitude Valley whish has now been gentrified. Come here for vibrant cafes, trendy fashion outlets, popular nightclubs, live music venues, renovated pubs, great restaurants, and the city’s very own Chinatown.

In South Australia, the suburb of North Adelaide is crammed with Victorian and Edwardian architecture and the streets are lined with restaurants, cafes, bistros, and six popular pubs.

Northwest of the city centre is Port Adelaide, a historic seaport which is home to some of the finest colonial buildings in the state. There are several museums here, including the National Railway Museum. This houses Australia’s largest collection of locomotive engines and rolling stock.

Australia’s capital city, Canberra, is a relaxed culturally-significant place.

As well as accommodating some of the nation’s major museums and art galleries, Canberra hosts around 80 diplomatic missions from around the world. Most of the major embassies are in the leafy suburb of Yarralumla. You can explore the area by car, or it will take around one hour to cycle the ‘Embassy Tour’ route.

The Cultural Moment in Heritage Tourism

New perspectives on performance and engagement
Ask most tourists and they will tell you that visiting heritage sites is primarily about ‘having a nice day out’. Recreation, leisure and sometimes a desire for education or the expression or demonstration of cultural ‘taste’ are all well documented motivations for touristic activities.

But what cultural work does the act of visiting cultural sites actually do?  What, in cultural and social terms, is achieved by having ‘a nice day out’?  What also, beyond the economic, is obtained by the delineation of cultural sites and places for touristic consumption?

This work explores the cultural and social work that both the act of visiting, and the provision of heritage sites for touristic use, does – it aims to capture the cultural moment in heritage tourism.

In identifying and capturing this ‘moment’, the volume also aims to explore what this may mean for a critical understanding of both tourism and heritage itself.

In providing a deeper and nuanced understanding of the motivations, on-site activities, meaning construction and other cultural work by both tourists and tourist operators, the work aims to provide a critical and holistic understanding of the interrelation between heritage and the tourism industry.

We therefore invite contributions from established scholars across a range of fields who might want to address, refine, take issue with or replace some of the following questions:

  • How are cultural encounters best understood in tourism contexts?
  • To what extent are moments of engagement premeditated or random?
  • Can such moments be created, and what does this imply about agency and subjective understandings?
  • How are cultural moments configured in cyberspace, with the advent of Web 2.0 in particular?
  • To what extent is the cultural moment constitutive of other social relations such as power and authority, gender and history?
  • How is the moment embodied? What movement is revealed? What senses are involved?
  • How is performance modulated by moments of engagement, and what are the reciprocities of engagement and performance in tourism places?

It is our intention to present a collection of chapters to explore these and other related questions that our contributors may offer. We invite theoretical and conceptual contributions; the results of empirical research; reflections on lived experience; and applications of emergent theory to cases preferably of international significance. To be considered for this publication, you should submit a 300-word abstract to Laurajane Smith, Emma Waterton and Steve Watson at no later than 31st March, 2010.

The Old Melbourne Crime and Justice Experience wins the heritage and cultural tourism at Australian Awards

Step back in time and walk the road to the gallows in a 19th century prison, be arrested in a modern-day Police Station or put yourself on trial in court.

Home to our oldest prison, historic Magistrates’ Court and former Police City Watch House, Russell Street has been at the heart of crime, law and order in Melbourne since the 1840s.

Most of Australia’s infamous characters, including iconic bushranger, Ned Kelly and notorious gangster Squizzy Taylor have spent time within the walls of this amazing precinct.

The National Trust of Victoria’s Old Melbourne Gaol Crime & Justice Experience won the Heritage and Cultural Tourism Award at the Australian Tourism awards announced in Feb 2010.

This iconic landmark is the site where 135 people, including infamous bushranger Ned Kelly, were hanged. The prison was also a focus during some of Australia’s most significant historical moments, including the Gold Rush and World War II.

The bushrangers, murderers, baby farmers and gangsters kept here lived alongside petty offenders, including lunatics, vagrants and bankrupts. Experience what life behind bars was like for some of our most notorious villains – learn about their life and crimes, their trials and treatment. Step into the shoes of a hangman…

377, Russell Street (between La Trobe and Victoria Sts) Melbourne 3000

General Enquiries: (03) 8663 7228

Group Bookings: (03) 8663 7223

Old Melbourne Gaol Crime & Justice Experience Website