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Australian triumphal arches and settler colonial cultural narratives

Power, J ORCID: 0000-0001-5354-0842 and Norrie, H ORCID: 0000-0002-8941-9531 2017 , 'Australian triumphal arches and settler colonial cultural narratives' , Fabrications, vol. 27, no. 1 , pp. 71-99 , doi: 10.1080/10331867.2016.1262716.

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Within the Western architectural canon, the triumphal arch has been used to embody symbolism and meaning in the urban rituals of parades and processions. This paper examines temporary triumphal arches constructed in Australia between 1868 and 1954, to celebrate visits by the British royal family and their representatives. Each of the arches selected for discussion incorporated Australian Indigenous people, buildings or artefacts, which were curated to convey carefully crafted narratives of colonisation. A raft of interpretations can be read into each of the arches because they are intentionally loaded with meaning and symbolism. Particularly evident are the notions of protectionism and assimilation, which were central to the settler colonial narrative. Understandings of the arches is framed by the interpretive information available about them – photographic documentation taken of the in situ arches, drawings and textual descriptions. This paper examines how the triumphal arch form enshrined Australian Indigenous culture into the narrative of colonial experience. It explores how the triumphal arches presented particular representations of Indigenous cultures, both through the allegorical narratives inherent in their physical design, and through the involvement of performers in the events.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Power, J and Norrie, H
Keywords: triumphal arches, settler colonialism, royal visits
Journal or Publication Title: Fabrications
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 1033-1867
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/10331867.2016.1262716
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 The Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand

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