Identifying Opportunities to Promote Cultural-Heritage Tourism in Greenbushes Western Australia Essay

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Opportunities to Promote Travel and Tourism for Greenbushes 6254, Western Australia

This study provides an evaluation of Greenbushes 6254, Western Australia, to best determine how to preserve its culture and heritage to attract more tourists to use the local hotels, shops, and businesses. To this end, the study identifies those factors that have been shown to motivate cultural-heritage tourists to visit various destinations. An evaluation of the potential for Greenbushes 6254 to promote its cultural-heritage tourism features while preserving its existing attractor factors with the support of Lotterywest grants and community engagement is followed by an outline of the study's methodology and a description of the data collection process. Finally, a discussion concerning the special expertise that was required for the study is followed by a summary of the research and important findings in the conclusion.

Aims and Objectives

The overarching aim of the study was to identify opportunities for the community leaders of Bridgetown-Greenbushes to promote their shire as a cultural-heritage tourism destination while preserving those cultural-heritage elements that make their community a desirable destination in the first place. In support of this overarching aim, the study had three main objectives as follows:

1. Deliver a comprehensive, critical review of the relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature concerning cultural-heritage tourism in general and cultural-heritage tourism in rural Australian communities in particular.

2. Develop and administer a custom survey instrument to a population of Australian consumers concerning their views about cultural-heritage tourism and which attractor factors are most salient in attracting tourists to a rural destination.

3. Deliver a synthesis of the secondary and primary data to provide recommendations for the community leaders of Greenbushes concerning cultural-heritage developmental initiatives.

Rationale in Support of Project Selection

The global travel and tourism industry has experienced phenomenal growth over the past few decades (Confer & Kerstettler 2000). Indeed, increasing numbers of tourists are traveling at home and abroad, and in the process, worldwide spending on travel and tourism has more than doubled in recent years (Confer & Kerstettler 2000). One of the fastest-growing segments of the global travel and tourism industry is cultural-heritage tourism. For instance, according to Huibin and Marzuki (2013, p. 51), "In the field of tourism study, cultural heritage has been regarded as one of the most important attractions. The great charms with irresistible temptations from cultural heritage destinations have been enthralling tourists all over the world." In sum, cultural-heritage tourism concerns the "cultural traditions, places and values that ... groups throughout the world are proud to conserve. Cultural traditions such as family patterns, religious practices, folklore traditions, and social customs attract individuals interested in heritage" (Confer & Kerstettler 2000, p. 28).

Contributing Factors

In reality, the Bridgetown-Greenbushes community leaders are faced with some profound challenges in promoting their community as a cultural-heritage tourism destination. Despite these challenges, the community does have some significant attractor factors available for cultural-tourism promotion. Besides viticulture, scenic trails and some quaint farmhouses and historic bridges (see Figures 1 and 2 below), one of the major draws that shire boasts in its visitors' center is a collection of more than 100 completed jigsaw puzzles, the largest such collection in the Southern Hemisphere. This collection may provide a springboard for the shire's cultural-heritage tourism efforts. For instance, according to Staiff (2003, p. 143), "There are 60 army museums in Australia. Equally impressive are the enormous number of town/regional museums that are often described as 'amateur' collections of the paraphernalia of recent domestic/town life." Therefore, the potential exists for the community to use this jigsaw puzzle collection to stage an annual jigsaw puzzle completion contest or similar event to raise awareness of Bridgetown-Greenbushes as a destination of choice for cultural-heritage tourists in Western Australia.

Research Questions

This study was guided by the following research questions:

1. What are the major attractor factors for rural destinations in Australia such as Bridgetown-Greenbushes?

2. What current attractor factors does Bridgetown-Greenbushes have that can be used to promote the community as a cultural-heritage destination?

3. What types of grants are available from Lotterywest to promote cultural-heritage tourism to Bridgetown-Greenbushes?

4. How can the community leaders in Bridgetown-Greenbushes use the available resources to improve cultural-heritage tourism arrivals in the future?

Chapter Two:

Review of the Relevant Literature

Background and Overview

Although it was once an independent shire, the shire of Bridgetown recently incorporated the shire of Greenbushes, creating Bridgetown-Greenbushes (Greenbushes 2004). The site of Greenbushes proper is located about 250 kilometers south of Perth and just 17 kilometers away from Bridgetown, the community depends on the mining and timber industries, as well as tourism and farming (Greenbushes 2004). According to the promotional material provided by the Bridgetown-Greenbushes' Web site, "Our beautiful region is the jewel in the crown of the South-West. Located literally in the centre of the South-West, you are close to forests and National Parks, wineries, heritage walks and trails, and some of the state's most stunning heritage buildings. Bridgetown was recognised as a 'Heritage Town' in 2000" (About the Shire of Bridgetown-Greenbushes 2014, p. 1). The Bridgetown-Greenbushes' Web site does not feature any upcoming events on its Web site, but it does provide two pictures of attractor factors (a historic bridge and a farm).

Some relevant statistics for the Bridgetown-Greenbushes community are set forth in Table 1 below.

Table 1

Bridgetown-Greenbushes Shire Statistics



Distance from Perth

269 km (Bridgetown)

Length of Sealed Roads

247.71 kms

Length of Unsealed Roads

553.58 kms


4,670 (estimated)

Number of electors


Number of dwellings


Total Rates


Number of Employees (FTE)


Total Revenue


Forestry - Hectates of State Forest


Total Area (sq km)


From a cultural-heritage perspective, Greenbushes has something to offer domestic and foreign visitors. For example, according to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald, "Greenbushes is an interesting and unusual old timber and mining town" (Greenbushes 2014). Part of the current charm of the Greenbushes community is its "wild west" character. For instance, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, "The Greenbushes is really an old mining town. It came into existence in 1888 after tin had been found in the district by a Mines Department surveyor in 1886" (Greenbushes 2014, p. 3).

The Bunbury Tin Mining was Greenbushes' first enterprise, and following its establishment, several other companies followed suit (Greenbushes 2014). The community's fortunes have been inextricably interrelated to the mining industry ever since. For instance, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that, "The town boomed until 1893 when a world slump in the price of tin saw the local industry collapse. Since then the town's population and productivity have fluctuated according to the demand and price of the metal" (Greenbushes 2014). The 1904 census for Greenbushes provides some indication of the demographics of the community at the fin de siecle. In this regard, The Sydney Morning Herald notes that the 1904 census included "159 miners who were serviced by 9 storekeepers, 8 builders, 2 tin smiths, 7 carpenters, solicitors, mining agents, chemists, butchers, tailors, bootmakers, bakers and a blacksmith" (Greenbushes 2014, p. 3). A decade later, the community's population had grown to 2,000, with about 25% of these residents being employed in the burgeoning timber industry (Greenbushes 2014).

The Bridgetown-Greenbushes community has some other valuable cultural-heritage attractor factors available to help promote their shire, including the Geegelup Heritage Trail that interprets the "Exploration and settlement of the Bridgetown-Greenbushes District" including the 1891 post office (privately operated for the past 44 years); the 1907 Roads Board Office (the site of one of the early mines) and the Greenbushes Historical Park that presents an interpretation of the community's colorful history as center for tin mining (Greenbushes 2014). According to The Sydney Morning Herald, "In the park are old pieces of machinery as well as a mine shaft with a head frame and a replica of a prospectors hut. The town's mining past is also recalled in a series of information boards which were placed around the town in 1988 to help visitors understand what the town was like when it was booming and successful" (Greenbushes 2014, p. 3). Iinterested tourists can still arrange for visits to the Whittaker's Timber Mill (although active mining operations have been shut down as discussed further below), and the Greenbushes Tin Mine by making inquiries to local merchants (Greenbushes 2014). The community's hotels include the Exchange Hotel and the Shamrock Hotel which both feature restaurants (Greenbushes 2014).

The Greenbushes community is in dire need of expanded travel and tourism opportunities. Just 2 years ago, Whittakers Timber Products was widely regarded as one of the largest sawmill and processing operations in Western Australia's enormously valuable hardwood industry. According to Garnett (2013), though, the Whittakers Timber Products mill ceased operations in 2013 and the full economic impact of the closure through the loss of hundreds of job has been severe (Garnett 2013). In this regard, Schirmer (2009, p. 14) emphasizes that, "The Whittakers' mill closure represents a stark departure from the trends in 2005-2006 when the forestry industry in Western…[continue]

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