Connecting Spirits: the commemorative patterns of an Australian school group in Northern France

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    Australian school tours on the Western Front are a fast-growing phenomenon. One school tour-called Connecting Spirits-is deserving of particular attention both because it sheds light on contemporary patterns of commemoration and because its organisers and participants created several records of its commemorative activities. This article analyses the purpose of the tour and its broader relevance to commemoration. I ask which past is passed on-or discovered-during these tours, why, and under what circumstances? To whom did this tour actually "connect"? Through the study of the 2006 edition of Connecting Spirits, and specifically its journey in Northern France, I explore three main concepts: the "commemorant", terra media", and "oneself in history". This article is located at the intersection of memory, identity, commemorative tourism, and the history of emotions. By studying the activities of Connecting Spirits, I seek to understand the exponential growth of such tours in Australia and the meanings with which they are invested.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)345-359
    Number of pages15
    JournalJournal of Australian Studies
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


    • Australian national identity
    • Battlefield tourism
    • Commemorations
    • Somme
    • World war I


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