Rock carvings and graffiti in natural areas, signs of tourist visitation, case studies: Sydney Harbour NP, Australia and the Gäddtarmen Sound, Finland
Edelheim, JR 2002, 'Rock carvings and graffiti in natural areas, signs of tourist visitation, case studies: Sydney Harbour NP, Australia and the Gäddtarmen Sound, Finland', Proceedings of the Ecotourism, wilderness and mountain tourism: Issues, Strategies and Regional Development: International Conference, Dunedin, NZ, 27-29 August, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ. ISBN: 0473089742
The common thought of rock carvings and graffiti is that they are intrusions in the nature, destroying pristine, undisturbed and often scenic areas, this is specifically true in national parks and at heritage sites. Tourists are major stakeholders in the process of making graffiti and rock carvings, in order to make their own presence visible and to prove to themselves and others that they have visited a specific place. The placing of graffiti and rock carvings are in highly visible positions, in order to attract as much attention as possible.
This paper is looking at graffiti and rock carvings in two different settings; Sydney Harbour National Park (SHNP) in Australia and at Gäddtarmen, a sound between two islands outside Hangö, Finland’s southernmost city. The primary evidence from the two case studies will be compared to historical graffiti and rock carvings left by tourists all over the world mentioned in secondary sources. There is also a section on sociological explanations of graffiti and “tagging” in urban areas. Graffiti found in SHNP is ranging from historical ones, situated on the site of the previous Quarantine Station, nowadays heritage protected, to carvings produced when the national park was set up on previous military areas around the harbour in the 1970s and 80s. The bulk of the graffiti and carvings are thought to have been done between 1980 and 2002, therefore relatively recent. The graffiti is seen as an nuisance and if graffito are caught in action they are punished. The carvings at Gäddtarmen were mostly made by sailors waiting for more favourable winds in Hangö harbour approximately 100-500 years ago. This site is nowadays a popular tourist attraction and the carvings are protected as a cultural heritage. The paper proposes an investigation in the historical and sociological value for tourism research to view graffiti and rock carvings as significant signs.