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Wilderness, camera, action: conservation, commercialisation and change in National Parks landscapes

Porter, Nicole


Nicole Porter


How is wilderness defined, and how do such definitions change over time? It has long been recognised that the idea of wilderness and perceptions of nature in general, are socially, politically, culturally and legally constructed. In this paper, a high profile legal dispute over filming rights in the Blue Mountains National Park (Australia) is discursively analysed, exploring the way that different stakeholders perceive, value and portray wilderness landscapes. By comparing the discourses of commercial film producers, environmental protesters, politicians and law makers, this case study reveals how variable and fluctuating the idea of wilderness is. The dispute in question arose in 2004 when Hollywood action film Stealth was granted permission to film in the national park, a decision later overruled in court based on the assertion that ‘wilderness areas are sacrosanct’. In response, the government created legislation that overrode this decision, allowing future filming and stimulating further environmental protest. Stealth’s story illustrates how landscape ideas on film, and the legal instruments governing their production, prompt heated battles where the symbolic and economic value of wilderness landscapes are subject to debate, and where the landscape’s status shifts according to which stakeholder dominates the discourse.


Porter, N. (2015). Wilderness, camera, action: conservation, commercialisation and change in National Parks landscapes. In Landscapes in Flux, 223-226

Start Date Sep 20, 2015
Acceptance Date Feb 24, 2015
Publication Date Sep 21, 2015
Deposit Date Dec 17, 2017
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 223-226
Book Title Landscapes in Flux
ISBN 9789949536979
Public URL