The diplomacy of extra-territorial heritage: the Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea

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    The global interest in the memory of war in recent decades has brought challenges in managing and conserving extra-territorial war heritage: that is, sites of memory that have a greater significance for people outside the sovereign territory in which the sites physically reside. This article considers this issue in relation to the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea, a site of central importance in the Australian national memory of war. The successful conservation of the Track throws new light on the practice of heritage diplomacy. Working mostly outside the more commonly explored arena of global heritage governance, the Australian and New Guinean governments employed bilateral diplomacy to manage domestic stakeholder expectations, and thereby identified a convergence of interests and mutual gain by linking heritage protection with local development needs. They have also encouraged the construction of a narrative of the events of World War II that in some respects might be described as shared. Thus, heritage diplomacy is underpinned by a transnational consensus about the heritages significance, at least at the government level, which arguably divests the Kokoda Track of its exclusively extra-territorial quality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)355-367
    JournalInternational Journal of Heritage Studies
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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