Gay Globe Trekker

Destination: Down Under—Diorama Delights

Follow my Priscilla-esque journey Down Under as I reveal each week one of 21 reasons for wearing my love for Australia on my sleeve (literally, tattooed there).

#12 Because I’m a sucker for a cheesy diorama and Alice Springs delivered with tableaus of flying doctors & pioneering women.

Growing up, I was never a big fan of the Natural History Museum’s displays of stuffed buffalo and dessert rodents.  But stick a creepy, lifeless human form into the display—slightly offensive & stereotypical Native Americans and Eskimos, for example—and I was hooked.  Thankfully, there’s something about the Southern Hemisphere that brings out the best in dioramas, a fact I first uncovered in New Zealand at a museum dedicated to the possum plague.

Lucky for me, Alice Springs in Australia’s red center outback offered up two different montages to add to my memorable diorama experiences.  The Royal Flying Doctors visitor’s center features the inside of a plane with a nurse and patient seemingly on death’s doorstep.  And befitting a nation famously founded by convicts (yes, that’s a broad generalization but fun nonetheless), the National Pioneer’s Women Hall of Fame offers insight into the “fashionable” life of women in prison.  Not because the women were hall of fame worthy, mind you, but because the museum is housed in a former jail.

Now, concoct a diorama related to Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and I might never leave Alice Springs.

photo by Tourism NT

Like one of my all-time favorite films Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the ultimate destination on my last trip Down Under was Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the country’s “Red Centre.” Granted, I didn’t take a bus or wear a silver lamé dress (damn), but I did sing lots of disco songs and chose a circuitous route. I found the majesty of Uluru spellbinding—one of those places that more than lives up to expectations. No wonder it’s a finalist to be one of the New7Wonders of Nature, an online poll that will announce winners on 11.11.11. Join me in voting for Uluru/Ayers Rock, by visiting Who knows, maybe I’ll end up adding Uluru to my sleeve.

photo by Jamie Beck; tattoo by Friday Jones

Jon Paul Buchmeyer for

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