Dr Peter Cahalan

Strategist in the tourism and cultural sector

Dr Peter Cahalan has recently retired after a long career in museums and the tourism industry.

After training as a teacher with the South Australian Education Department he became a teacher in history at the University of Adelaide before undertaking a PhD at McMaster University in Canada. His experience whilst in Canada and when undertaking research in England led him to an awareness of regional diversity in Australia. He says that he went overseas as an Australian and came back a South Australian!

In 1978 he became founding director of the Constitutional Museum of SA. This in turn became the foundation of the History Trust of South Australia, of which he was the first CEO as of 1981. During his time there he oversaw the establishment of the Migration and SA Maritime Museums, the redevelopment of the Birdwood Mill as the National Motor Museum and the creation of the National Railway Museum. He was involved then and later in numerous history related projects and was an active supporter of the State’s several hundred history museums and historical societies.

He moved to the SA Tourism Commission in 2000. There he served in varying roles. These included managing interpretive tourism projects and serving as the regional tourism manager for the Flinders Ranges and Outback and Fleurieu Peninsula and liaising with the State’s 11 non-metropolitan tourism regions. A consistent theme throughout his career is an interest in regional communities and the volunteers who give so much to sustaining them.

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