The first attraction was located in Hervey Bay and was called 'Vic Hislop's Shark Show.' After my family and I walked through the massive set of shark jaws that also doubled as the front door, the attendant played a short video presentation featuring Mr Hislop describing what we might see inside. I enjoyed Hislop's overly-serious yet un-emotive presentation style, combined with the campy eighties-style production values, so I figured the exhibit was worth a shot. Besides, there were two more movies inside as well as a giant frozen Great White Shark.
The walls were adorned with preserved pieces of shark, gruesome photos of shark attacks, newspaper clippings and letters written to government conservation agencies by Hislop. We watched a video presentation in one room where Hislop claimed sharks were 'misunderstood.' This is where my latte-sipping inner-city Melbourne brain expected to hear an impassioned plea for conservation, but, to my surprise, Hislop instead went on a Captain Ahab-like tirade about what a menace sharks are and how they should be wiped-out. Perhaps he has a point about over-fishing by humans causing increased shark attacks, but his defensive style and ego-centric nature does not help to get his point across.
The preserved Great White Shark was impressive and scary, but it seemed an inauspicious end for such a terrifying and elegant creature to end up in what appeared to be a 1970s caravan that had been turned into a deep freezer.
I wondered what made Hislop so defensive as I walked through the exhibition. I suppose conservationists don't care much for self-proclaimed 'shark-hunters', but I thought it odd that Hislop didn't celebrate the shark. Even if he hunts them, they are still how he makes his living. I can think of a number of fascinating things about sharks off the top of my head that were not mentioned at the exhibition at all. Most of the plaques on the walls began with the pronoun 'I', so it is probably fair to say that the exhibition is more about the promotion of Vic Hislop, rather than the celebration of sharks.
Also, a lot of letters on the walls seemed to indicate that Hislop is fond of litigation, so maybe this is a good place to end my discussion of 'Vic Hislop's Shark Show.'