The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's premier tourist destinations. It is promoted and marketed to tourists as part of an idealised Pacific island paradise. While the gardens and decor of island resorts mimic those of resorts elsewhere in the Pacific, the way in which Indigenous people are represented is markedly different. This paper presents an analysis of historic tourist ephemera to suggest that Australian Aboriginal people are largely invisible at the Great Barrier Reef, despite their role in establishing the tourism industry. It suggests that ambiguities of Aboriginal presence, in labour and performance, are a product of tourism ideals and colonial race relations.