Abstract: During the early 1970s, large numbers of Aboriginal people became tenants of the Housing Commission of New South Wales under the Housing for Aborigines program. Most moved from government reserves or dilapidated and overcrowded private rental dwellings to broadacre suburban estates. As public housing tenants, they encountered considerable pressures to become 'respectable' citizens, to build their lives around privacy, sobriety, moral restraint, the nuclear family, conventional gender roles and wage labour. For many indigenous Australians, these expectations - which were based as much on class relations as on colonialism - represented a threat to their conventional ways of life and their obligations to extended family and community. This paper explores the patterns of conformity and resistance amongst Aboriginal tenants. It draws on the sociological and cultural studies literature on youth subcultural resistance and compares anthropological theory about indigenous responses to the pressures of modernity.