Indigenous mobility in rural and remote Australia

Indigenous mobility in rural and remote Australia Journal Article

AHURI Research & Policy Bulletin

  • Author(s): Memmot, P., Long, S. , Thomson, L.
  • Published: 2006
  • Publisher: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
  • Volume: 69
  • ISBN: 1445 3428

Abstract: Aboriginal households in Dajarra, Alpurrurulam and Mt Isa, While exceptionally mobile by Australian mainstream Standards, are relatively stable in their customary Attachment to their home community, local bush country, Cultural region, and regional centre. There is a need to Balance the local provision of housing and other Services to outlying remote and rural communities and to Rationalise service provision in regional centres. Key points: • The lives of Aboriginal people in rural and remote Australia are characterised by marked inter- and intra-community mobility, with circular movements within a ‘mobility region’, and a high rate of travel to places (including regional centres) within the region for relatively short periods of time. • The most common period of a visit was two to three days or less and most visits were for less than one month. The highest frequency of visits to one place was an average of 39 trips per year per visitor by Alpurrurulam men to Mt Isa. • Kinship is the main driving force of Aboriginal mobility. Kinship is maintained through mobility, kinship makes mobility possible, and kinship contributes to the definition of mobility regions. The distribution of an individual’s kin generates for an individual a ‘beat’ – a set of places, which he or she can visit and expect to obtain hospitality and economic support if necessary. • Other drivers of spatial mobility patterns in the study area include sporting events, recreation, hunting, collecting bush resources, and shopping. • There were some differences in the spatial patterns of the mobility of the male and female participants in both Alpurrurulam and Dajarra, with Dajarra female participants travelling to a less diverse number of settlements. • Visits lead to additional wear and tear on houses, with small houses accommodating high household numbers likely to require more frequent maintenance than would otherwise be the case. This is simply due to the natural wear and tear associated with high use by a large household. • There is a high frequency of visits to regional centres, such as Mt Isa, to access services. This suggests an ongoing need to ensure adequate availability of temporary forms of accommodation, such as hostels or community-owned houses.

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Memmot, P., Long, S. , Thomson, L. , 2006, Indigenous mobility in rural and remote Australia, Volume:69, Journal Article, viewed 27 May 2024,

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