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From camp life to suburbia: Aboriginal housing in Perth

Delmege, S. (2014) From camp life to suburbia: Aboriginal housing in Perth. Australian Historical Studies, 45 (3). pp. 368-387.

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Until the 1960s, camps provided the primary mode of accommodation for Aborigines living in Perth. This article charts relations between government, white residents and Aborigines who identified as ‘campies’ and outlines the shift from camp life to suburbia that occurred in Perth during the second half of the twentieth century. It shows that the state appropriated the right to administer and manage Aboriginal welfare, but squandered opportunities to do so adequately. It demonstrates how sanitation and inspections were used as mechanisms of control that limited the autonomy of the campies by confining their movements and visibility. The article argues that campies were routinely treated as a ‘nuisance’ and quite invisible in terms of housing policy until 1953. Moreover, implementation of Aboriginal housing in the 1970s failed because urban Aboriginal culture was profoundly misunderstood.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Arts
Publisher: Routledge, part of the Taylor & Francis Group
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