Insular Peninsularities: Geography, demography and local identity in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and Sutherland Shire

Shima Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Marine and Island Cultures, 2021, 10, (1)
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
In recent years there has been consideration of some peninsular areas as ‘almost-islands’ (presqu'îles, in French usage). Assertion of such status has usually relied on spatial configuration and the nature of transport links and/or border issues between the areas in question and adjacent regions. Bodies of land that are connected to mainlands by narrow isthmuses have been particularly prone to characterisation as ‘almost-islands’ but, to date, factors such as the perceived insularity of particular peninsulas within larger metropolitan areas have not featured as prominently in discussions. This article emphasises the latter with regard to the types of insularity perceived within two areas of Australia’s largest city, Sydney: its Northern Beaches and Sutherland Shire. These areas have been referred to in local and metropolitan media as ‘insular peninsulas’, a term distinctive to Australian English Language usage. Both are also known for their attractive beaches and swimming and surfing opportunities, factors that have contributed to local territorialism and related social tensions. Consideration of these two areas contributes to more general discussions of insular peninsularity by emphasising nuanced gradations involving factors such as socio-cultural homogeneity, local identity and perceived territorial rights.
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