Ethnic Minorities and the Built Environment in Rural and Regional Australia

Common Ground
Publication Type:
Journal Article
The International Journal of Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, 2007, 6 (6), pp. 167 - 176
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Australia has one of the highest proportions of migrants of any country in the world. One aspect of this migration that is still poorly understood is the impact of different ethnic groups on the built environment of Australian cities and towns. Recent arrivals often seek to create a home by modifying their new landscape, transforming public spaces by building monuments, religious buildings, social clubs and community centres. These sites have often been overlooked in studies of Australia s built environment heritage. However, they often hold enormous significance not only for migrant communities but also in reflecting contestation over space and the contribution of migrants to the Australian political economy. Crucially, in a time of increasing concern over inter-cultural relations in Australia, these places can also be sites of inter-cultural exchange. Based on preliminary fieldwork in Griffith in New South Wales, the paper will explore the social, political and economic significance of one place built by non-Anglo-Celtic migrants to Australia: the Griffith Italian Museum and Cultural Centre. Using the concepts of inter-cultural dialogue and bonding and bridging social capital, the paper explores the role of the Museum in facilitating social networks and improved relations within and between Griffith s ethnic communities.
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