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Micromobility, Space, and Indigenous Housing Schemes in Australia after World War II

Katherine Ellinghaus and Sianan Healy

Keywords: assimilation policy; colonial history; housing; Indigenous Australians; micromobility; settler colonial mobilities; spatiality; subversive mobility

This article examines state efforts to assimilate Indigenous peoples through the spatial politics of housing design and the regulation of access to and use of houses, streets, and towns. Using two Australian case studies in the 1950s, Framlingham Aboriginal Reserve in Victoria and the Gap housing development in the Northern Territory, and inspired by recent scholarship on imperial networks and Indigenous mobilities, it explores Aboriginal people’s negotiation of those efforts through practices of both moving and staying put. We demonstrate the importance of micromobility—which we define as smallscale movements across short distances, in and out of buildings, along roads, and across townships—and argue that in order to fully appreciate the regulation of Indigenous mobility and Indigenous resistance to it, scholars must concentrate on the small, local, and seemingly insignificant as well as more drastic and permanent movement.

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