Your “Eyesore,” My History?

People and “Dead” Cars in a Remote Aboriginal Community

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In this article we visit a car junkyard in the small Arnhem Land outstation of Nalawan in the top end of Australia's Northern Territory. Using both a mobilities paradigm and recent theorizing of waste from the global south, we will argue through our ethnographic observations that the wrecked cars become mobile, reassembled, and reconceptualized in a range of surprising ways. Though now immobile, the stories they encapsulate continue to circulate and reverberate with the complexities and tensions of Indigenous mobilities.

Contributor Notes

Kate Senior is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Newcastle, NSW Australia. Her work is with people from remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory; she has worked in the Ngukurr community for over twenty years. Email:

School of Humanities and Social Science, Faculty of Education and the Arts, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia, 2295

Richard Chenhall is a medical anthropologist who has worked with Indigenous Australian communities around various issues related to the social determinants of health, alcohol and drug misuse and treatment, and youth sexual health. In addition, he has published in the fields of sensory studies, the anthropology sleep, and Japanese alcohol misuse and recovery. Email:

Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 3010

Daphne Daniels is Deputy Chair of the Board of Directors for the Yugul Mangi Development Aboriginal Corporation. She has been involved in collaborative anthropological work in her community for over twenty years. This research is based in her family's ancestral land. Email:

Ngukurr Community via Katherine, NT, Australia, 0872


Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies


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