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 small-scale 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.
Katherine Ellinghaus is a Hansen Lecturer in History at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of Taking Assimilation to Heart: Marriages of White Women and Indigenous Men in the United States and Australia, 1887-1937 (University of Nebraska Press, 2006) and Blood Will Tell: Native Americans and Assimilation Policy (University of Nebraska Press, 2017). In 2014 she was awarded an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant to write a history of exemption policies in Australia. E-mail: email@example.com
Sianan Healy is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in The Centre for the Study of the Inland, La Trobe University. She is the author of Vanishing Point: Settler Colonialism and Popular Culture in the United States and Australia, 1890s–1930s (under contract, University of Nebraska Press) as well as numerous articles and chapters on histories of assimilation in Australia and the U.S. E-mail: S.Healy@latrobe.edu.au