Issue No. 2 (February 2002) — Fleeing The City
Sea Change: Re-Inventing Rural and Regional AustraliaBy Peter Murphy
The ABCs popular SeaChange series has re-popularised the idyll of getting away from big city pressures to high amenity rural and small town settings on the Australian coastline and in select inland localities usually within striking distance of the big cities. This paper addresses: the changing relationships between city and hinterland that enable, or drive, such choices; the reasons why people choose to move; the different types of places in which they settle; and the implications for these places, the settlers and existing residents. Movements from city to country have been going on for a long time, 30 years in their contemporary manifestations in Australia and in other western industrialised nations. Whilst the factors involved are constant, there are significant recent shifts to the balance of forces that make the most recent period, and the scenario for the future, distinctive and worthy of continued attention by researchers and policy makers. Drawing on a long-term research engagement with the subject, the paper is based on a recent public lecture given by the author at the State Library of New South Wales.
A Place At the Coast: Internal Migration and the Shift to the Coastal-countrysideBy Johanna Kijas
Thirty years ago a new trend in Australia's internal migration turned attention to the warm coastal-countryside. And yet it is only recently that much research attention has been focused on this coastal shift. This article reviews the material on internal migration in Australia, with a focus on New South Wale's mid-north coast which has experienced burgeoning new-settler populations since the 1970s. It suggests there is much to be done in ethnographic research on this population shift.
Where Green Turns to Gold: Strip Cultivation and the Gold Coast HinterlandBy Grahame Griffin
The social and cultural relationships between a rapidly expanding coastal tourist city (the Gold Coast) and its hinterland are explored through the analysis of local media representations.
Mapping the Rainbow Region: Fields of belonging and Sites of ConfluenceBy Baden Offord
This essay is about feelings of belonging considered in a self-reflexive journey through two landscapes - one theoretical, one physical/metaphysical. It argues that through the quilting of memories, critical reflections, anecdote, fictional readings, interviews and thick description, belonging becomes articulated through a spatial prism and imbrication of cultural fields and flows. The essay locates this theorisation of belonging in an exercise of mapping place and space in the rainbow region of northern New South Wales. Focusing on two specific coordinates that have subjective resonance for the author, Caddies Cafe and the Byron Lighthouse Walk, the essay explores what happened when he fled from the city.
Fleeing the City Within: a Mental Health PerspectiveBy Diana Sweeney & David A Pollard
This paper examines the mentally ill as a subculture residing within the alternative cultural landscape of Byron Bay. The positioning of the mentally ill as a subculture is an intentional feature of the investigation which aims to view the mentally ill as culturally unique. Drawing on the work of Baldwin, Longhurst, McCracken, Ogborn and Smith (1998), and focussing specifically on their treatment of subcultures, the paper will explore the relationships which exist between the mentally ill and mainstream society.
Memories and idylls: Urban Reflections on Lost Places and Inner LandscapesBy Jane Mulcock and Yann Toussaint
This paper considers two ways in which urban-based Australians (re)create personal connections with rural and natural landscapes: Mulcocks material on the alternative health and spirituality movement in Australia, and Toussaints research with urban conservationists involved in restorative tree-planting projects in rural Western Australia provide the context for this exploration . Through the adoption of everyday rituals, city-based supporters of the Landcare movement and participants in the alternative health and spirituality movement attempt to preserve sacred spaces in their daily lives. These spaces symbolise a metaphorical and ongoing flight from the city, a desire for emotional, rather than physical, distance from urban lifestyles. We argue that these contemporary Australian engagements with nature and the rural perpetuate an Arcadian vision, a longing to recover a personal, national, and mythic Golden Age, interwoven with a desire for the lost places, remembered and imagined, that lie beyond the city walls.
Rural Lines of Flight: Telecommunications and Post-Metro DreamingBy Gerard Goggin
Information and communications technologies hold a prominent place in the cultural imagination of many people living outside the Australian metropolis, especially recent émigrés. A vision of a wired pastoral conjures up the possibilities of city work, connections and pleasures accompanying the flight to the country. Such aspirations have given a twist to one of the great topos of Australian post-invasion communications history, communications ameliorating the perceived isolation in the bush. This article examines important changes to rural telecommunications in the 1990s coinciding with post-metro dreaming and digital convergence, namely the rise of local telecommunications. Neo-Foucauldian accounts of citizenship hold some promise for explaining the criss-cross of tangled lines of flight in regional communications in the twenty-first century: emergent subjectivities, utopian digital modes of becoming, new politics of infrastructure, reconfigured relationships among state, market and citizen.
Migration, Music and Social Relations on the NSW Far North CoastBy Chris Gibson
This article explores urban-rural migration on the NSW Far North Coast (the Northern Rivers region) and the emergence of popular music as a niche cultural industry. The various images of the NSW Far North Coast as a lifestyle region, alternative region and coastal retreat have attracted a diverse mix of ex-urban professionals, unemployed persons, youth subcultures and retirees, yet despite population growth, the region continues to suffer unemployment rates among the highest in Australia. Against this backdrop, popular music has emerged as a niche industry with linkages to cultural production in Sydney, Melbourne and overseas, and also an area of creative expression that interacts with, and mediates local social relations.
Music Making in the Village of NimbinBy Michael Hannan
The focus of this paper is on the function and value of music in a small community, the village of Nimbin in the North Eastern corner of New South Wales, Australia. The paper provides a brief historical and social background of the village as well as some historical information about musical life since the legendary Aquarius Festival (1973). Emphasis is placed on current musical practices and the spatial politics of musical production in the village. The use of music for political protest, community celebration and fund-raising for community projects is discussed. In addition some treatment of professional and semi-professional music making is provided within the context of the national music industry. Music is shown to have a vital and pervasive role in the life and identity of this community.
Dropping in, Not out: the Evolution of the Alternative Press in Byron Shire 1970-2001By Fiona Martin & Rhonda Ellis
This paper examines the evolution of alternative print publications in the Byron Shire of coastal Northern NSW, a region that since the 1970s has attracted a steady stream of 'alternative seekers' from urban centres. We discuss the reasons why most alternative newspapers and magazines in the area flowered and died quickly, while one, the Brunswick Valley Echo, recently celebrated its 15th anniversary as the Byron Shire Echo and has become the dominant weekly in the Shire. In comparing The Echo to its current corporate competitor, The Byron Shire News, we identify The Echo as a hybrid commercial/community media identity which contributes to an alternative public sphere, and remains physically and symbolically tied to its counter-culture roots.