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Contested homelands: Darwin’s ‘itinerant problem’

Volume 11, Issue 1

April, 2005

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Spencer, Peter (2005). Contested homelands: Darwin’s ‘itinerant problem’. Pacific Journalism Review, 11(1): 174-197.
Author(s): Steve Spencer
Publication date: 
April, 2005

Darwin has the largest Aboriginal population of any Australian city at nearly nine per cent, and the Northern Territory has nearly 28 per cent of the indigenous population. While the greater majority of the indigenous population in Darwin lives in circumstances not unlike their non-indigenous neighbors, a number are, out of necessity, more transient, moving between remote communities and the city, visiting friends and relatives who may be in hospital or prison, seeking work or escaping uneviable conditions in the interior. It is important to preface the present study with a word on social and historical context, as the representation of indigenous issues in 'the Territory' is founded upon historical and cultural constructions of Aboriginality. What underpins this long-running moral panic about homeless indiginous people? First, the history of Aboriginal people in Australia has been one of the disposession, cultural genocide and displacement.