Burkhard Hofmeister:

Australia and its urban centres

1988. XII, 254 pages, 120 figures, 61 tables, 21x28cm, 1100 g
Language: English

(Urbanization of the Earth, Volume 6)

ISBN 978-3-443-37008-4, bound, price: 66.00 €

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BibTeX file


AustralienStadtzentrumurban centre


Synopsis top ↑

There is hardly any country in the world more urbanized than Australia. But at the same time the distribution of urban places is extremely unbalanced. Slogans such as ‘Sydney or the bush’ and ‘Australia is where most Australians don’t live’ point to the fact that the vast majority of Australians can be found in an urbanized coastal strip of less than a hundred kilometres in width. The largest ‘inland’ town, Australia’s national capital city Canberra, is located only some 120 km from the coastline and grew to the size of a quarter million residents.

Between 1788 and 1836 several attempts of colonization were made at various points along the coast, the earliest settlements being penal and convict settlements, whaling stations, military outposts or, in a few cases, pastoral settlements. Each of the colonies developed an urban network highly concentrated on its capital city that — with the exception of Hobart in Tasmania and with reservations regarding Brisbane in Queensland — assumed absolute primacy within its respective territory. The two big rivals, Sydney and Melbourne, grew to a size of three million residents each, followed by Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth with one million each. The category 50000 to 500000 is almost lacking in the urban hierarchy, whereas most of the third and fourth-order towns are service centres for their agricultural hinterland, isolated mining towns like Kalgoorlie or communication centres like Alice Springs. There is now evidence for the eventual development of a unified national urban system.

Since World War II Australian cities changed considerably, this being mainly due to the government’s population and industrialization policy. The intake of three million immigrants, 60 per cent of whom were of non-British origins, made Australia a multi-cultural society. For various reasons these ethnic minorities did not form, as they had done in the United States, large ghetto-like quarters in the inner residential zone. In the wake of industrialization policy some new towns developed, whereas the growth-pole policy of the 1970s was destined to complete failure. The fastest growing places are resort towns such as the City of the Gold Coast south of Brisbane and new mining and port towns in such areas as the ore mining region of the Pilbara in Western Australia. Home ownership is very high and residential densities are rather low. These and other traits make Australian cities a cultural-genetic type in its own right.

This book, based on the author’s intensive research during the last decade, is the firsttext to deal with all these aspects: the making of urban Australia, the major features of individual cities and towns and the cultural-genetic type of the Australian city.

Of interest to: geographers, especially in the field of population and settlement geography, agricultural and economic geography, transportation geography and historical geography; ethnographers, linguists, travel and transportation specialists, politicians, specialists in economic policy, cartographers, historians and their institutions, scientific libraries.

Contents top ↑

Preface V
1 Introduetion 1
1.1 Approaching the topic: urbanisation in Australia 1
1.2 Main sources of information 4
2 Historical development of the urban system in Australia 7
2.1 The elements of urban development 7
2.1.1 Physical-geographical opportunities and constraints 7
2.1.2 The demographic and economic framework 13
2.1.3 Urban development policies of the three tiers of government 21 Policies at local, state and federal levels 21 The State Housing Authorities 25 Decentralization and growth-pole policy 28
2.2 Stages of urban development 32
2.2.1 Convict settlements along the coastlines 32
2.2.2 The Macquarie towns in New South Wales 35
2.2.3 The old mining towns and Murray River towns in the Southeast 38
2.2.4 The parkland towns on South Australia's frontier 45
2.2.5 The ports of Queensland 50
2.2.6 The sawmill towns of Western Australia's southwest 52
2.2.7 Urban development since federation in 1901 54
2.2.8 Growing consciousness of the national heritage and the advent of
urban conservation 58
2.3 The uniqueness of the Australian urban system 63
2.3.1 The phenomenon of the primate city 63
2.3.2 Is there a true hierarchy of central places? 68
2.3.3 Constant changes of rank within the urban system 74
2.3.4 Inter-urban relations in the Australian context 77
3 Towns,cities end metropolitan areas 80
3.1 The capital cities 80
3.1.1 The metropolitan area of Sydney, New South Wales 80
3.1.2 The metropolitan area of Melbourne, Victoria 91
3.1.3 The metropolitan area of Adelaide, South Australia 100
3.1.4 The metropolitan area of Brisbane, Queensland 109
3.1.5 The metropolitan area of Perth, Western Australia 115
3.1.6 The metropolitan area of Hobart, Tasmania 123
3.1.7 The state capitals: a comparative perspective 128
3.1.8 Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory 136
3.1.9 Canberra and the Australian National Territory 142
3.2 The City of the Gold Coast in Queensland 151
3.3 Seaports other than the capital cities; important inland towns 154
3.3.1 Port andindustrial cities 154
3.3.2 Mining towns of the interior 156
3.3.3 Inland service and communication centres 157
3.4 New towns across Australia 160
3.4.1 New towns in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Areas 160
3.4.2 Satellite cities in connection with deep-sea harbours and heavy
industries 165
3.4.3 Company towns and open towns in newly developed mining areas 169
4 The Australian city as a distinct cultural-genetic type 181
4.1 Aspects of urban form and structure 181
4.1.1 Building materials 181
4.1.2 Home ownership 185
4.1.3 Property prices, public housing, residential densities 189
4.1.4 Construction, ownership and use of buildings in the CBD 193
4.1.5 The inner suburbs: renewal, rehabilitation and gentrification
in the face of site-value taxation, resident actions and green bans 196
4.1.6 Layout: the grid, irregular street patterns, urban freeways 199
4.1.7 The suburbanization of people, jobs and retail trade 202
4.1.8 Metropolitan planning. district centres, urban corridors, industrial
zones 206
4.1.9 Mobility and equity: The central city versus suburbia 208
4.2 Overseas immigrants and their residential patterns 211
4.2.1 Initial ethnic concentrations 211
4.2.2 Time of arrival and period of residence in Australia 216
4.2.3 Demand and search for accommodation 220 l
4.2.4 The immigrants' skills and the labour market 221
4.2.5 Group cohesion and in-marriage rates 223
4.2.6 Ethnic group services 226
4.2.7 Peculiarities of ethnic urban distribution patterns 227
4.3 The structure of the Australian city 234
References 238
Index 252