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To boldly stay: refugees, enterprise, industry and spatial inscription


Beynon, D, To boldly stay: refugees, enterprise, industry and spatial inscription, Society of Architectural Historian (SAH) 2021 virtual Conference, 13-17 April 20201, Montreal, Canada (Online) (2021) [Conference Extract]

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This paper explores the impact of refugees who resided at the Enterprise Migrant Hostel, in Springvale, an outer suburb of Melbourne in mid-1970s to early 1980s. The Enterprise Hostel’s residents during this time were mostly of Asian backgrounds, in particular from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and represented a distinct change to Australia’s demography and self-image. This exploration traces refugee arrival, settlement and the establishment of businesses or industries that have profoundly changed the built, demographic and cultural environment around the Hostel since the 1970s. This exploration focuses on a couple of business enterprises and their proprietors as examples of a great number of new enterprises developed in the Springvale area by these refugees, introducing new forms of retailing, manufacturing, wholesaling, importing, and other industries. As well as being sometimes heroic stories of migration and individual or family business development, these accounts also illustrate the re-imagining and re-centring of an Australian city’s suburban environment. Their described micro-practices of labour occupied and spatially transformed existing spaces and buildings and added new layers of spatial inscription to the land, eventually leading to formal changes to their surrounding urban environments. Such identifications also complicate Australia’s sometimes reluctant shift in identity from an outpost of British culture to a nation gradually accepting its geographical position south east of Asia. However their stories also complicate straightforward notions of transcultural identity and spatiality. While all are externally identified as Vietnamese refugees, some self-identify as Vietnamese and some as Chinese/Cantonese, whereas their businesses have adopted pan-Asian identities.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:architecture, urban development, refugee settlement, suburbs
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Architecture
Research Field:Architectural history, theory and criticism
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in built environment and design
UTAS Author:Beynon, D (Associate Professor David Beynon)
ID Code:146602
Year Published:2021
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP190101531)
Deposited By:Architecture and Design
Deposited On:2021-09-15
Last Modified:2021-09-15

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