I enrolled at the Sydney College of the Arts on Monday, to do a Masters of Documentary Photography, here’s my thesis proposal:

Going West; Sydney’s Swelling Borders and Population

Planning for population growth has been a struggle in Sydney since the first fleet arrived.  Limited resources, land that was untenable and a hostile climate were the original conspirators against the British colonials.  Today’s planning issues have more to do with transportation, resource distribution and emerging racial tensions.  Nowhere is this more evident than in Austral, a semi-rural, socio-economically disadvantaged town on Sydney’s South West edge.

Sydney’s population has grown at an average rate of 40,000 per year over the last 30 years[1] and as such has had to expand its borders significantly.  Bounded by ocean to the east and national park to the north and south, the population has had to expand west, towards the Blue Mountains.  Suburb after suburb have been created and built up, not only as a reflection of a growing local population, but representative of a worldwide trend.  As Sydney’s housing prices rise, those without wealth are forced further and further out of the centre of the city[2].

Austral is a suburb that is representative of the development that his occurring all over Australia, and the world.  Austral rests at the junction of two major motorways and has seen a rapid increase in population.  The township is at a crossroads, both geographically and metaphorically.  Much of the surrounding land is still rural farmland.  Vast green plains full of crops, but encroaching on one side are developments and a changing cultural identity.  Buddhist temples and Mosques are amongst the first signs of the racially diverse population that are infiltrating the traditionally Caucasian-Australian area.

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My project will examine these interactions, both personal, and material.  I will look at the way the homogenised global society is finding its way into once rural Australia, the continuum of culture that represents Australia’s identity and the changing face of Sydney’s landscape as a result of development.


[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics, Information Paper: An Introduction to Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), 2006 (cat. no. 2039.0)

Category: Australianess, Photography One comment »

One Response to “Austral”

  1. Henrik

    Sounds amazing. Good luck! Love your stuff.

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