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Type: Journal article
Title: The space of citizenship: drifting and dwelling in “imperial” Australia
Author: Scriver, P.
Bartsch, K.
Rashid, M.
Citation: Fabrications: the journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand, 2016; 26(2):133-157
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 1033-1867
Statement of
Peter Scriver, Katharine Bartsch and Md. Mizanur Rashid
Abstract: Though rarely acknowledged, cheap labour sourced through inter-colonial networks originating in British India was instrumental to the “European” exploration and development of colonial Australia in the decades that followed the initial convict transportation era. Among others, so-called “Afghan” cameleers left their most permanent legacy in Australia’s networks of transcontinental communication and transport, which they first charted and then instrumentally assisted in building between the 1860s and 1920s. Arguably, it was these same networks that ultimately enabled the Australian nation-state to be formed. Beyond those indelible infrastructural traces, however, this paper focuses in particular on the more enigmatic built evidence of these Muslim pioneers and their attempt to establish a foothold in Australia’s burgeoning towns and cities in the early twentieth century. We consider how this humble architectural fabric - built and projected - supported their comparatively vast commercial and communal networks, and how it also asserted the cameleer’s presumed right to citizenship within the emerging Australian Commonwealth. To build was both a practical and a political statement of the intention to dwell, we argue, in a space of opportunity and potential citizenship that was - from the cameleers’ purview as subjects of the greater British world-system - truly “imperial” in scale as well as scope for cultural diversity.
Rights: © 2016 The Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand
DOI: 10.1080/10331867.2016.1183762
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