Being moved (on) in Darwin and Alice Springs: walking Australia's frontier towns

Document Type


Publication details

Lea, T, Young, M, Markham, F, Holmes, C & Doran, B 2012, 'Being moved (on) in Darwin and Alice Springs: walking Australia's frontier towns', Radical History Review, vol. 114, pp. 139-163.

Published version available from:


Peer Reviewed



It is in the contemporary period of Indigenous cultural recognition that the biopolitical system of policing Aboriginal walkers in Australia's frontier towns has become so normalized that it takes place without public notice, using universally accepted mechanisms for shedding metropolitan areas of the unsightly and unwanted. Ironically, the hypermarginalized hunter-gatherer population can be identified by their perambulation — they walk — a form of urban nomadism that is both desired and reviled. Aboriginal pedestrians who are temporarily not in motion are forced to keep moving but are not expelled altogether, for their presence is essential to the region's wider economic interests. Since Aboriginal pedestrians are “moved on” when entrepreneurial imperatives cannot be met, and since moving is also a means of remaining invisible in the most heavily policed commercial zones, walking is thus overdetermined, a coproduced effect of racial excision and resistance in the ambivalent political economies of the Australian liberal-settler frontier.

Find in your library