Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Geography and Sustainable Communities


People who have been displaced by disasters, violence and persecution seek safety as they resettle in unfamiliar places. In what ways do countries, regions and cities provide safety? Is safety assumed once people have been resettled in Australia, Europe or North America? In the absence of any special provisions and services, what do newly arrived people do on an everyday basis to feel safe in unfamiliar landscapes, cities and housing?

This thesis pursues such questions by critically examining the experiences of 26 people from diverse refugee backgrounds who resettled in the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia between 2002 and 2017. Drawing on in-depth narrative interviews, thematic focus group discussions and institutional consultations, this thesis documents how newly arrived people: 1) lack access to local hazard and risk information; 2) encounter unsafe, unhealthy and insecure housing in the direct path of hazards such as fires, storms and flooding; and 3) experience physical and social isolation, with particular implications for women, children, the elderly and disabled. While revealing these challenging experiences, the narratives also uncover sites, relationships and everyday practices of care among people from refugee backgrounds...

This thesis is unavailable until Wednesday, September 08, 2021



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.