Department of Geography and Sustainable Communities


Professor Gordon Waitt and Dr Natascha Klocker


Existing aggregate statistics on transport in Australia have largely reflected the car dependent practices of the dominant Anglo-European Australian population. However, recent quantitative evidence from a survey conducted in Sydney and the Illawarra revealed that ethnic minority migrants own and use cars at statistically significantly lower rates to Anglo-European Australians. These findings highlight the importance of diversifying ethnicity in Australian transport research. The aim of this project is responding to a wider call to better understand the experiences that underpin the everyday mobility patterns of diverse ethnic groups. The focus of this project is on Chinese-Australian migrant householders in Sydney. Building on intersections between mobilities and feminist geographies, the conceptual framework is underpinned by three concepts: habit, discourse and subjectivities. Employing a mixed methods approach, empirical data was sourced through semi-structured interviews, travel dairies and mobile ethnographies. The results presented over three chapters offer insights into everyday cultures of transport. Attention is given to pre-migration norms, experiences and habits – exploring how some are retained while others are lost. The conclusion argues that cultural factors help explain statistical trends for lower levels of car dependence. The findings also point towards the durability of more environmentally sustainable transport choices over the longer-term and suggest that Chinese migrants do not quickly or readily acculturate to patterns of car dependence.



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.