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This report was originally published as Keys, CL, Recent evidence of changing settlement patterns in New South Wales, Wollongong Studies in Geography No.8, Department of Geography, University of Wollongong, 1980, 4p.


New South Wales, like the other mainland states of Australia, has traditionally been associated with a condition of metropolitan primacy (Rose. 1966). Moreover. the degree to which Sydney and the other capital cities have dominated the populations of their respective states has increased almost without interruption since the latter part of the nineteenth century, leading to the situation of the early 1970s in which three out of every five people in mainland Australia resided in a state capital. Outside these primate cities some urban centres have experienced short periods of explosive growth. but for most the rule has been either stagnation or slow growth. Rural Australia, meanwhile, has seen its proportion of the national population fall considerably. In 1921 more than a third of the nation's people lived outside the urban centres; fifty years later this proportion had declined to less than one seventh.