Australia is a highly diverse society. World War II was a significant event in Australia’s history. The World War II aftermath resulted in the establishment of the Federal Department of Immigration which resulted in a nation-wide immigration program. Many immigrants entered the borders of Australia in seek of an enhanced lifestyle and superior conformity. Immigrants from identical cultures found their way to areas where it was similar to home. The Sydney suburb of Cabramatta has a concentrated population of mainly Vietnamese and Chinese cultures. Society is categorised under a class hierarchy which separated individuals according to their ethnicity and levels of income. This predominantly links to the comparison of subordinate groups which are the ethnic minority, and the dominant groups which are the Anglo-Saxon communities. The hierarchy aspect is evident through the notion of ethnic segregation within the suburb of Cabramatta through the measurement of spatial patterns. Winchester et. al (2003) claims that at the start of the twentieth century, geographers argued that landscapes , as part of biophysical environment generally determined the nature of the cultures which existed within them. Cabramatta is a symbolically contested landscape (Dunn, 1998). In some people’s eyes Cabramatta is a violent, gang wealthy drug haven. Whereas minority of people see is as a celebrated icon of Australia’s cultural diversity. Figure 1 shows the Pai Lau Gateway in Cabramatta’s freedom plaza, representing the democracy and freedom to all cultures. This is delivered through the English phrase “The world is for us to share and to respect” which is located at the top of the image. The Gateway is heritage listed because of its significance to the community.
Figure 2 is an image of an Ox. The Ox correlates with the Pai Lau Gateway through the horns which are portrayed in this image. The horns are also evident on the top corners of the gateway. These are symbolic in a way which the horns symbolise the strength of the structure, making it sturdy like an ox. The Ox is one of twelve animals of the Chinese zodiac and they are important symbols in Vietnamese astrology. The Ox is a domestic animal which means it is an honest and hardworking. This can be related to the positioning of this sculpture which is located next to many businesses which represents to the community that honesty and hard work will bring wealth, as the Ox is particularly known for their hard work especially in china’s farming culture where the Ox means wealth as well.
The Cabramatta area provides social as much as economic opportunities. The diverse nature of Cabramatta allows for different business to be open by different cultures. In this figure we can see a Chinese business and a Vietnamese business open next to each other. This can be identified by the cultural writing on the business signs. Eating out is also a popular pastime in Cabramatta. Dozens of small restaurants serve Pho - an aromatic Vietnamese soup with special home-made beef stock, noodles, crisp vegetables, mint and other herbs, and side garnishes of chilli and lemon. Positive aspects of ethnic concentration are often ignored (Dunn 1993). With multiculturalism come cultural and traditional foods infused with modern specialties. For example the café ‘What the Fudge’ located on John Street serves an exotic fried Magnum and fried Gaytime ice-cream. This idea is the result of the traditional fried ice-cream of the Chinese culture innovated with the modern day ice-cream. Dunn (1993) states that employment conditions can often be exploitative. Healy drew upon evidence collected by the textile and clothing workers’ union to characterise Cabramatta and other ethnic concentrations as places of highly exploitative Asian outworking in the garment industry (Healy, 1996, p. 28). By having a wide variety of businesses, it gives the suburb employment opportunities for new immigrants as well as...
References: Dunn, KM 1998, ‘Rethinking ethnic concentration: the case of Cabramatta, Sydney’, Urban Studies, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 503-27.
Dunn, KM 1993, ‘The Vietnamese concentration in Cabramatta: site of avoidance and deprivation, or island of adjustment and participation?’ Australian Geographical Studies, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 228-45.
Winchester, HPW, Kong, L & Dunn, KM 2003, 'Changing geographical approaches to cultural landscapes ', in Landscapes: ways of imagining the world, Pearson Education, London, pp. 10-34.
Fairfield City council < http://www.fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au/upload/stwru95196/Cabramatta.pdf. >
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