Geographia Polonica (1995) vol. 66

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Regional cities in Australia's changing urban system

Andrew Beer

Geographia Polonica (1995) vol. 66, pp. 33-50

Abstract

Previous work on the urban system in Australia emphasised metropolitan primacy. Australia developed in the nineteenth century as six separate colonies with economic activity concentrated in the capitals, which also served as the principal ports. This pattern persisted into the twentieth century and was reinforced by national industry protection policies. There is evidence that Australia's urban system is changing. Since the mid-1970s there has been growth in the number and total population of regional cities. It is argued that this growth is a product of restructuring and the de-regulation of the Australian economy. Regional cities have become more prominent in the national economy as centres for manufacturing, as a consequence of the growth of tourism and recreation industries, through the decline in some areas of smaller urban settlements and as a result of new mining developments. The growth of regional cities challenges established notions on the nature and future development of Australia's urban system and suggests that these centres will become more prominent in Australian economic, social and political life.

Keywords: Urban system, Australia, Regional cities growth, restructuring, national urban system

Andrew Beer, Geography Discipline, Faculty of Social Sciences, Flinders University of South Australia GPO Box 2100 Adelaide, South Australia, 5001