Principal place of residence? : long term caravan park residents in rural Australia

Greenhalgh, Emma (2003) Principal place of residence? : long term caravan park residents in rural Australia. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


This thesis explores the importance of caravan parks as a provider of long term housing in rural areas. Previous research on caravan parks in the Australian housing system focused on the metropolitan and coastal regions, with little analysis given over to parks in rural areas. There is a similar dearth of research on rural housing in Australia. In previous housing studies rural housing has been discussed as a residual of that in the capital cities. In many instances, rural areas are absorbed into broader metropolitan/non-metropolitan constructs. This is despite the complexity and range of housing issues in rural places. This research has brought these two fields together, particularly to determine whether the problems in the rural housing market are a factor for people living in caravan parks. Previous studies on caravan parks have demonstrated that caravan park residents have socio-economic characteristics that would make it difficult for them to access housing. They have low incomes, a reliance on government benefits and higher mobility rates compared to the general population. Caravan park residents have a greater propensity to poverty. Thus for these residents, caravan parks offer housing that is affordable and accessible. In many instances it is housing of last resort, or housing used in times of crisis. Previous research into rural housing has found that rural areas have greater incidences of after housing poverty as a result of lower incomes. There are also problems of housing accessibility, particularly for specific groups, such as the aged, youth, and the disabled. Rural areas also are encountering the migration of 'urban refugees'. This group has high levels of need which creates a further strain on a market. The Shires of Chinchilla and Murilla in Queensland were selected as case studies because they they have a stable caravan park industry and they are rural without being remote. Interviews were undertaken with a variety of individuals representing a range of organisations. This included a large sample of long-term caravan park residents. The residents who participated in the research were, similarly to the general profile of park residents, disadvantaged. They also had low incomes with a reliance on government benefits. The majority of the residents had located to the case study region from the South-East of the State. It was also found that the majority of residents migrated to the area and immediately moved into a caravan park. Interestingly, there were no family households in the park, and very few young people. Also, caravan parks were not utilised as crisis accommodation. This is attributed to the discriminatory practices of the park operators as a form of 'risk management'. This research found that caravan parks play an important role in the housing system of rural areas. Specifically, they are not a residual form of the dominant tenures, but are a separate component of the housing market. Many residents did not consider the broader housing market, and immediately moved into the park. Residents did not explicitly consider their housing choice within the context of the broader market. While housing related issues did arise, the majority of residents individualised their experiences; that is, their housing experience is related to their own individual situation and not because of any problems in the market.

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ID Code: 16706
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Minnery, John & Roberts, Brian
Keywords: Caravan parks, long-term caravan park resident, rural housing, marginalised
Department: Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Emma Greenhalgh
Deposited On: 03 Dec 2008 04:08
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:51

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