Campsites and caravans as informal housing

Ms Philippa Chandler1

1University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia


Every winter, thousands of retired Australians tow their caravans to the northern parts of the country to enjoy a warmer winter. These ‘grey nomads’ set up seasonal encampments in commercial caravan parks, national parks and pastoral stations. The remote Ningaloo region of Western Australia is an example of an area that receives a seasonal influx of grey nomads, many of whom return every year. This paper uses ethnographic research in the caravan parks and campsites of the Ningaloo region to argue that these campsites are significant forms of alternative housing.


Philippa Chandler is a sessional lecturer in the School of Geography at the University of Melbourne. Her PhD about repeat visitors to the remote Ningaloo Reef region of WA was recently passed subject to minor corrections. Philippa is also a freelance journalist who writes about Australian arts and culture for Guardian Australia.


The Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) is the principal body representing geographers and promoting the study and application of geography in Australia. It was founded in 1958 and since then has promoted, supported and defended Australian geography.

IAG Website

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