Academic journal article Rural Society

Fear of Flying1

Academic journal article Rural Society

Fear of Flying1

Article excerpt

PORT AUGUSTA: A LOCAL/GLOBAL SITE

People everywhere are being propelled into a globalized existence that is marked by uncertainty. Here as in other nations, much of that is dependent on Australia's relationship to the recovery of the world economy. This paper is an attempt to reflect on the particular complexities of development for Aboriginal people within the town of Port Augusta. It draws upon theory outside of the health sciences as a means to reflect, and possibly arrive at, new understandings that would be of value to health and social service providers. The crossing of disciplinary borders is connected to a broad understanding of health and wellbeing and offers an analysis that is interdisciplinary as a reflection of the 'intersectoral'.

Explorations and collaborations outside of the health sector are not new in the field of Aboriginal health and they have set the pace for the development of primary health care in Australia. Gary Foley has reminded us, for example, that the development of Aboriginal community controlled health services, first developed in 1971 in Redfern Sydney, preceded the Alma Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care (World Health Organisation, 1978) and set the stage for primary health care development in Australia (Foley, 1982). The need for intersectoral collaboration was emphasised in the National Aboriginal Health Strategy in 1989 (National Aboriginal Health Strategy Working Party, 1989) and collaborative projects involving housing and health have been on the agenda since the 1970s. The work by Fred Hollows and his team in the mid 1970s in Central Australia, which drew attention to the dire or non-existent housing and water supply issues faced by Aboriginal communities and their impacts on people through diseases such as trachoma, are important examples (Royal Australian College of Ophthalmologists, 1980). A similar public and environmental health focus continued through the Report of Uwankara Palyanyku Kanyintjaku or the 'UPK Report' prepared by the Nganampa Health Council in 1987 (Nganampa Health Council Incorporated, South Australian Health Commission et al., 1987), which, with its nine strategies for healthy living, outlined much of what is now included in the social determinants of health (Wilkinson & Marmot, 2003). The focus on collaboration outside the health sector as outlined in the UPK Report is notable in the work between the medical director of Nganampa Health Council, Paul Torzillo (a member of Fred Hollow's 1970s team) and Paul Pholeros (an architect), and continues to provide important examples of the essential and commonsense need for intersectoral collaboration (Torzillo & Pholeros et al., 2008). This paper acknowledges this work and the work done by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in setting up Aboriginal community-controlled health services (which incidentally also involved Fred Hollows) and the involvement by the Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service in Sydney for sending a doctor to enable an Aboriginal health service to be set up at Davenport Community, 3 km outside Port Augusta in 1976 (Jones & Buzzacott et al., 2008, p. 21).

With this background of pushing boundaries in mind, this paper focuses on something rather less tangible than these practical and important examples of intersectoral collaboration. Philosophical positions held by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people affect the possibilities of intersectoral collaboration, and this paper explores the background and implications that these differences may have for addressing the social determinants of health for Aboriginal people. The author has chosen to explore this in relation to Port Augusta, a place in the mid-north of South Australia that is undergoing substantial change. The paper briefly explores the histories of Port Augusta and the events and attitudes that affect the way changes are enacted, rejected, dismissed or ignored in Port Augusta. The discourse concerns matters such as 'space', 'place', 'home', 'stranger', terms used in sociology, human geography, cultural studies, architecture and communication studies (see, for example, Massey 1994; Ahmed 2000; Memmott & Long 2002; Halfacree 2007). …

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