This article outlines a recent pilot project in Bendigo that collected baseline data in order to develop a preliminary understanding of regional migration experiences. The literature indicated that migrant experiences in Australian regional communities are under-researched. Sixty participants from South East Asia, who have migrated to Bendigo, Victoria within the last five years, completed a mixed-methods survey. The key findings reported upon are socio-structural factors, social connectedness and psychosocial well-being. Crucial factors such as culture, spirituality and non-English-language, link to the more complex issues of personal, social and cultural identity. These findings are significant in adding to the limited data and discussion about newly arrived migrants in rural and regional communities. There are sociological implications from this preliminary data concerning social capital and psychosocial well-being. There are also implications for policy development and professional practice for migration to rural and regional communities.
The recent migratory movement known as Seachange is investigated in this article through the concept of place. Using Smith’s ‘Elementary Forms of Place’ model as a guide, and textual/media analysis coupled with qualitative research as examples, it is argued that the Seachange narrative is constructed on a dichotomous relationship to the city. While metropolitan areas are perceived as dull, stressful and degrading, the country and beach are sacralized through narratives of peace, quiet and serenity. Furthermore, the Seachange locales are also considered as places entrenched in the past, invoking aesthetics of traditional community values. Yet the sacralization of Seachange places is threatened by counter-narratives such as gentrification, commodification and sustainability issues which degrade the attractiveness of the locale.