Australian and New Zealand Communication Association
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communication and Arts/Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
This paper addresses intersections of communication, technology and geography in remote areas of Western Australia. It uses verbatim accounts from fieldwork bracketing decades of communication development to explore changes and constants in the micro-geographical exchange strategies of people living in the remote northwest of Australia. It articulates the continuing irony that the Australians who most need reliable and effective communications are those who experience the greatest difficulty in accessing them. We contend that geographical isolation and continuing problems with the reliability and reach of communication technologies in remote Western Australia have cultivated a robust community in which flexibility, resilience and interdependence redress, to some degree, the vulnerability remote communities often experience—especially in times of stress or crisis. The paper includes historical interviews from the 1980s and contemporary (2012) interviews carried out as part of an ARC Linkage-funded project, 2012-14, with industry partner Landgate, a Western Australian government entity.