The Australian Museum Of Squatting
A celebration and documentation of Australians putting abandoned and disused property to good use.
What this site is about: During the twentieth and twenty-first centuries individuals, collectives and sometimes whole movements in Australia have taken over abandoned and disused property and put it to good use.Whether this has been to provide housing or to create spaces for community use the practice has gone to the heart of property relations challenging the right of governments and private companies to allow land, house and buildings to remain unused whilst others are forced to pay rent or go homeless. In challenging waste and speculation, and by raising human rights above property ones, squatters have often come into conflict with the laws, police and courts employed to maintain the status quo. They have also been misrepresented in the mainstream media and portrayed as either hopeless charity cases or selfish, dangerous deviants. Despite having the legal and economic odd stacked against them generations of squatters have turned unoccupied properties and land into homes, social centres, womens’ refuges and cultural venues learning valuable skills along the way. This website is all about documenting and celebrating the lives, cultures and places these squatters have transformed.
What this site is not about: Many Australians either associate squatting with anti-social activity (which this site will hopefully help debunk) or with the eighteenth and nineteenth century practice of British settlers and freed convicts claiming uncolonised land following the murder and forcible removal of Indigenous Australians. Despite some of these invaders losing their lives and livestock to Indigenous resistance the majority prevailed destroying and damaging Indigenous cultures and the native environment in the process. Many of these squatters subsequently used their stolen wealth to move themselves up the social pile and become a powerful economic and political force during the nineteenth century. Some founded dynasties which continue to own and dominate pastoral, mining and other Australian industries today. Despite the occasional attempt by some to employ Indigenous people or provide charity the majority of these modern day scions remain at the forefront of Indigenous dispossession opposing land rights, treaties and native title claims whilst continuing to forcibly open up Indigenous lands to exploitation. This website is not about documenting this kind of squatter.
What this website includes: Over the coming months and years we will gather together stories, posters, stickers, articles from mainstream and alternative media, video clips, radio interviews and documentaries, photos and much,much more spanning squatting history from the 1940s to the present day. In doing so we hope that the Museum Of Australian Squatting will provide insights into Australia’s squatting heritage and inspiration to those taking up the practice today. Contributions can be sent to us via firstname.lastname@example.org