A Curriculum of Migrant Home:

Settler Geographies, Land and Colonial Place-making


  • Bryan Smith James Cook University




In this article, I examine two ideas that have provoked me to reconsider my relationship to decolonising work as a settler. First, I consider the idea of home and the grounds, both material and symbolic, that make such “home-making” possible as a settler moving between states with similar aggressive investments in what Aileen Moreton-Robinson (2015) calls white possessive logics. Second, I take up a practice increasingly common in Australia – Welcomes to Country – that complicates how land is positioned as a space for people to gather. While I don’t suggest that Welcomes to Country are a panacea that resolve settler co-opting of acknowledgements as a tool of innocence (Asher, Curnow, & Davis, 2018), there is something inherently disruptive in Welcomes that might prove ethically instructive for those of us who find ourselves migrating within the settler-colonial sphere as we seek to make new homes.

Author Biography

Bryan Smith, James Cook University

Bryan Smith is a Lecturer at James Cook University in Queensland, Australia. His work explores commemorative practices and their role in shaping everyday colonial historical geographies. Currently, his work looks at how street naming practices in Australian communities write everyday colonial narratives into the urban geography, producing taken-for-granted narratives of the past that simultaneously create the places we live.