Domestic space and disability in nineteenth-century Melbourne
The spatial and the historical dimensions of disability have both been poorly documented and analysed. The spatial social sciences—geography, urban planning and architecture—have either largely ignored or trivialized the issue of disability. The discipline of History has also paid scant attention to the question of disability. This paper contributes to the historical–geographical understanding of disability in Australia by exploring the spatial context of physical impairment in nineteenth-century Melbourne. The paper seeks (i) to locate disabled people in nineteenth-century Melbourne by showing where and how they lived; and (ii) to illustrate the socio-spatial relations that shaped their lives. A range of primary and secondary materials is consulted. The key primary source is the set of case records left by the Melbourne Ladies' Benevolent Society, the city's principal source of outdoor charity. Although the social geographical focus of the paper is on the historical domestic environment, the analysis also considers other key social spaces, notably institutional and employment settings. The paper traces some of the important socio-spatial relationships that connected domestic space to other key sites in disabled people's everyday lives.
Journal of Historical Geography
PRE2009-Urban and Regional Planning