This discussion paper is a sociological account of the history of successful urban Aboriginal community development by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal people in the Australian city of Newcastle. It endeavours to explain the strategy that Aboriginal people in Newcastle have adopted for taking matters into their own hands, putting themselves ‘in the driver’s seat’ of their own affairs. In doing so, it identifies two phases – a community building phase and a community development phase – and describes some of the key social processes at play during each phase. The paper also describes the importance of community building and community development to the creation of urban Aboriginal social infrastructure, which it argues is really at the crux of Indigenous self-determination in Newcastle.
Keywords: Aboriginal community development, social processes, urban Aboriginal social infrastructure, self-determination