Ethnographic Portrait of CARLTON, a suburb in Melbourne, AUS essay

Ethnographic Portrait of CARLTON6

EthnographicPortrait of CARLTON, a suburb in Melbourne, AUS

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Ethnographicresearch helps students understand more about people, and theiractivities in any given location.According to Poles &amp Morrison(2003, 3), one of the characteristics of ethnographic is the use ofvarious data collection methods, which can help in understandingsocial behaviors and traits. More so, ethnography entails dataanalysis to understand concepts, and theories of data collected.Originally, Melbourne was the home of the Wurundjeripeople, who belonged to Woiwurrung language group. Following theEuropean settlement in Australia, Melbourne ecosystem wassignificantly damaged as the new settlers cleared room forsettlement.Thecreation of Carlton Suburb can be traced in the 1850s during the Gold-Rush era, which brought many immigrants to Melbourne City. Carltonwas an extension city where immigrants especially the Italianssettled and built a new home in the new land ( nd).The rationale of this essay is to discuss the ethnographic researchof Carlton such as demographic, culture, economic aspects, andactivities and experience of the people in this suburb.


Carltonwas selected because of its high influence both socially andeconomically to the city of Melbourne. Therefore, the closeness toMelbourne University makes it a better study area, since Carlton hasa high number of students, and their experience is critical tounderstanding Carlton and ethnographic-educational research. More so,this suburb is a major area of study because it helps educationstudents and graduates understand how to relate and work withmultiple races both indigenous and foreigners. However, having beenraised from an English-speaking family, my visit to Carlton raisedsome question on how I will fit to be a teacher in a multiculturalcommunity. What should I do to become a better teacher in thiscommunity?


Carltonis one of the fastest growing suburbs in Melbourne. Melbourne has 15suburbs, which are growing swiftly and they comprise people from allcultures and races. Carlton suburb is located 2 kilometers North ofMelbourne city, and it significant to the Melbourne economy since itis the center of local government area in Melbourne. Following thesignificance of this suburb and its proximity to Melbourne, over theyears, its population has been growing steadily for instance, in2011, Carlton had a population of 14,109 people( Carlton is bordered by prestigious areas such as MelbourneUniversity, which is one of the best institutions of higher learningin Australia, attracting thousands of foreign and local students.


Carltonhas been a home to Italian and Jewish immigrants in the past. Thesuburb is often referred to as “Little Italy” following the largeItalian population as compared to other races.Today, Carlton is ahome to many races and students constitute 35% of Carlton’spopulation ( 32.7% of Carlton resident were born in Australia, andthey comprise mixed races. Chinese are the dominant (9.7%) Asian racein Carlton followed by Malaysia at 9.0%, Singapore population standsat 3.9% Indonesia is 3.5% and Hong Kong 2.4%. Minority races arefrom Italy, Thailand, Somalia, England, and Sri Lanka among others( 2013).

Accordingto, Carlton median age is 25 years, and the ratio of female tomale is higher (52%:48%). It is imperative to note that Carlton playsa vital role in the overall development of Melbourne city since thesuburb contributes about 15% of Melbourne municipality workforce( 2013). According to, Carlton population can be subdivided into three under 15years, 15-65 years, and above 65 years. Findings show that thatpeople between 15-65 years are the majority (87.2%) followed by thesegment below 15 years (7.3%), and the senior citizens are the least(5.6%), therefore, the suburb has a rich workforce.

Englishis the most common language used by more than 40.3% of Carltonresidents. Other common languages spoken are Mandarin, which is usedby 10.9% of Carlton residents, Cantonese is used by 5.8%, Indonesianis spoken by 2.5%, Arabic is used by 1.7%,and Italian is used by 1.5%of Carlton population ( 2013). Majorities (33.5%)of Carlton residents have no religion affiliations, 14.5% areCatholics, and 14.3% have not been clearly stated. 9.6% are Buddhist,9.1% are Islam, 3.7 % are Anglican, Hindu comprise 2.0%, and 1.6%Carlton residents follow the Christian faith of the Presbyterianbeliefs. It is essential to note that 6.9% of Carlton’s residentsare married, 74.6% have never ever been married, and about 4.9% aredivorced while 1.6% has separated( 2013).

Socialand Cultural

Havingbeen a home to Italian immigrants during the Gold –rush, Carltonhas a rich Italian culture such as restaurants and food at LygonStreet Italian precinct.Even in the present day, Carlton has a rich Italian cultural heritageand people from other parts of Australia visit the suburb to enjoyvast Italian cuisines. Since the city was a home to the Wurundjeripeople, their social and culture heritage is still felt and enjoyedby the native tribes. Additionally, it is critical to understand thatCarlton was not only a home to Jews and Italians. Rather, it was ahome to many immigrants such as Greeks, Ethiopians, and Lebanese, andtheir cultures are felt though not as dominant as the Italianculture. Today, the suburbhas a growing Asian community, and it is becoming a student precinct.

Afterthe World War II, Melbourne began creating green gardens in thesuburbs. Carlton has vibrant green gardens, and this makes it atourist hub. For instance, “A Walk in GrandAllee Garden” is one of the moments that I have cherished aboutCarlton since the environment is well preserved.More so,the vast Italian population made significant contributions tothe housing sector through influencing Carlton housing sector withItalian architect. For example, Piazza Italian project depicts therich Italian culture in Carlton in the 21stcentury to build “Little Italy community”.


Carlton is an important area of the city of Melbourne since the areaprovides 15% workforce, and its Italian restaurants collect vastrevenue. One of the main economic aspects in this area is hospitalitydepicted by vast restaurants and different cuisines. More so, in thepresent day, real estate is becoming a booming business as the demandfor better housing rises following rapid population increment. Today,many nations are reaping high from real estate, and this is the samecase with Carlton suburb. Entertainment is another key economicaspect in Carlton since the suburb is a tourist attraction sitefollowing green gardens and good food. Carlton has an unemploymentrate of 13.8%, and only 29.6% have full- time employment.



Thecreation of Carlton was largely due to its proximity to Melbournecity. Immigrants settled in this area since it was cheaper and notfar from the city. Today, the Carlton suburb is a home to manypeople, and this is following its geographic positioning, which isstrategic to Melbourne economic growth.


Rangeof Experiences

Anyonevisiting Carlton will enjoy a wide of experience from good food,friendly people, and a rich education culture. About 45% of Carltonresidents have an education background, and 79% are pursuing highereducation. A visit to the “Languages&amp Multicultural Education Resource Centre” is evident thatCarlton value education since the center provides educationassistance to teachers from across Carlton. The center was selectedbecause it holds vast history and experiences regarding the past andthe current Carlton culture. It is imperative to note that data isessential in education, and this center has been helpful in availingeducation material and data to teachers from all sectors.“Languages&amp Multicultural Education Resource Centre” is a meeting pointwhere young and old, local and foreign Carlton residents meet andinteract. Hence, this gave the researcher sufficient study group forCarlton ethnographic research.


Theservice industry is the largest source of employment in Carlton.There are about 43.5%professionals in various fields, and theircontributions help in advancing Carlton and Melbourne city. Some ofthe typical professionals are teachers or lecturers, doctors, andnurses among others since the suburb border an institution of higherlearning. Additionally, 12.3% offer clerical services in both privateand public institutions such as the local government offices. Otherservice providers are community workers (9.9%), manager7.9%, sales representatives are 7.9%, trade workers, and techniciansconstitute 6.5 %, 4.3% are laborers while 1.8% services are offeredby Machinery operators &amp drivers. Apart from professionalservices, Carlton resident gets employment from science and technicalservices, healthcare and social services, food industries, retailtrade, education and training, telecommunication and media,administrative, real estate, and financial and insurance servicesamong others.

Inrelation to education, Carlton has several education centers thatoffer education services to its residents. The Center for the Studyof Higher Education plays a fundamental role in shaping Carltoneducation since the center provides students with vast knowledge andskills. Carlton Neighborhood Center contributes significantly to theeducation system since the center provides residents with variousprograms such as IT courses, which improve the lives of many peoplethrough empowerment and job creation. Consequently, MelbourneLanguage Center also plays a significant role in building Carltonthe center specializes in English, and it has helped many studentsand locals study English for study or business purposes. It isimperative to note that though these education service providersequip Carlton residents with vast skills these centers offer directand indirect employment to many people as well.

Sitesand Opportunities

Thereare several sites such as Green Gardens and Landmarks, which greatlybeautify Carlton Suburb. More so, there are several opportunities forstudents and locals such as the “Languages &amp MulticulturalEducation Resource Centre,” which play a vital role in improvingCarlton education. For two decades, the center has been a productiveplace for educationists, and students since it offers various datathat improve the education spectrum in Carlton, and Melbourne ingeneral. For instance, the center has rich information pool aboutlanguages, multicultural education, values of education, andindigenous studies among others (Canning &amp Thiele, 2010 1). Theavailability of data on indigenous studies can help educationists andstudent understand and appreciate Native cultures, and create harmonybetween various Aboriginal groups. Additionally, Melbourne Universityis another core education site that offers thousands of local andinternational students with case education resources since it has anequipped library provide vast Carlton history.

GrandAllee Garden

Aboriginaland Torres Strait Islander Groups

Carltonwas primarily a home to the Wurundjeri people before the Europeansettlers. To the native tribes, Carlton is an important educational,social, sports and cultural area that bring together various people.Other indigenous tribes that inhabited Melbourne are Boonwurrung,Taungurong, Wathaurung, and the Dja Dja Wurrung groups( 2010, 11). Today, many Melbourne suburbs such asCarlton are a hub of Victorian Aboriginal communities. Severalreasons exist for the choice of the communities. The reasons aremainly tied on the community traits. Carlton residents value andrespect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups since this isone of the most important cultural protocols in Melbourne. Accordingto (2010 17), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islandergroups are the oldest inhabitants in Victoria, and before theEuropean settlers, there were between 20,000 to 60,000 people, whospoke about 30 languages. In the recent past, the numbers ofAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups have been increasingespecially in schools. For instance, there is about 1.6% ofAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups in government schoolsand the number continue to rise.

Severalhistorical sites exist in Carlton that date back to the centuriesago, but some sites came into existence after the suburb was created.One of the most important historical sites in Carlton are the CarltonGardens, which hold a rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islandergroups culture of environmental conservation. Indigenous people valueland and the preservation of these Carlton gardens depict therichness of native culture. The Melbourne Museum and Museum Victoriaare two famous Carlton historic sites, and they share many heritagesto indigenous people. More so, Carlton is rich for its RoyalExhibition Building, which is an iconic center of Melbourne events( 2009, 4).

Understandingof Carlton and its Learners

Accordingto Pole &ampMorrison (2003, Xii), the use of ethnographic researchmethod is becoming arguably one of the most important educationmethods since it helps researchers gather a variety of data, andconduct an extensive analysis. The primary data for the researchincluded the information that were collected first hand. Theinformation included that which is collected from observation. Thesecondary sources of information include the various publicationsthat have been made. They include information contained in journals,books and the relevant websites. Therefore, through primary andsecondary data analysis, I have has thorough analyzed Carlton andhave found that Carlton is one of the most important Suburb inMelbourne. An essential element about Carlton and its learners is therich multicultural dimension that dates from the 1850s, when Carltonbecame a home to hundreds of European immigrants(Gaztambide-Fernándezet al., 2011, 2.).Through observation, I have learnt the actual history, which is nottainted by the media, and I have learnt the significance of thissuburb. For instance, the suburb is of great significant to migrants,as well as, native tribes understanding cultural heritage of eachgroup is imperative to build harmony.

Today,Carlton is a home to many races both native and foreign and throughprimary and secondary data collected it is evident that Carltonresidents have embraced cultural diversity. For example, Carlton is ahome to many Chinese, Arabs, Italians, and native tribes and thesepeople live in harmony. More so, cultural heritage has led to theconstruction of Pizza project, which gives Italian living in Carltona cultural heritage and legacy. However, research shows that whenevera person of group wishes to start a major project related to landuse, indigenous tribes must be consulted and involved in decision-making to enhance harmony.

The study of people regarding culture, behavior, and language canhelp a teacher equip himself accordingly to avoid culture shock andbarrier in delivering services. For example, research shows that inthe past, many indigenous families in Victoria were separated withtheir children than in other states. Understanding the psychologicalpain the natives underwent can help a teacher handle students withcare, and establish a better classroom relation by respecting theirhistory. History is imperative to modern studies since it helpspeople understand past events, and make better changes to avoidrepeating past crises. For example, the use of ethnographic researchcan help Carlton residents and learners to embrace the concept ofrespect for Aboriginal cultures to avoid misunderstanding and humanright violations.

Accordingto this ethnographic research, it is evident that Carlton is one ofthe most prestigious suburbs since it offers Melbourne employment,and a steady source of revenue. In the recent past, the numbers ofindigenous students have been rising, and this is a positive elementin the education sector and Carlton future development. Professionalsaccount the highest percentage of workers, and this shows thateducation is an essential element that should be emphasized in thesuburb. Carlton ethnographic research indicates that there is aproblem nonetheless since most Aboriginal students are oftendisadvantaged at the classroom. For instance, native children have alow participation and attainment rate due to an inadequate educationcurriculum in most parts of the country. Understanding challengesfacing minority groups can help Carlton learners conduct bettereducative research on how to solve the existing problems( nd, 4).Consequently, understanding Carltonethnographic research can help students understand the suburb better,and address issues facing teachers in Carlton suburb.

IssuesFacing Carlton Service Providers, learners and Educators

Educationis one of the most important aspects of the modern world since itshapes students, and equips vast knowledge to improve live sociallyand economically through job creation (McCulloch2004). However,many learners, service providers, and educators often face somechallenges following language, life experiences, and culturediversity. Language barrier is one of the most common issues facingpeople in multicultural regions since this affects service deliveryand education success. More so, from primary and secondary dataanalysis, it is evident that most aboriginal children have problemsin class participation, and this could be due language complexity.Hence, failure to understand language and culture diversity canhinder a teacher from connecting efficiently with students, andhelping them accordingly.

Consequently,Carlton educators experience some problems when they fail to considerthe relationship between culture and language, especially wheninteracting with Aboriginal students (Connell2009). Accordingto several researches on ethnography of education, it is evident thatteachers, who take some time to understand the cultural backgroundand experiences of their students, successfully form a strong bond,and this makes education experience efficient ( Additionally, Carlton has been undergoing a rigorousdemographic change for instance, in the 1850s, Italians were themajority race, but today, Asians have the highest immigrantpopulation. It is estimated that the Carlton population will increaseat a fast late mostly because of vast immigration to the suburb.Therefore, as the demographic changes, educators will face achallenge since they must modify the curriculum to accommodate allstudents, and must strive to study learners’ background andhistories. Additionally, the 21stcentury is characterized by globalization, and this concept isaffecting education systems in most parts of Australia such asCarlton suburb. Hence, the pressure to embrace globalization has anegative aspect since educators are expected to possess certainskills to prepare learners adequately. In the past, educationcurriculum was formulated from local needs, but this has beenchanging over the years, and it is a challenge to educators (Gannon2009).

AlthoughCarlton has an average number of people with education background,much is needed to be achieved to ensure the number is higher. One ofthe issues that are affecting Carlton learners is language diversitysince Carlton is a home of immigrants. For instance, at the“Languages &amp Multicultural Education Resource Centre,” thereare several posters, and flyers that seek to help immigrants learnEnglish as the first way of integrating them into the community. Moreso, some Carlton learners come from abusive families or wereseparated from their families in the past. Hence, to help thesestudents, an educator must understand the Maslow theory to comprehendeach learners needs, and how these needs can be achieved to enhanceeducation and social growth.

Maslowtheory of needs has five levels the four bottom levels mainly targetpsychological needs while the top segment focus on growth needs. Theinverted pyramid starts with psychological needs at the bottom, andfrom level to level, a person attains self -actualizing needs.Therefore, for Carlton students to achieve their education needs, ateacher has to understand their psychological needs, and help themmeet these needs from one level to the other. It is imperative tonote that very few often climb up the segment of needs, and thismeans that as a teacher, I must put effort into helping my studentsmeet their psychological needs to achieve self-actualizing needs inthe end. For instance, every child want to feel loved, safe, andsense of belonging, and without achieving these needs, no matter howhard a teacher works, he or she cannot help the child meet hiseducation growth. Hence, I will strive to motivate my students toembrace who they are and work on fulfilling their psychological needsto help them study and grow educationally.

Maslowtheory of needs

Themesand Reflection

Myvisit to Carlton has changed my perception of Suburbs largelyinhabited by foreigners. In my mind, I thought such a suburb wouldhave high crime rates and dirty streets since people associateimmigrants with poverty. One of the lessons that I learnt is thatdespite being a home to many foreigners, Carlton is well managed, hasclean streets, trimmed gardens, and friendly people who arehardworking. I also noted that Carlton is a hub of education, andmany students across the world have settled in this area. Thefriendly environment and good food from all races makes Carlton amulticultural region and a tourist hub. My Visit to the “Languages&amp Multicultural Education Resource Centre” also changed myperception about Carlton. At the center, I saw all sorts of peopleand their hunger for information proved to me that Carlton has arising population of elites, and this is a positive element in termsof development. Working in this community will be enjoyable since thepeople are friendly, but the changing demographic will require me tolearn more about each group to assist my pupil efficiently. I seemyself as an inclusive educator who will focus on the unique needs ofmy students because I have realized the significance of multiculturalaspects in education.

Relationshipto the Project

Ethnographicresearch about Carlton has given me wide information that is notavailable in the mainstream media. One of the elements that thisproject has evoked in me is the application of ethnography data as acredible source of data collection method. Research accounts ofothers can help a researcher understand a topic better, but havingfirsthand information from the ground can be even more meaningful. Ihave realized that ethnography is one of the methods that I should beusing since it provides a wide pool of education, and analysis.Therefore, the use of ethnography will be a valuable method inunderstanding Carlton and its education system to improve learningexperiences.

Inconclusion, the application of ethnographic research method can beone of the most significant qualitative methods since it helps theresearcher analyze primary and secondary data accordingly tounderstand the topic. Through an analysis of primary and secondarydata about Carlton suburb, I have found that this method ismeaningful in education since it emphasizes on people, custom andcultures that form the community, and how each group interact tocreate the Carlton suburb. Ethnographic Portrait of Carlton showsthat over the years, Carlton has been evolving, and this calls for anew education approach and curriculum to create a better and aninformative education system. For instance, although the educationhas been accommodative to aboriginal groups, some changes are neededto change and improve the current system to cater for other minoritygroups to ensure that all students irrespective their culture andbackground get the best education.


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