Sydney’s Iberoamerican Plaza and the Limits of Multiculturalism

  • Sarah WalshEmail author
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


Since the 1970s, immigration has been one of the primary means of understanding connections between Australia and a variety of Latin American nations. However, when compared to the number of Asian migrants arriving in Australia in the same period, Latin Americans are often overlooked. Instead, they are contextualized as part of Australia’s turn toward multiculturalism that was first officially sanctioned by Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. Using Sydney’s Iberoamerican Plaza as a case study, this chapter considers the conceptual limits to multicultural representation in late twentieth-century Australia. Specifically, the chapter demonstrates how the construction, maintenance, and legacy of the plaza were very much affected by a general lack of understanding among Sydney city officials about Latin American, Spanish, and Portuguese cultures and traditions (and the distinctions between them). It also demonstrates that attempting to include a large number of stakeholders as well as shifts in government policy often hampers multiculturalist efforts of this sort.



I would like to thank Warwick Anderson, Miranda Johnson, Ben Silverstein, and Robert Aldrich for giving feedback on earlier versions of this article. The Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship “Race and Ethnicity in the Global South” supported research for this article. I also received support from the European Research Council Project “The Colour of Labour” 695573, PI: Cristiana Bastos.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Washington State UniversityPullmanUSA

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