School of Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts
Peter is a former Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Adelaide, retired since 31/12/2001 and presently continuing in a research-only affiliate capacity as a Visiting Research Fellow in the University’s Hugo Centre for Migration and Population Research. He was born in the UK and studied at Manchester University and the University of Oslo, Norway, before moving to Australia in 1960 to a position as Demonstrator in Geography at the University of New England, Armidale NSW. From 1963 to 1978 he held lectureships/senior lectureships in Geography at the University of Adelaide, Flinders University, and the University of Oslo, and from 1979 to 2001 again at the University of Adelaide.
Though now retired from teaching, Peter’s teaching career included courses on economic geography, social geography (especially the social geography of rural areas), theoretical human geography, methodology of geography, social survey, database analysis, and computer mapping techniques, geographical analysis of population, and the geography of soil resources. Most significant were (from 1979 to 2001) annual courses on rural social geography (including compulsory field work) at 3rd year undergraduate and Honours levels; and Honours level work on the philosophy and methodology of Geography.
Peter’s research is concerned with the social and economic organisation of rural space, and the understanding of grass-roots processes leading to population migration and demographic change in rural areas. He has been a pioneer in exposing the invisible geography of perceived local group identity, felt belonging and sense of place in rural areas, and the use of social catchments as spatial units in geographical analysis of community change. These catchments have been used as basic elements in investigations of the causes and consequences of rural population density, and the combined effects of falling density and changing mobility on the Australian settlement system. The relative importance of net rural density, remoteness, town size and population concentration as influences on community viability have been investigated in a series of studies. Working with two colleagues, Peter has been instrumental in developing a family of ageing indices applied to the investigation of differential ageing among various categories of Australian rural communities. Most recently Peter’s research has been focussed on the long-term impact of net migration and differential ageing on non-metropolitan Australian functional regions each dominated by a single dominant and rapidly growing city.
Social and economic organisation of rural space
Processes leading to population migration and demographic change in rural areas.
Perceived local group identity, felt belonging and sense of place in rural areas
The use of social catchments as spatial units in geographical analysis of community change.
Causes and consequences of rural population density and changing mobility on the Australian settlement system.
Ageing indices and differential ageing between Australian rural community types and within non-metropolitan functional regions.
Date Position Institution name 2005 Visiting Research Fellow University of Adelaide
Language Competency Danish Can read, write, speak and understand spoken French Can read German Can read Norwegian Can read, write, speak and understand spoken Swedish Can read
Date Institution name Country Title 2006 Flinders University Australia PhD 1961 University of Manchester United Kingdom M.A. 1960 University of Manchester United Kingdom Graduate Cetrtificate in Education 1956 University of Manchester United Kingdom BA Honours Class I
Dr. Smailes is now retired from teaching but formerly taught a wide variety of courses in human geography.
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