Using a new approach to classifying migrant group concentrations, we test for evidence of the effects of globalisation, associated by some with 'protopostmodernity', on two Australian cities. Sydney is characterised as an emergent world city and a focus of 'new economy' activities. Melbourne is associated with 'old economy' activities, dominated by manufacturing. In the Australian context, the onset of globalisation also coincided with significant changes to immigration policy: the end of a 'white Australia' policy in the early 1970s in favour of a skills-based policy, regardless of race or ethnicity. We argue that the evidence of the spatial behaviour of ethnic groups for these two cities highlights the essential continuity of ethnic segregation and spatial assimilation processes in two cities where segregation levels and experience are fundamentally different from many overseas examples. We further argue for a need to recognise that context, and the ethnic experience, are everywhere different, both intra- and internationally.