A multicultural model of the intergenerational absorption of ethnic immigrant groups is proposed. A recently developed methodology to facilitate comparative assessment of the absolute spatial context of ethnic group concentrations is used to analyze segregation dynamics in Australia's three main contemporary immigrant-receiving cities. Ethnic enclaves emerge as transitory phenomena in the Australian urban context. In the absence of significant social discrimination, ethnic group segregation is seen to relate to economic factors. A segmented assimilation approach brings out relevant features of Australia's immigration history as: recency of arrival; the significance of the post-1945 long economic boom compared with the subsequent period of economic restructuring since the early 1970s; the ending of the White Australia policy in the early 1970s; and a distinction between skilled and refugee entry. Intergenerational evidence supports a view of Australian multiculturalism as "assimilation in slow motion."