Brief History of the European Immigration to Australia

Hello everybody, I am French from Paris and I lived in Sydney for 2 years, I would like to introduce to you a short history of the European immigration to Sydney…

Australia belongs from a strong European immigration started from 1606 by the Dutch and Spanish who discover first the Australian coast known as the New Holland by the European explorers and traders. It was not until 1770 when the British, Captain James Cook and Joseph Banks sailed into Botany Bay in 1780 under the command of Governor Arthur Phillip. It wasn’t long before the colony established itself and for the next 60 years it would be the new home to unwanted, persecuted and criminal elements of British society. Then the discovery of gold in 1851 in New South Wales and Victoria transform demographically Australia from 437,655 to 1,151,947 of population and most of them were European immigrants.

A nation is born; the Commonwealth of Australia was formed in 1901 through the federation of six states under a single constitution. Half of the people lived in cities, three-quarters were born in Australia, and the majority were of English, Scottish or Irish descent. One of the first acts of the new Commonwealth Parliament was to limited migration to people of primarily European origin. This was dismantled progressively after the Second World War.

The perils of war, and the divisive impact of post-war Russian control of Eastern Europe made millions homeless in the late 1940s. Visiting Europe in 1947, Calwell therefore agreed to accept a minimum of 12,000 of these refugees a year. During the seven years this scheme operated, nearly 171,000 arrived. When this source came to an end, the Federal Government negotiated a series of migration agreements including with the Netherlands and Italy (1951), Austria, Belgium, West Germany, Greece and Spain (1952), and the United States, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland (1954). In these immediate post war years Australia was second only to Israel in the proportion of migrants accepted. As a result, Australian society became markedly less British and Irish in character. At the 1961 census, eight per cent of the population was non-British in origin with the largest group being Italians followed by Germans, Greeks and Poles.

Renewed prosperity in Europe has also meant that, where once Italians and Greeks made up the majority of non-British new arrivals, today, after New Zealand, it is people from China, South Africa and India. Conflicts overseas have also meant that Australia is now taking refugees from countries previously unrepresented.

Today Australia has a global, non-discriminatory policy and is home to people from more than 200 countries.

According to the Australian bureau of statistics in mid-2006 the European countries where most of the Australian resident population was born.

The source: Immigration to Australia During the 20th Century – Historical Impacts on Immigration Intake, Population Size and Population Composition – A Timeline

This is a post by lavictory.

Country of Birth

Estimated Resident Population

United Kingdom 1,153,264
Italy 220,469
Greece 125,849
Germany 114,921
Poland 59,221
Ireland 57,338
Croatia 56,540
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