Russian Immigration to Australia

Hello, I’m Russian member from the group Diverse Sydney and I’d like to present the theme about Russian Immigration to Australia.

Red Square, Moscow

Red Square, Moscow

Russian Immigration started at 19th century with the Russian expeditions, the purposes of which were to explore unknown regions of the Pacific Ocean and Antarctic. The Jackson’s port (nowadays Kirribilli) at Sydney was the main area of Russian ships, where seafarers repaired their ships and had a rest. Therewith, most of the Australian citizens, of that time, named this place as “Russian Promontory”.

Actually, the first Russian immigrant was a seafarer from one of the Russian ships named “Ladoga”, who ran to the Tasmanian forests and joined the group of the fugitive states convicts.

The main immigration started in 20th century. There were 5 waves of Russian immigration. They started after new social cataclysms in Russia.

In 1911, the first Russian colony “Small Siberia” was made on the plateau Atherton, northeastern Queensland. There were twelve men, seven women and more than ten children.

From 1917 until 1922, Australian government, frightened by revolution and Civil War in Russia, rejected Russian immigrants. Only under the pressure by the Western European countries, Australian government was forced to make concessions and to accept refugees.

In 1923, this pressure gave a chance for 70 Russians to come and live in Australia. Moreover, that wave brought Russian Orthodoxy in Australia. In 1926, the first Russian Orthodox Church was opened in Brisbane.

The third wave was held at Newcastle after World War II, there were more than 1500 Russians. They were brought there by ships for free, but they needed to work for two years in mines and fabrics. Afterwards, they were getting a citizenship and were able to start their own businesses.

The fourth wave was from 1949 until 1960 there were brought the biggest amount of Russians, thousands of people, most of them were from North of China from the city Harbin, which was Russian colony full of Russian schools and churches.

The fifth wave started after USSR collapsed and Russian borders were opened. New Russian immigrants came to Australia, which had a huge development of Russian culture in Australia.

Nowadays, Russian society situates at the megapolises such as Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, etc.

Russian immigrants opened restaurants, shops, churches and clubs all over the Australia. At Sydney, there are few suburbs where you can find Russian culture: Bondi Junction, Sutherland, Strathfield, etc.

Interesting facts:

The first Australian and Soviet citizen who got a Nobel Prize was Alexander Prokhorov who was born in Australia in 1916 in the family, which lived at the colony “Small Siberia”.

Myer” Australia’s largest department store, which you can find all over the Sydney, was opened by Russian immigrant, who came to Australia in 1899.

More than 200,000 ethnic Russians live in Australia, the majority of whom reside in Sydney and Melbourne.


Shanin, V. 2001, Russian Immigration: 5 waves,  Moscow, Russia.

Viewed 5 September 2009



2 responses to “Russian Immigration to Australia

  1. This is a fascinating piece of history- I had no idea about the history of Russian immigration to Australia- I know, to some extent, about the Chinese , Italian and Greek waves of immigration but not the Russian.

  2. There is always some act being performed on that earth to be a part other society.Russian took the first step to social cataclysms,Immigration to Australiaand etc.

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