Hi, bigfella !
Greetings from Australia.
On diversity The Australian Bureau of Statistics reports from the 2001
census (details just released):
Here we find:
"Just over one fifth of Australia's population (22%) was born
overseas, which is about the same as for the 1996 Census. Of those
born overseas, the three main countries of birth were United Kingdom
1,036,245 (5.5%), New Zealand 355,765 (1.9%), and Italy 218,718
.....Italian, with 353,605 speakers, is the most popular language
other than English spoken at home, followed by Greek, 263,717,
Cantonese, 225,307, Arabic 209,372, and Vietnamese with 174,236
You will find a great deal of information about Italian migration to
Australia at the site of
The Italian/Australian Records Project - , which includes a article
analysing the 1996 census by Ilma Martinuzzi O'Brien, the Project
Dr Ilma O'Brien IARP - Victoria University - Department of Social and
Cultural Studies McKechnie Street - St Albans campus PO Box 14428 MCMC
- Melbourne - Victoria - 8001 - Aus tel (0061-3)-9365 2308 - fax
(0061-3)-9365 2242 - e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org last updated August
To summarise, she writes:
"The age structure of the Italian-born is such that the large majority
is concentrated in the older age brackets, which is significantly
above the average of the total Victorian population in these age
There is only a small number of recent arrivals, with the overwhelming
majority of the Italian-born, 93.9%, having arrived before 1981. ...
... There has been a population decline since the last census in 1991,
and since the high point which was reached in the 1971 census...
Italians have been the largest non-English speaking group (NESB) in
Australia since the 1920s. ...
Recent emigration from Italy has been numerically very small and has
differed from the pattern of the post-World War II migration flow when
the majority of Italian-born immigrants came to Australia for work.
Now economic prosperity has attracted a flow of immigrants to Italy,
which has become a land of immigrants rather than emigrants...."
The site outlines the history of Italian immigration to Australia:
"...Three Italians and a Swiss became the first Catholic missionaries
to the Aborigines in 1843 when they established a mission on
Stradbroke Island near what is now Brisbane. "
More followed during the gold rush, and "335 men, women and children
from Piedmont, Lombardy and the Veneto arrived on the Jumna at the end
of 1891" to work in Queensland's sugar industry:
"Two other migration flows of this time deserve comment: immigrants
from the Aeolian Islands settled in the cities and larger towns,
across Australia before World War I, and a large percentage
specialised in small businesses, chiefly fruit shops and cafes. ....
The musicians from Viggiano in Basilicata were also a distinguished
group in the large cities, and their second generation in Melbourne
were well represented in symphony orchestras in the 20th century"
Ilma O'Brien continues to outline the history of Italian migration and
"Italian immigration began to slow in the 1960s although the numbers
of Italian-born reached the peak of 289,476 in 1971. In the years
following 1971 the migration flow slowed considerably and at the same
time there was a net loss of Italian-born through "return migration".
Since that time immigration from Italy has almost come to a halt." ...
"The Italian-born population has declined from 280,154 in 1976 to
238,246 at the 1996 census, an overall reduction of 15%. Between the
1991 and 1996 census the decline has accelerated to represent a
decrease of 5.9% of the Italian-born. All Australian states show a
decline in numbers in the 20 year and 5 year periods. "
"People of Italian origins have a long time and generational depth in
Australia, and are so diverse in background, experiences and
interests, and so dispersed throughout Australian society, that it is
difficult to classify them as a single group or community. Therefore
only those born in Italy are the subject of this study."
Other general material can be found at the Australian Bureau of
where part of the 2001 census was released 17/6/2002, with other
statistics to be released at future dates.
Australian born people accounted for 71.8% of the population in 2001,
down from 73.9% in 1996. English was the only language spoken at home
by 79.1% of the population, a decrease from 81.4% in 1996. Of those
people who spoke a language other than English at home, the highest
proportion spoke Italian at 1.9%.
At June 2000, the estimated resident population of Australia was
At June 2000, Australia's overseas-born residents comprised 4.5
million, 24% of the total population.
· Over the last five years the number of overseas-born residents has
increased by 8% from 4.2 million at June 1995 to 4.5 million at June
2000. This exceeds the rate of growth in the total population, which
has increased by 6% over the same period.
· At June 2000, just under 13% of the Australian population had been
born in Europe and the Former USSR. About half of these (6%) were born
in the United Kingdom. People born in the three Asian regions together
comprised 6% of Australia's population.
The Queensland Government has published a .pdf file which cannot be
which has a chart showing Italians as the fourth largest group of
immigrants prior to 1986, and not even in the top ten by 1996, as well
as other statistical material. Statistics for the other states would
be very similar.
To go on to my own observations:
The Italian community is by-and-large Christian, and of the Roman
Italian food (along with the cuisine of several other nations,
including Thai and Indian) has been absorbed whole-heartedly into the
Australian culture, with Italian coffee being particularly popular.
Pasta in its various forms and pasta sauces have been known for years,
as of course has Pizza. In recent years Focaccia bread and Bruschetti
have made an appearance in coffee shops and small restaurants, while
such items as Boccochini are available in the supermarket. Quality
Olive Oil has been imported for many years. Most fruit and vegetables
known to Italians grows well here. So there is no problem cooking
However, the multi-course Italian meal structure has never caught on
Italian customs generally are not observed in Australia outside of the
Italian community - rather they have adopted Australian life-style.
The Blessing of the Fleet seems to be one exception that has been
adopted and has become a tourist attraction one day a year. Other than
that, Italian is one of several languages that government brochures
are produced in, and government interpreter services provide Italian
A 1995 article on ethnic and cultural diversity by Dr James Jupp,
Director, Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies, Australian
National University, may also be of interest.
"census australia italian population"