Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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    Poppy [sic] Sidiropoulos Outside Her Home Business, 1957, courtesy of Allen & Unwin.
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Greece Born Community of Australia

Summary

The experience of Greek-Australians is an integral part of Australian History. Since first arriving in the late 1810s, Greeks have made significant contributions to the nation's cultural diversity and prosperity. Today, descendants of the earliest arrivals, immigrants, and their Australian-born children inhabit vital communities throughout the country, the inheritors of a vigorous Greek culture secured through the determined efforts of their forebears.

Details

The first significant stream of Greek migration to Australia began in the 1850sthe lure of gold attracting a small stream of settlers to Australia. Early Greece-born settlers mainly worked in mining camps, on the wharves or on coastal ships. The total population at the turn of the century was small - the 1901 Australian Census recorded 878 Greece-born people. Many were owners or employees in shops and restaurants. Some were cane cutters in Queensland.

There was a substantial increase in immigration between the two World Wars, caused in part by the expulsion of Greeks from Asia Minor in 1922 23 and immigration quotas imposed by the United States in the early 1920s. By the 1947 Census, the number of Greece-born was 12,291.

After the Second World War, with the active encouragement of the Greek Government, struggling with post-war reconstruction, large numbers of Greeks migrated to Australia. The migration of Greeks to Australia especially increased after 1952 when the Australian Government provided assisted passage to tens of thousands of Greeks. By 1961 the number of Greece-born people in Australia had reached 77,333. Greek migration continued to expand rapidly throughout the 1960s and at the time of the 1971 Census there were 160,200 Greece-born in Australia with about 47 per cent living in Melbourne.

The latest Census in 2001 recorded 116,530 Greece-born persons in Australia, with Victoria (57,780) still being the most populous state, followed by New South Wales (36,910), South Australia (11,690) and Queensland (3,990).

The median age of the community in 2001 was 59.3 years compared with 46.0 years for all overseas-born and 35.6 years for the total Australian population, a singificant statistics that carries important implications for the provision of health and aged care services. Over time, the sex imbalance has decreased to a point where the ratio is almost equal. No more need for 'bride ships', or specific drives to encourage women to marry the many bachelors who were attracted in the post-war wave of migration.

Despite keenly preserving and supporting their own cultural heritage, Greece-born Australians have also committed to their Australian identity. At the 2001 Census, the rate of Australian Citizenship for the Greece-born in Australia was 98.0 per cent. The rate for all overseas-born was 75.1 per cent.

Sources used to compile this entry: Jupp, James (ed.), The Australian People: An Encyclopaedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins, 2 edn, Cambridge University Press, 2001; Turnbull, Craig and Vakiotis, Chris, Beyond the Rolling Wave: A Thematic History of Greek Settlement in New South Wales, New South Wales Heritage Office, Centre for Community History, University of New South Wales, Sydney, 2001, 75 pp; Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA), Community Information Summary: The Greece-born Community, Jointly produced by Multicultural Affairs Branch and the Economic and Demographic Analysis Section of DIMIA, 2003.

Related entries

Archival resources

The Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales Cultural Centre

  • Papers of the Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales, 1898, http://www.goc.com.au/gocweb/; Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales (1898 - ); The Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales Cultural Centre. Details

National Library of Australia Oral History Collection

  • Matina Mottee interviewed by Nicola Henningham [sound recording]., c. 1931 - c. 2006, ORAL TRC 5603; National Library of Australia Oral History Collection. Details

National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection

  • Sotiria Liangis interviewed by Marg Carroll in the Centenary of Canberra oral history project, 19 August 2014, ORAL TRC 6545/43; National Library of Australia, Oral History and Folklore Collection. Details

Private Hands (contact Australian Women's Archive Project)

  • Papers Of Vivi Koutsianidis-Germanos; Private Hands (contact Australian Women's Archive Project). Details

State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana

  • Interview with Maria Gaganis [sound recording] Interviewer: Marjorie Roe, July 12 1994 - , OH 254/26; From Lamington to Laksa: Interviews about Food by the Migration Museum[sound recordinging] /Interviewers: Lyned Isaac, Marjorie Roe and Viv Szekeres; South Australian Migration Museum; State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana. Details
  • Papers re: Panhellenic Women's Movement, 1977 - 1984, SRG 781/48; Records of the Union of Australian Women - South Australian Branch; State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana. Details
  • Postcards from Home: Interviews with Thebarton Women from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds [sound recording]/Interviewers: Members of Thebarton Community Arts Network, 1994, OH 349; State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana. Details

State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection

  • Music of Migrant Groups in Australia, 1970s, MS 10179; Parkhill, Peter; Genery Bill; Cotter Henry; State Library of Victoria, Australian Manuscripts Collection. Details

Digital resources

Title
Poppy [sic] Sidiropoulos Outside Her Home Business
Type
Image
Date
1957
Place
Melbourne, Australia
Control
La trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria, 820241
Publisher
Allen & Unwin

Details

Title
Young Greek Girls Dancing
Type
Image
Date
1972
Place
Sydney, New South Wales
Control
Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, 72/18/39 (4115)
Publisher
Allen & Unwin

Details

Title
My Wedding Day, by Angela Bekas
Type
Image
Date
1991 - 1994
Place
Thebarton, South Australia
Control
Theabarton Community Arts Network
Publisher
Thebarton Community Arts Network

Details

See also

Title
Photograph of Dorothy Buckland-Fuller
Type
Image
Date
c. 1985
Creator
Steen, Frederika
Publisher
Allen and Unwin

Details

Nikki Henningham

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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ISSN 2207-3124