Australia: Ethnicity


Figure 1.--

The original population of Australia are the aboriginies, a stone-age people. These are the dark-skinned descendents of the early human migration out of Africa at the dawn of the emergen of modern msn. They followed a route east along the coast of southern Asia, finally arriving in New Guinea and Australia, but never reaching New Zealand. Europeans discovered Australia (17th century) and settlers began to arrive (18th century). They soon outnumbered the aboriginies. Most Australians today are of European descent. Britain was the colonial power. Thus the European people are primarily from the British isles, Anglo-Celtic peoples--English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish. (Ireland until after World War I was a part of Britain.) The Irish were not originally part of the Anglo group because of cultural and religuius difference. This gradually changed as more immigrants arriced from other Europen ountries, especiasll southern and eastern Europe. Other Europeans arrived in smaller numbers--the Germans, Dutch and Scandinavians. They were quickly assisimlated into the Anglo white identity. Southern and Eastern Europeans were more slowly assisimated for cultural and racial reasons. Most of the southern Europeans are Italians and Greeks. There are also a number of Maltese, I think because part of the Maltese populsation was evacuated during World War II. There are smaller numbers of eastern Europeans and their origins are more diverse (Slavs such as Serbs, Poles, Croats, Bosniaks, Russians, Ukrainians, Macedonians and others. Non-Slavic peoples include Albanians and Hungarians. The British Government incouraged emigration to help settle the colony's vast area. Not only were convicts shipped to Australia, but later orphanbed children as well. As Australia obrained dominion status and began to assume control over its affairs, it also promoted immigration, but was highly restrictive about the racial and ethnic groups allowed to immigrate, preferring Christian Europeans. Australiaefused to accept Jews in any number during the 1930s. Since the 1960s, Australia has pursued a more racially neutral immigration policy. Thus the population is becoming more diverse. There is now a Middle-Eastern population. The largest group is Lebanese, but there are other Arans, including Egyptians. There are also some Turks. East Asians are now have an important presence in Australia. The Chinese are one of the most important of the recent immigrant groups. Cantonese is now fourth largest language in Australia. There are also small Japanese and Koreans communities. There are now also Southeast Asians (Filipinos, Vietnamese and Thais). There are very few Africans or Native Americans in Australia. There is a small Jewish community, mostly Ashkenazis Jews.

Aborigines

The original population of Australia are the Aborigines, a stone-age people. These are the dark-skinned descendents of the early human migration out of Africa at the dawn of the emergen of modern man. They followed a route east along the coast of southern Asia, finally arriving in New Guinea and Australia, but never reaching New Zealand. At the time there was a land bridge between what is now Southeast Asia and the Indonesian Archepeligo/New Guinae/Australia (about 40,000 years ago). The aboriginies eventually migrated throughout the Australian cintinent. At the same time, ocean levels rose and Australia was cut off from Asia. Technologically the Aborigines in isolation developed slower than other peoples. The original Aborigines are like Native Americans to the north believed to have arrived as small, isolated bands. The population grew substantially and adapted itself to the many varied environmental and climatic conditions existing in SAustralia. At the time British settlement began (1788), there are belieced to have been about 1 million Aborigines, thinly settled around the colony. Some scholars estimate there there were more than 200 different languages. Aborigines languages are poorly studies. Most have now disappeared. Australians were almost totaly isolated. Indonesian Muslims in the period just before the Europeas arrived fished off off Arnhem Land in the northern territory. They were known as the Macassans. They had a very limited impact, but did enter Aboriginal myths. The Europeans of course had a major impact. The Europeans primarily settled in the southeast, the area from Melbourne to Sydney. The aboriginal population in this area crashed, declining 96 percent after only a few decades of European settlement (1850). The cause were a mix of disease, forced labor, and not infrequently actual murder. Along with the British settlers came Christian missionaries. The Wesleyan Missionary Society began the first missionary effort with the Aborigines (1821). Missionaries steadily expanded their efforts. Church settlements were operating throughout Australia (mid-19th century). There was some aboriginal resistance to the missionaries, but most accepted evangelical Christianity while not entirely dropping their ancestral beliefs. An estmated two-thirds of Aborigines now identify themselves as Christian. The Aborigines have had the most difficulty of any Australian immigrant group in assisilating into modern Australia. The reasons have been both racial and cultural. They are economically the poorest ethnic groups in Australia.

Europeans

Europeans discovered Australia (17th century) and settlers began to arrive (1788). The British soon outnumbered the aboriginies. Most Australians today are of European descent. Britain was the colonial power. Thus the European people are primarily from the British isles, Anglo-Celtic peoples--English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish. (Ireland until after World War I was a part of Britain.) The Irish were not originally part of the Anglo group because of cultural and religuius difference. This gradually changed as more immigrants arriced from other Europen ountries, especiasll southern and eastern Europe. Other Europeans arrived in smaller numbers--the Germans, Dutch and Scandinavians. They were quickly assisimlated into the Anglo white identity. Southern and Eastern Europeans were more slowly assisimated for cultural and racial reasons. Most of the southern Europeans are Italians and Greeks. There are also a number of Maltese, I think because part of the Maltese populsation was evacuated during World War II. There are smaller numbers of eastern Europeans and their origins are more diverse (Slavs such as Serbs, Poles, Croats, Bosniaks, Russians, Ukrainians, Macedonians and others. Non-Slavic peoples include Albanians and Hungarians. The British Government incouraged emigration to help settle the colony's vast area. Not only were convicts shipped to Australia, but later orphaned children as well. As Australia obrained dominion status and began to assume control over its affairs, it also promoted immigration, but was highly restrictive about the racial and ethnic groups allowed to immigrate, preferring Christian Europeans. Australia refused to accept Jews in any number during the 1930s.

Non-Europeans

Since the 1960s, Australia has pursued a more racially neutral immigration policy. Thus the population is becoming more diverse. There is now a Middle-Eastern population. The largest group is Lebanese, but there are other Arans, including Egyptians. There are also some Turks. East Asians are now have an important presence in Australia. The Chinese are one of the most important of the recent immigrant groups. Cantonese is now fourth largest language in Australia. There are also small Japanese and Koreans communities. There are now also Southeast Asians (Filipinos, Vietnamese and Thais). There are very few Africans or Native Americans in Australia. There is a small Jewish community, mostly Ashkenazis Jews.







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Crerated: 5:38 PM 1/29/2010
Last updated: 8:56 PM 1/30/2011