submitted by Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia on 17.04.2006
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Greek Australian is seventh largest ethnic group in Australia, numbering 375,703 or 1.8 % of respondents in the 2001 Census.
The census recorded 116,530 Greek-born in Australia, although this excludes persons of Greek ethnicity and culture born elsewhere, notably Cyprus (10,560), Egypt (5,480) and Albania (50). The website www.hellenism.net estimates the number of Greeks living in Australia at 336,782 people (based on a 1986 ethnic origin census), which would be 2.2 % of Australia's 1986 population. 39.3 % of these 336,782 Greek Australians were born in Greece, 49.8 % were born in Australia, 4.8 % were born in Cyprus, 2.5 % were born in Egypt and 3.6 % were born in another or unknown place.
The first Greek migrants to Australia were seven convict sailors convicted of piracy by a British naval court in 1829. Though pardoned, two of the seven settled in the country. Groups of Greeks first settled in significant numbers during the gold rushes of the 1850s. The 1901 census recorded 878 Greek-born, but this must surely omit a few hundred other ethnic Greek migrants from the Ottoman Empire and elsewhere. The expulsion of Greeks from Asia Minor in 1922-23 led to further Greek migration to Australia, primarily to New South Wales. These Greeks are difficult to trace but the number of Greeks from Greece proper had risen to 12,291 by the time of the 1947 census.
Greeks - alongside Italians and Turks - were one of the main groups targeted by Australian Government migration schemes in the 1950s and 1960s. By 1971 there were 160,200 Greek-born persons in Australia, and smaller numbers from Cyprus and Egypt. 47 % settled in Melbourne, with the consequence that the city is reputed to have the third largest concentration of Greeks in the world. This has earned Melbourne the honour of being the largest Greek city outside Greece itself.
Today, just under half of the Greek-born (49.6 %) live in Victoria, with a further third in New South Wales (31.7 %). It is likely that most Greek Australians also follow this settlement pattern. In comparison, only 24.7 % of Australians as a whole live in Victoria, underlining the density of the Greek presence there.
Greek Australians have an exceptionally high rate of return migration to Greece. In December 2001, the Department of Foreign Affairs estimated that there were 135,000 Australian citizens resident in Greece. These must mostly be returned Greek emigrants with Australian citizenship, and their Greek Australian children.
According to census data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2004, Greek Australians are, by religion, 5.2 % Catholic, 2.9 % Anglican, 83.5 % Other Christian (mainly Greek Orthodox), 1.3 % Other Religions, and 7.1 % No Religion.
In 2001, the Greek language was spoken at home by 263,717 persons in Australia. Greek is the fourth most widely spoken language in the country after English, the Chinese languages, and Italian. 50.9 % of Greek speakers in Australia were born there, the third highest proportion after indigenous Australian languages and English.
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