AUSTRALIANS (/əˈstreɪljənz/ ), colloquially known as Aussies
(/ɒziːz/ ), are people associated with Australia, sharing a common
history , culture , and language (
Australian English ). Present-day
Australians are citizens of the Commonwealth of
Australia , governed
by its nationality law .
The majority of
Australians descend from the peoples of the British
Isles . The
Colony of New South Wales was established by the Kingdom
of Great Britain in 1788, with the arrival of the
First Fleet , and
five other colonies were established in the early 19th century, now
forming the six present-day Australian states . Many early settlements
were penal colonies , and transported convicts (and, later,
ex-convicts) made up a significant proportion of the population in
most colonies. Large-scale immigration did not occur until the 1850s,
following a series of gold rushes . Further waves of immigration
occurred after the First and Second World Wars, with many post-World
War II migrants coming from southern and eastern Europe , the Middle
East , south and east
Asia , and the
Pacific islands . Prior to
Australia was inhabited by various indigenous
Aboriginal Australians ,
Aboriginal Tasmanians , and
Torres Strait Islanders , a
Melanesian people. A small percentage of
Australians descend from these peoples.
The development of a separate Australian identity and national
character is most often linked with the period surrounding the First
World War, which gave rise to the concept of the
Anzac spirit . The
Eureka Rebellion of 1854 and various events of the Second World War,
most notably the
Kokoda Track campaign
Kokoda Track campaign , are also frequently mentioned
in association with Australian identity. However, Australian culture
predates the federation of the Australian colonies by several decades
Australian literature , most notably the work of the bush poets ,
dates from colonial times, while sporting teams representing the whole
Australia have been in existence since the 1870s. As a result of
many shared linguistic, historical, cultural and geographic
Australians have often identified closely with New
Zealanders in particular along with, to a lesser extent, other
English-speaking nations .
* 1 Overview
* 2 Racial and ethnic groups
* 2.1 European
* 2.2 Asian
* 2.3 Indigenous
* 3 Census
* 3.1 2011
* 3.2 Historical population
* 3.3 Citizenship
* 4 Current population
* 5 Culture
* 5.1 Language
* 5.2 Religion
* 6 References
* 7 External links
Main articles: Colonial
Australia and Immigration to
The majority of
Australians or their ancestors immigrated within the
past three centuries, with the exception of the Indigenous population
and other outer lying islands who became Australian through expansion
of the country. Despite its multi-ethnic composition, the culture of
Australia held in common by most
Australians can also be referred to
as mainstream " Australian culture", a
Western culture largely derived
from the traditions of British and Irish colonists, settlers, and
immigrants. Large-scale immigration occurred after the First and
Second World Wars, with many post-World War II migrants coming from
Eastern Europe introducing a variety of elements.
Immigration from the
Middle East , south and east
Asia , and the
Pacific islands has also been having an impact.
The predominance of the
English language , the existence of a
democratic system of government drawing upon the British traditions of
Westminster Government, Parliamentarianism and constitutional monarchy
, American constitutionalist and federalist traditions, Christianity
as the dominant religion, and the popularity of sports originating in
(or influenced by) the British Isles, are all evidence of a
Australian culture has diverged
significantly since British settlement.
Australians are referred to as "
Aussie " and "Antipodean ".
Australians were historically referred to as "Colonials ", "British"
and "British subjects ". Australian identity draws on a
multicultural, European and British cultural heritage.
RACIAL AND ETHNIC GROUPS
See also: Demographics of
European Australians and
COMMON EUROPEAN ANCESTRIES 2011 CENSUS
Australians of Anglo and other European descent are the
dominant majority in Australia, estimated at 85–92% of the total
population. Historically, European immigrants had great influence
over Australian history and society, which resulted in the perception
Australia as a Western country.
Since soon after the beginning of British settlement in 1788, people
of European descent have formed the majority of the population in
Australia. The majority of
Australians are of British – English ,
Scottish , Welsh , Cornish , or Manx – and Irish ancestral origin
(grouped together as "
Although some observers stress Australia's convict history, the vast
majority of early settlers came of their own free will. Far more
Australians are descended from assisted immigrants than from convicts,
the majority were British and Irish. About 20% of
descendants of convicts. Most of the first Australian settlers came
from London, the Midlands and the North of England , and Ireland.
Settlers that arrived throughout the 19th century were from all parts
United Kingdom and Ireland, a significant proportion of
settlers came from the Southwest and Southeast of England, from
Ireland and from Scotland.
European settlers from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland) have
been highly influential in shaping the nation's culture. By the
mid-1840s, the numbers of freeborn settlers had overtaken the convict
population. In 1888, 60 percent of the Australian population had been
born in Australia, and almost all had British ancestral origins. Out
of the remaining 40 percent, 34 percent had been born in the British
Isles , and 6 percent were of European origin, mainly from Germany and
Scandinavia . In the 1840s, Scots-born immigrants constituted 12
percent of the Australian population. There were 1.3 million British
Australia in the period from 1861–1914, of which 13.5
percent were Scots. 5.3 percent of the convicts transported to Eastern
Australia between 1789 and 1852 were Scots. By 1850, there were
Aboriginal Australians . The European population grew from 0.3
percent of the population of the continent at 1800 to 58.6 percent at
Germans formed the largest non-British community for most of
the 19th century. The census of 1901 showed that 98 percent of
Australians had British ancestral origins, which was considered as
"more British than Britain itself". Between 1901 and 1940, 140,000
non-British European immigrants arrived in
Australia (about 16 percent
of the total intake). Before World War II, 13.6 percent were born
overseas, and 80 percent of those were British. In 1939 and 1945,
still 98 percent of
Australians had British/
origins. Until 1947, the vast majority of the population were of
British origin. During the 1950s,
Australia was the destination of 30
per cent of Dutch emigrants and the Netherlands-born became
numerically the second largest non-British group in Australia. In
1971, 70 percent of the foreign born were of European origin.
Abolition of the White
Australia Policy in 1957 by the Menzies
government , often incorrectly attributed to a later Labor government,
led to a significant increase in non-European immigration, mostly from
Asia and the Middle East. Melbournians during the live music
rally in 2010
Almost one Australian in four was born elsewhere. In 1981, around 50
percent of immigrants were from Europe, and 2.7 percent were from
Asia. In 1998 about 40 percent of all immigrants to
been born in Asia.
People from the
United Kingdom remain the largest
group amongst those born overseas. In 2001 were 51 percent from
Europe, 29 percent from Asia, 11 percent from Oceania, and 4 percent
came from the Americas. In 1996, over 8 million
Australians had at
least three ancestries, and over 3 million had four or more.
By 2000, a majority of Australia's population was native born, and
over 90 percent were descended from people from the
British Isles .
In 2007, more than 92 percent of all
Australians descended from
Europeans . In the 2006 Census 455,026 people (or 2.3% of the total
Australian population) reported they were of Aboriginal and/or Torres
Strait Islander origin. 28 percent of the Australian population
reported mixed or multiple ancestries in the 2006 census. In 2006,
63% of the population had reported British ancestry, although many
others reported their ancestry as simply "Australian".
At the 2011 Census 2.4 million
Australians (12%) declared that they
had an Asian ancestral background. For the purposes of aggregating
Australian Bureau of Statistics in its _Australian Standard
Classification of Cultural and Ethnic Groups (ASCCEG)_ has grouped
certain ethnic groups into certain categories, including East Asian
Chinese Australians , Southeast Asian e.g. Vietnamese Australians
, South Asian e.g.
Indian Australians and Central Asian e.g. Afghan
Indigenous Australians ,
Aboriginal Australians , and
Torres Strait Islanders
Indigenous Australians are descendants of the original inhabitants of
the Australian continent . Their ancestors are believed to have
Asia around 70,000 years ago and arrived in
Australia around 50,000 years ago. The
Torres Strait Islanders are a
distinct people of
Melanesian ancestry, indigenous to the Torres
Strait Islands, which are at the northernmost tip of Queensland near
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , and some nearby settlements on the mainland. The
term "Aboriginal" is traditionally applied to only the indigenous
inhabitants of mainland
Tasmania , along with some of
the adjacent islands. _Indigenous Australians_ is an inclusive term
used when referring to both Aboriginal and
Torres Strait islanders,
i.e.: the "first peoples".
Dispersing across the Australian continent over time, the ancient
peoples expanded and differentiated into hundreds of distinct groups,
each with its own language and culture. More than 400 distinct
Australian Aboriginal peoples have been identified across the
continent, distinguished by unique names designating their ancestral
languages, dialects, or distinctive speech patterns.
James Cook claimed the east coast for Great Britain in 1770; also the
west coast was later settled by Britain. At that time, the indigenous
population was estimated to have been between 315,000 and 750,000,
divided into as many as 500 tribes speaking many different languages.
In the 2006 Census, 407,700 respondents declared they were Aboriginal
, 29,512 declared they were
Torres Strait Islanders , and a further
17,811 declared they were both Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander.
After adjustments for undercount, the indigenous population as of end
June 2006 was estimated to be 517,200, representing about 2.5% of the
A census in 2011 showed 60.2% of Australia's population declared
themselves as having European ancestry. In addition, many other
respondents described themselves as simply "Australian", which does
not imply Indigenous descent. The total indigenous population is
estimated to be about 520,000 individuals, including people of mixed
descent. In the 2011 Census,
Australians reported around 300
different ancestries. The most commonly reported ancestries were
English (33.7 per cent) and Australian (33 per cent). A further 6 of
the leading 10 ancestries reflected the European heritage in Australia
– Irish (9.7 per cent), Scottish (8.3 per cent), Italian (4.3 per
cent), German (4.2 per cent), Greek (1.8 per cent) and Dutch (1.6 per
cent). Other most common ancestries in the top 10 were Chinese (4.0
per cent) and Indian (1.8 per cent).
In the 2011 Census residents were asked to describe their ancestry,
in which up to two could be nominated. Proportionate to the Australian
resident population, the most commonly nominated ancestries were:
* English (36.1%)
* Australian (35.4%)
* Irish (10.4%)
* Scottish (8.9%)
* Italian (4.6%)
* German (4.5%)
* Chinese (4.3%)
* Indian (2.0%)
* Greek (1.9%)
* Dutch (1.7%)
New Zealander (
Pākehā /Māori )
New Zealander (
* Australian Aboriginal
In the 2011 census, 53.7% of people had both parents born in
Australia and 34.3% of people had both parents born overseas.
The data in the table is sourced from the Australian Bureau of
Statistics Note that population estimates in the table below do not
include the Aboriginal population before 1961. Estimates of Aboriginal
population prior to European settlement range from 300,000 to one
million, with archaeological finds indicating a sustainable population
of around 750,000.
CROWN COLONIES (PRE-FEDERATION )
Australian citizenship did not exist before 26 January 1949. Before
then, people born in
Australia were British subjects.
People born in
Australia (including Norfolk Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and
Christmas Island) on or after 20 August 1986 are Australian citizens
by birth if at least one parent was an Australian citizen or a
permanent resident at the time of the person's birth.
Statistics do not exist as to the number of
Australians who currently
are dual citizens. In 2000, it was estimated to be 4 to 5 million
Main article: Demographics of
The current Australian population is estimated at 25,475,000 (6
August 2017). This does not include an estimated 1 million
Australians living overseas, but it includes the estimated 24% of
Australians born overseas (in various nations , but predominantly the
United Kingdom, New Zealand, Italy, China, Vietnam, Pakistan, India,
the Philippines, and Greece). There are an estimated 1 million
Australians (approximately 5% of the population) residing outside
Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement facilitates open
migration to and from
New Zealand .
Main article: Languages of
Australia has no official language, English has been
entrenched as the _de facto_ national language since at least
federation in 1901. According to the 2011 census, 76.8% of people
(16,509,291) spoke only English. 20.4% of the population spoke two or
more languages at home. Other languages spoken included Mandarin 1.6%,
Cantonese 1.2% and Greek 1.2%.
Main article: Religion in
Australians have various religions and spiritual beliefs. While 22.3%
of the population reported as having no religion, of those reporting
as having religious affiliations, the majority (61.1%) being Christian
according to the 2011 census . As in many Western countries, the
level of active participation in church worship is lower than would be
indicated by the proportion of the population identifying themselves
as Christian; weekly attendance at church services was about 1.5
million in 2001, about 7% of the population (21.5 million ) that
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