Indian Community in Australia

Useful links for Indians in Australia:

NRIs or Indian Diaspora FAQs: www.india.gov.in External website that opens in a new window.

MOIA : Ministry of Overseas Indians Affairs: www.moia.gov.in External website that opens in a new window.

There is a rapidly growing Indian community in Australia. According to 2011 census, about 295362 in Australia were born in India and there were 390894 responses for Indian ancestry. In 2011-12 Indians were the largest source of permanent migration to Australia. Indians formed 15.7 % of the total migration programme in 2011-12.

According to Australian records, a small group of Indians arrived in Australia in the years 1800-1816, sent as convict labourers by British colonial authorities. During the first 60 years of the 19th century, most of the Indians who arrived in Australia were recruited as labourers by the British Government; they later settled down in Australia. In the last four decades of the 19th century, many Indians, particularly Sikhs and Muslims from Punjab, settled on the northern coast of New South Wales as agricultural labourers, hawkers or traders. There were also several Indians from the Punjab and North West Frontier Province who ran the 'camel trains', which were the main means of transport into the interior of Australia before the road and rail networks were developed. They would transport goods and mail by camels over the outback and were collectively known as Afghans, abbreviated by Australians to "Ghans". Indians also took part in the gold rush in the Victorian gold fields. Several Sikhs also came to work on the banana plantations in Southern Queensland and through their hard work and enterprise, came to own their own plantations.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Australian records indicate the presence of around 6500 - 7000 Indians in Australia. This figure continued to remain the same until after the end of World War II. After India's independence in 1947, a large number of Anglo - Indians migrated to Australia.

The next period of immigration from India began after 1966, with the influx of teachers, doctors and other professionals from India. Large numbers of Indian software professionals began arriving in Australia from the eighties. Persons of Indian origin also came here from other countries.

In all States and major cities, there are associations/organizations of Indians. There are also umbrella federations of Indian associations in the States/Territories. There are also several ethnic publications, Indian language programmes on radio, Indian language schools, and Indian dance schools in all major cities.

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