Indian immigration to Australia

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There is a long history of Indian immigration to Australia. It is said that the first Indians arrived in Australia on Captain Cook's ship in the late eighteenth century.

Indian immigration to Australia over the last two hundred years:
  • Punjabi Indians took part in the Gold Rush in the Victorian fields which occurred from 1851 to the late 1860s.

  • Before road and rail transportation Indians referred to as "Afghans" came to Australia to transport goods and mail on camel trains. Some of the earliest Indian arrivals in Australia included Sardar Beer Singh, Johal who came in 1895 and Sardar Narain Singh Heyer, who arrived in 1898. Muslims from North Western Punjab region worked as camel drivers in the Central Australian desert.

  • During the time of the British Empire about sixty years ago Sikhs came to Australia to work on the Banana Plantations in Southern Queensland. This community has prospered and typically they now own their own farms in Wolgoolga; This is situated about half way between Sydney and Brisbane on the highway. There are two Sikh temples and a museum on Sikhism in Wolgoolga.

  • A large number of British and Anglo Indians born in India migrated to Australia after 1947. These people are still considered to be Indians in the Australian Census.

  • Thirty years ago Indians were again allowed to emigrate to Australia; Many teachers and doctors decided to take advantage of this new opportunity.

  • It was also about thirty years ago following a tech sector boom that Indian IT professionals started to arrive in Australia. Indians are now well represented amongst Computer professionals in Australia.

  • In recent years there has been a huge increase in Indian immigration to Australia. A wide range of professions are represented amongst recent immigrants including IT professionals, engineers, accountants, cooks, toolmakers. After Chinese immigrants, Indians represent the second largest group of new immigrants.

  • Fijian Indians have emigrated to Australia due to political instability in Fiji. There have been a number of military coups in Fiji over many years. Many Indians from Fiji go into business.

  • Since 1998 there has been a significant increase in the number of students arriving in Australia. Indian students pay much higher tuition fees and bring much needed income to Australian Universities.

Indians have played an important role in Australian society over hundreds of years and are now well represented in a wide range of occupations in Australia.