Portuguese Australians

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Portuguese Australians
Total population
46,519 (by ancestry, 2011)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra
Related ethnic groups

Portuguese Australians refers to Australians of Portuguese descent or Portuguese-born people living in Australia.

Despite their rather modest number compared to the Greek and Italian communities, Portuguese Australians form a very organised, self-conscious and active community in many fields of Australian life. With a population spread over many parts of the continent, sporting teams, social clubs,[2] radio shows,[3] newspapers,[4] outdoor cultural festivals,[5] culinary feasts, and even a traditional ethnic neighbourhood, the ever-growing Portuguese Australians form roughly 0.4% of Australia's population. The biggest Portuguese Australian community is in Petersham, Sydney: but there are other communities around Australia such as Melbourne,[6] Wollongong, Newcastle and Perth.[7][8] There are also communities present, to a lesser extent, in Brisbane,[9][10] Adelaide and Darwin.[11] There are approximately 56,000 Portuguese migrants and Australians with Portuguese heritage in Australia.

Portuguese cuisine has also made its way into mainstream Australian society, with the fast expansion and establishment of restaurant and fast food outlets such as "Nando's", "Oporto" and "Ogalo" to confirm its success. The Portuguese "pastel de nata" is a very popular delicacy in Australia and is commonly found throughout the country.

One of the most high-visibility moments for the Portuguese community was in 2005, when António Milhinhos, a shopkeeper from Darwin, was awarded the Senior Australian of the Year Award for his outstanding charity works and continuous catastrophe relief since 1983.[12]


In New South Wales[edit]

A wave of post-war immigrants migrated from Europe to Sydney, in particular the Portuguese, who settled in the inner-city areas of Petersham (sometimes considered Australia's largest Portuguese enclave) and Surry Hills.

In Victoria[edit]

A few Portuguese were among the earliest settlers in Australia. Emanuel and Ana Serrão and their infant daughter arrived in Sydney in 1824, and moved to Warrnambool with their family in 1852. Few followed, and by 1901 only 86 Victorians were Portugal-born. Males made up 90% of the community.

The Portugal-born population in Victoria declined in the early twentieth century, and by 1933, only 12 were recorded in the census.

While the post-war migration boom had little effect on the Portuguese population of Victoria, the late 1960s saw the beginning of a dramatic increase in immigration. After the Portuguese colonial wars in Angola and Mozambique ended in 1975, and the former Portuguese colony of East Timor was invaded by Indonesia in 1975, more ethnic Portuguese immigrants settled in Victoria. The number of immigrants from Portugal also increased, from 131 in 1966 to 2,335 in 1986.

By 2001, 2,661 Portugal-born migrants were living in Victoria. The white Portuguese migrants and their Australian-born descendants are part of an even larger Portuguese-Speaking community in Victoria today that also includes people from the former Portuguese colonies of Macau, East Timor, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Angola, Goa and Brazil.

Members of the Portuguese-born community today are predominantly employed as tradespeople and workers within the manufacturing and construction industries. More than three-quarters still speak Portuguese at home.

The community is supported by organisations including the Portuguese Community Council of Australia, which serves as an umbrella organisation for all Portuguese people in Australia. Portuguese-language radio programs, weekly newspapers, language classes and sporting clubs help maintain the community in Australian cities. Events such as performances by Madeira Folk Dancing provide an opportunity for the wider community to appreciate Portuguese culture.

In Western Australia[edit]

Portuguese migrants from the islands of Madeira settled in Fremantle in Western Australia in the 1950s and established a fishing community which, by the mid-1980s, had grown to about 6,000 people, including their descendants.[13] Since then, Perth and Western Australia in general have been a frequent destination for Portuguese students and skilled labour, and although no mass-migration has occurred, the Portuguese population is still prevalent in the state. John Da Silva, the founder and owner of Bell-Vista vegetables, one of Western Australia's biggest vegetable provider migrated to Fremantle in the Portuguese migrant wave to that area in the 1960s.[14]

Notable Portuguese Australians[edit]

Name Birth and Death Occupation Notes
Joel Adams 1996− Singer Songwriter Portuguese Descent
Isaac de Gois 1984– Rugby league player Portuguese descent
Diogo Ferreira 1989– Football (soccer) player Portuguese descent
Jessica Gomes 1985– Model Portuguese descent[15][16][17][18]
Moisés Henriques 1987– Cricket player Portuguese-born, Portuguese descent
Stephanie Jacobsen 1980– Actress Portuguese descent[19]
Nicole da Silva 1981 Actress Portuguese descent

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The People of Australia – Statistics from the 2011 Census" (PDF). Australian Government.
  2. ^ "List of numerous Portuguese Social Clubs and institutions based in Australia (Portuguese)"
  3. ^ "SBS Radio – Portuguese Archived 2009-06-24 at the Wayback Machine"
  4. ^ "Portuguese Consulate – New South Wales"
  5. ^ "Portuguese Festival at Petersham, Sydney – Youtube"
  6. ^ "Portuguese Association of Victoria Archived 2009-10-13 at the Wayback Machine"
  7. ^ "Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Australian Government"
  8. ^ "Portuguese Consulate – Western Australia"
  9. ^ "The Brisbane Portuguese Family Center (Portuguese) Archived 2008-01-20 at the Wayback Machine"
  10. ^ "The Brisbane Portuguese Family Center (Portuguese) Archived 2008-04-12 at the Wayback Machine"
  11. ^ "Department of the Chief Minister, Northern Territory – Australian Government Archived 2009-05-15 at the Wayback Machine" (PDF)
  12. ^ "Australian of the Year Awards Archived 2009-07-05 at the Wayback Machine"
  13. ^ "Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – Australian Government"
  14. ^ "Bell-Vista Fruit and Vegetables"
  15. ^ "#IAm Jessica Gomes Story". YouTube. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  16. ^ Cullum, Paul. "Jessica Gomes: A Beauty Below the Surface". Ocean Drive. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  17. ^ "Jessica Gomes is in step - Korean dance star spot". The Daily Telegraph. News Corporation. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  18. ^ Hellard, Peta (10 September 2005). "Tomboy walks tall". Sunday Times. Perth Now. Archived from the original on 29 September 2008. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  19. ^ "An exclusive INTERVIEW with STEPHANIE JACOBSEN, the star of "Razor"!". tv.com. Retrieved 16 March 2016.

External links[edit]