Southern European Australians

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Southern European Australians are Australians of Southern European ancestry. Southern European Australian people can usually trace back full or partial heritage to Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and other countries within Mediterranean Europe, or otherwise ethnoculturally related to the area. Along with Eastern European Australians and Northwestern European Australians, they are one of several subgroupings of European Australians.


South or Southern European Australians have been widely research in academia and referenced in various scholarly and journalistic works as a distinct pan-ethnic grouping within Australia.[1][2][3] The group can be divided into nation-based subgroupings, such as Portuguese Australians and Italian Australians.


Dr Andonis Piperoglou has written how some of the earliest Southern Europeans arrived in Australia around 1902. In an Australian Journal of Politics and History, the article outlined how Greek immigrants established themselves in the oyster industry of New South Wales.[4] During the 1920s, as immigration from Mediterranean Europe grew, there were accusations from Anglo-Celtic Australians, including the Australian Workers' Union, that the group were arriving in unmanageably large numbers. There were also complaints that the new workers were competing in labour industries, such as the sugar cane industry in Queensland. Negative stereotypes and depictions in media of the group persisted in this period, often relating to hygiene and eating habits.[5]

During the 1930s, Griffith University's Robert Mason has proposed that the pan-ethnic group were significantly involved with anarchism in Australia, producing leaders in the movement with Italian and Spanish heritages.[6] Actions and attitudes towards Southern Europeans (along with, at times, Irish Australians) in this period has been compared with the historically poor treatment of Poles and Italians in Germany.[7]

In the 1940s, there continued to be resistance to the recruitment of the group as a labour force. However, due to lack of interest from Australia's preferred immigrant groups, namely British people and other groups from Northwestern Europe, by the 1950s, South Europeans were the country's main source of workers.[7] In the early 1960s, Dr Charles A. Price's various Southern Europeans in Australia publications became established studies of the pan-ethnic grouping in relation to migration and integration.[2] Price's works primarily relied upon Australia's naturalisation records.[8]

During the 1950s and 1960s, there was significant migratory flow into the country by Eastern Europeans and Southern European people. In this period, discriminatory attitudes against the newcomers by the native-born Australians have been compared with some Northwestern European Americans' prejudice toward Southern European Americans, and the enactment of the National Origins Formula of the 1920s in the United States. South Europeans in Australia, however, appeared to progress "through the ethnic pecking order faster" than their American counterparts had.[9] Towards the end of the 1960s, it had become harder to attract significant numbers of the group to Australia, and some were returning home to Southern Europe. Rules on family reunion were relaxed as a countermeasure and recruitment attempts increased in the region.[7]

Published in the Mediterranean Journal of Educational Studies in 1998, Dr Yiannis Dimitreas proposed that the group had remained only partially integrated up until the 1990s, and manifested cultural elements of their ancestral nations in Australia:[10]

This means that until the present period of the 1990s, the experiences of Southern Europeans in Australia was the experience of a Southern European microcosm with different national origins in the context of one single nation state, namely Australia. Their efforts towards the creation of Mediterranean space has been both a real and imaginary reflection of the social tensions, political conflict and economic antagonism found within single nation states of their European homeland prior to and after their migration and settlement in Australia.

In 2005, MP Tony Abbott wrote how "Fifty years ago, some Anglo-Australians mistrusted southern European Australians", as a historical context to intolerance in the country, in relation to the debate surrounding a possible burka ban in Australia.[11]

Academic research[edit]

1993 research, published in Population and Development Review, studied the reproductive behaviours and fertility of the group in Australia.[12] Research published in 1999 demonstrated that first-generation Southern Europeans retained higher marriage rates than native-born Australians.[13]

2001 research into Australians youths, published in the Asian Journal of Social Psychology, showed that, while Southern European Australians were considered a minority group, they were (along with the "majority cultural group" of Anglo-Celtic Australians) more likely to be in a relationship than Chinese Australians.[14] In 2005, research conducted by sociologist Katharine Betts showed that Southern European immigrants were more likely to favour immigration from their birth-nation (ie. Spanish Australians advocating for further immigration of Spaniards into Australia), than they were to endorse immigration from Asia.[15]

A 2004 study published in Diabetes Care journal, compared Australian-born and Southern European-born Australians' risk of diabetes, using, among many factors, body mass index.[16] A study of the Mediterranean diet, in relation to heart disease and colonic cancer, compared intragroup eating behaviours, with elderly Greek Australians living in Melbourne compared with Southern European Australians (Greeks, Italians, and others) aged 25–65. The results found that the pan-ethnic group consumed more pork, shellfish, meat in general, eggs, soft drinks and alcohol, and less chicken, organ meat, fish, stone fruit, bananas.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Patrick Barkham (March 26, 2001). "Sydney embraces postmodern 'palaces'". The Guardian. If "skippies", as south European Australians call Anglo-Saxon Australians, use the W-word it is still widely seen as racist.
  2. ^ a b Patricia Mary O'Connor (2005). "The Multiple Experiences of Migrancy, Irishness and Home Among Contemporary Irish Immigrants in Melborune, Australia". University of New South Wales. Price's study of South Europeans in Australia (1963) demonstrated that a combination of these theories operated in stimulating and directing chain migration flows from this region.
  3. ^ Charles A. Price (1963). South Europeans in Australia. Canberra: Oxford University Press.
  4. ^ Andonis Piperoglou (2018). ""Border Barbarisms", Albury 1902: Greeks and the Ambiguity of Whiteness". Australian Journal of Politics and History (Volume 64 ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 529–543. They had purchased tickets bound for Sydney and intended to join Greek settlers who had established themselves in the New South Wales oyster industry ... On early Greek settlers and the oyster industry, see, Charles Price, South Europeans in Australia, (Melbourne, 1964), 167.
  5. ^ Jessica Rita Carniel (2006). "Who Josie Became Next: Developing Narratives of Ethnic Identity Formation in Italian Australian Literature and Film". Department of History (Gender Studies Program) and The Australian Centre: Australian National University. p. 38. Images of southern Europeans such as Italians and Greeks during this period were heavily stereotyped, racialised and subject to much negative press, ranging from their eating habits, to their hygiene, to accusations that they were taking jobs from Anglo-Celtic Australians. In response to a campaign by the Australian Workers' Union against ‘excessive’ Italian migration into the sugar cane districts during the 1920s, for example, the Queensland Government in 1925 commissioned a report on ‘alien immigration’ in Queensland known as the Ferry Report.
  6. ^ Robert Mason (2018). "Sugaring the Revolution". The Spanish Anarchists of Northern Australia: Revolution in the Sugar Cane Fields (Iberian and Latin American Studies). University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-1786833082. In the words of the communist author Jean Devanny, 'Nearly all of them tend towards anarchism yet they follow directions implicitly' ... Her disparaging attitude to anarachism was a sign of its collapse among Anglo-Australian radicals by the 1930s, but it retained significant appeal among south European Australians.
  7. ^ a b c Stephen Castles (1992). The challenge of multiculturalism: global changes and Australian experiences (Working Paper 19 ed.). Centre for Multicultural Studies: University of Wollongong. When we turn to popular attitudes towards immigrants, we again find marked similarities between Australia and Germany ... Past treatment of labour migrants (such as the Irish and Southern Europeans in Australia, Poles and Italians in Germany) was discriminatory and exploitative ... There was great resistance to recruitment of southern Europeans, and only limited quotas were admitted in the late 1940s. Nonetheless, southern Europe became the main source of migrants in the 1950s ... By the late 1960s it was becoming hard to attract southern European workers, and many were returning to their homelands
  8. ^ Ilija Sutalo (2005). "Introduction". Croatians in Australia: Pioneers, settlers and their descendants. Wakefield Press. p. 8. ISBN 978-1862546516. Previous studies on early Southern European migration to Australia, such as Southern Europeans in Australia and The Method and Statistics of Southern Europeans in Australia, both by Charles Price and published in 1963, relied primarily on naturalisation records.
  9. ^ Val Colic-Peisker (2008). "The Hostland". Migration, Class and Transnational Identities: Croatians in Australia and America (Studies of World Migrations). University of Illinois Press. p. 82. ISBN 978-0252033605. The national quotas imposed on the immigration of the less-desirable southern Europeans in 1924 were the expression of the concern that they were essentially alien and not full assimilable into the "American character". The same attitude confronted the large influx of eastern and southern Europeans in Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. However, in the latter case, they progressed through the ethnic pecking order faster than in America.
  10. ^ Yiannis Dimitreas (1998). "The Structuring of the Mediterranean Space within the Education System in Australia". Mediterranean Journal of Educational Studies (Volume 3 ed.). Springer Publishing. pp. 99–113.
  11. ^ Tony Abbott (2005). "Pride in Western tolerance". the PartyRoom (Issue 2 ed.). Mitch Fifield and Andrew Robb. pp. 18–19.
  12. ^ Gigi Santow (1993), "Coitus Interruptus in the Twentieth Century", Population and Development Review (Volume 19 ed.), Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 767–792, Condom, douche, and coitus interruptus, that is, withdrawal. This article focuses ... native and Southern European Australians, we must immediately dismiss the notion that Southern Europeans have been less concerned to control their fertility.
  13. ^ Gigi Santow; Michael D. Bracher (1999). "Traditional Families and Fertility Decline: Lessons from Australia's Southern Europeans". In Richard Leete (ed.). Dynamics of Values in Fertility Change (International Studies in Demography). Clarendon Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-0198294399. First, along with some other immigrants, and controlling for a host of other factors, marriage rates have remained higher among southern European Australians than the native-born.
  14. ^ Susan M Moore; Cynthia Leung (2001), "Romantic beliefs, styles, and relationships among young people from Chinese, Southern European, and Anglo‐Australian backgrounds", Asian Journal of Social Psychology (Volume 4 ed.), Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 53–68, A majority cultural group (Anglo-Australians) was compared with two minority groups (Chinese- and Southern European-background young people) within the same society. Chinese-background youth were less likely to be in a romantic relationship and more likely to be lonely than Anglo-Australian or Southern European-Australians.
  15. ^ Katharine Betts (2005), "Migrants' Attitude to Immigration in Australia: 1990 to 2004", People and Place (Volume 13 ed.), Monash University, p. 30, Table 8 tells a similar story, except that Australians born in Southern Europe are more likely to want to give preference to their compatriots than are Australians who were born in Asia.
  16. ^ Allison M. Hodge; Dallas R. English; Kerin O’Dea; Graham G. Giles (2004), "Increased Diabetes Incidence in Greekand Italian Migrants to Australia", Diabetes Care (Volume 27 ed.), American Diabetes Association, pp. 2332–2333, Subjects compared with Australian-born individuals were 3.8 and 3.3, respectively (Table2), indicating that BMI explained almost 50% of the excess relative risk of diabetes observed in southern European migrants.
  17. ^ "9". Current Food Intake and Variety (PDF). Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. pp. 490–628.