750,000-1,000,000 (by ancestry)
121,034 (by birth, 2015)4.4% of total Australian population
|Regions with significant populations|
|Sydney (63.8% of Lebanese-born Australian residents), Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth|
|Australian English, Lebanese Arabic, Standard Arabic, French, Armenian|
|Minority: Islam: Shia Islam, Sunni Islam, Alawite (37%), Jewish, Druze and Atheist (8%)|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Egyptian Australians, Syrian Australians, Armenian Australians, Assyrian Australians, Jewish Australians, Arab diaspora, Lebanese diaspora, Maltese Australians, Cypriot Australians, Greek Australians, Turkish Australians, French Australians, Arab Australians, Sierra Leonean-Lebanese, Lebanese Americans, Lebanese Canadians, Ecuadorian of Lebanese origin, Lebanese Brazilians, Arab Argentines, Lebanese British, Arab Mexicans|
A Lebanese Australian is a citizen or permanent resident of Australia with Lebanese descent. This Australian community is extremely multicultural, having a large Christian religious base, being mostly Maronite Catholics and Greek Orthodox, while also having a large Muslim group of both the Shia and Sunni branches of Islam.
Lebanon, in both its modern-day form as the Lebanese state (declared in 1920, granted independence in 1943) and its historical form as the region of the Lebanon, has been a source of migrants to Australia for over two centuries. Some 727,572 Australians claim Lebanese ancestry, either alone or in combination with another ancestry. According to 2015 Estimates 121,572 Lebanese-born people in Australia, with 63.8% of all people with Lebanese ancestry living in Sydney, where they make up 10.7% of Sydney's population.
In New South Wales, the Western Sydney suburbs of Bankstown, Lakemba, Auburn, Granville, Straithfield, Parramatta, Punchbowl and Redfern (From 1840s to 1960s), Marrickville (From 1870s to 1950s) and Surry Hills (From 1840s to 1940s) are largely associated with the Lebanese population, as in Victoria are the Northern Melbourne suburbs of Broadmeadows and Coburg, Brunswick, Fawkner and Altona.
As part of a large scale emigration in the 1840s, numerous Lebanese (mostly Christians) migrated in great numbers out of Lebanon to various destinations. Most emigrated to Brazil and other Latin American nations, particularly Argentina, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. Many also went to the United States, Canada, and others to Australia, primarily to the eastern states, and most to New South Wales in particular.
Thus, Australia's Lebanese population is one of the older established non-English speaking minorities in the country (though many Lebanese people now speak English, to a greater or lesser extent). Lebanese Australians are of similar vintage to Greek Australians, Italian Australians, and German Australians,
In the 1890s, there were increasing numbers of Lebanese immigrants to Australia, part of the mass emigration from the area of the Lebanon that would become the modern Lebanese state, and also from the Anti-Lebanon mountains region of what would become Syria.
Under the White Australia policy of the nineteenth century (and with Lebanon being located in the Middle East, geographically known as South West Asia) Lebanese migrants were classified as Asians and came within the scope of the White Australia policy which intentionally restricted non-white immigration to Australia. Lebanese migrants, like others deemed non-white by Australian law, were excluded from citizenship, the right to vote and employment, and were treated as enemy aliens during World War I and World War II. In 1897 Lebanese store keepers and businesses were accused of fraud by state border Customs officers during Queensland customs prosecution cases.
Prior to 1918, Lebanese migrants to Australia were not habitually distinguished from Turks because the area of modern Lebanon was a province of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Administration then passed to the French Mandate for several decades, which ruled it together with what would become Syria, its neighbour. Hence, for that period, the Lebanese were not distinguished from Syrians.
By 1947, there were 80,000 Lebanese-born in Australia, almost all Christian. The Lebanese born population numbered 280,000 in 1971 and had doubled to 550,000 in 1981. Following the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975-1990, more than 20,000 civil war refugees arrived in Australia. This wave of migrants were often poor and for the first time, over half of them were Muslim. This influx of new migrants changed the character of the established Lebanese community in Australia significantly, especially in Sydney where 70% of the Lebanese-born population were concentrated.
For the remainder of the 1970s and 1980s, unrest in Lebanon caused a large increase in the number of Lebanese migrating to Australia, continuing with a significant proportion being comprised by Muslims.
In 1991, there were 130,000 people who were first generation immigrants born in Lebanon and 350,000 second generation people and 120,000 third and fourth generation associated with Lebanon as a birthplace.
Following the trials for a series of gang rape attacks in Sydney in 2000 by a group of Lebanese, the Lebanese Muslim Australian community came under significant scrutiny by the media in addition to a more general anti-Muslim backlash after the September 11 attacks in 2001. Community concern and divisiveness continued in the wake of the 2005 Cronulla riots in Sydney. In 2014, a series of documentaries on Lebanese Australians was presented by SBS under the title Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl.
Key events and organisations
There are now many Lebanese-Australian business groups, businesses and events aimed primarily at engaging the large Lebanese community in Australia and strengthening ties between Australia and Lebanon.
The peak business body is the Australian Lebanese Chamber of Commerce, with associations in both Sydney and Melbourne.
Most Lebanese people today live outside of Lebanon. Because of a higher birth rate among Muslims, and the prolonged emigration of Lebanese Christians for the last two centuries (leading to their depletion in Lebanon itself), today, an estimated 51% of Lebanese in Lebanon are Muslim (having become the majority in the last two to three decades). Of the Lebanese outside of Lebanon, known also as the Lebanese diaspora which numbers at around 22 million (more than 5x the population of Lebanon itself), the vast majority are Christian (between 75%-85%).
All main Lebanese religious groups — Christians, including Maronites, Melkites, Greek Orthodox, Protestants, Orthodox and Catholic Lebanese Armenians, Muslims, including Shi'a and Sunnis denominations; Druze, amongst others — are now represented.
Lebanese Australians have a moderate rate of return migration to Lebanon. In December 2001, the Department of Foreign Affairs estimated that there were 30,000 Australian citizens resident in Lebanon.
Notable Lebanese Australians
|Name||Born – Died||Notable for||Connection with Australia||Connection with Lebanon|
|Anthony Alexander Alam||1896–1983||member of the New South Wales Legislative Council||born Australia||parents born Lebanon|
|Joseph Assaf||1945||Multicultural Businessman||has Australian Citizenship||born in Lebanon|
|Mireille Astore||1961||Artist and writer||emigrated to Australia||born in Lebanon|
|Ron Bakir||1977||Mobile phone retailer||emigrated to Australia||born in Lebanon|
|David Basheer||1966||Sports Presenter and Commentator||born Australia||Mother born in Lebanon|
|Max Basheer||1927||Former administrator with the South Australian National Football League||born Australia||parents born Lebanon|
|Marie Bashir||1930||Governor of New South Wales||born Australia||parents born in Lebanon|
|Steve Bracks||1954||Former Premier of Victoria||born Australia||paternal grandfather born in Lebanon|
|Michael Cheika||1967||Head coach of the Wallabies and the New South Wales Waratahs||Born in Australia||Parents born in Lebanon|
|Firass Dirani||1984||Actor||born Australia||of Lebanese origin|
|Sam Doumany||Former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice in Queensland|
|Hazem El Masri||1976||Canterbury Bulldogs Rugby league player||migrated to Australia as child||born Lebanon|
|Nazih Elasmar||1954||member of the Victorian Legislative Council||migrated to Australia||born Lebanon|
|Benny Elias||1963||Former National Rugby League player||migrated to Australia as a child||born Lebanon|
|Ahmad Elrich||1981||International soccer player||born Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Tarek Elrich||1987||Newcastle United Jets soccer player||born Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Robbie Farah||1984||Wests Tigers Rugby league player||born Australia||father emigrated from Lebanon c. 1960|
|Buddy Farah||1978||FIFA agent - Ex soccer player||born in Australia||of Lebanese descent|
|Joe Hachem||1966||2005 World Series of Poker champion||migrated to Australia as child||born Lebanon|
|Milham Hanna||former Australian rules footballer with Carlton||grew up in Australia||born Lebanon|
|Joe Hasham||1948||actor||emigrated to Australia as infant||born in Lebanon|
|Bachar Houli||1988||Australian Rules Football player||born Australia||parents born Lebanon|
|Sabrina Houssami||1986||2006 Australian representative at Miss World||born Australia||Lebanese father|
|John Ibrahim||1970||Underworld figure||born Australia|
|Tamara Jaber||1982||Singer||born Australia||Lebanese father|
|Jessica Kahawaty||1988||Beauty pageant contestant who came third in Miss World 2012 when representing Australia||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Bob Katter, Sr.||1918–1990||member for Federal Division of Kennedy 1966-1990||born Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Bob Katter||1945||member for Federal Division of Kennedy 1993||born Australia||Lebanese descent, son of Katter, Sr.|
|Bilal Khazal||Jailed Al-Qaeda associate, jihadist, Qantas baggage handler||working Australia||born Lebanon|
|Tim Mannah||1988||Parramatta Eels Rugby League player||born Australia||Lebanese descent|
|David Malouf||1934||writer||born Australia||father Lebanese|
|Daryl Melham||1954||member of the Australian House of Representatives||born in Australia||father migrated from Lebanon|
|Cesar Melhem||1965||Victorian state secretary of Australian Workers' Union||migrated to Australia||born in Lebanon|
|Feiz Mohammad||Fundamentalist cleric||born in Australia|
|Tony Mokbel||1965||convicted drug trafficker and prison fugitive||emigrated to Australia||Born in Kuwait father originally from Lebanon|
|Andrew Nabbout||1998||footballer for Melbourne Victory||Born in Australia||Grandparents from Lebanon & offered a spot in the Lebanon national football team|
|Fehmi Naji||1928||Grand Mufti of Australia||born in Lebanon|
|Paul Nakad||1975||actor and hip hop artist||born Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Jacques Nasser||1947||Former CEO of Ford Motors||raised in Australia||born Lebanon|
|Eddie Obeid||1943||Former Member of the NSW Legislative Council and former Minister for Fisheries and Mineral Resources, under investigation for corruption||working in Australia||born Matrit (also spelt Metrit) Bsharri District|
|Barbara Perry||NSW parliamentarian||born Australia||parents born Lebanon|
|Roger Rasheed||1969||international tennis coach and former player||born Australia||father migrated from Lebanon|
|Michael Reda||1972||International football player||born Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Joseph Saba||1940||Fashion designer||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Nicholas Shehadie||1926||Lord Mayor of Sydney (1973–1975) and member of Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame||born Australia||of Lebanese descent|
|John Symond||Founder and Managing Director of Aussie Group||born Australia||parents born Lebanon|
|Keysar Trad||1967||Muslim community spokesman||migrated to Australia||born in Lebanon|
|Salim Wardeh||1968||Minister of Culture in Lebanon||has Australian citizenship|
|Petra Yared||1979||Australian television actor||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Doris Younane||1963||Actress||born in Australia||Parents born Lebanon|
- "The People of Australia – Statistics from the 2011 Census" (PDF). Australian Government.
- "3416.0 - Perspectives on Migrants, 2007: Birthplace and Religion". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2008-02-25. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- "El Australie - a history of Lebanese migration to Australia". Hindsight - ABC Radio National. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2008-02-03. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- "History of immigration from Lebanon". Origins:Immigrant Communities in Victoria. Museum of Victoria. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- Monsour, Anne (2005). "Chapter 10. Religion Matters: The experience of Syrian/Lebanese Christians in Australia from the 1880s to 1947". Humanities Research Journal (online version) (Australian National University E Press) XII (1, 2005: Bigotry and Religion in Australia, 1865–1950). ISSN 1834-8491. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- This was a common enough practice in Australian immigration information — for example, the UK and Ireland were not statistically separated until as late as 1996).
- Humphrey, Michael (2004). "Lebanese identities: between cities, nations and trans-nations". Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ) (Association of Arab-American University Graduates) (Winter): page 8. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- Jupp, James (1995-01-01). "Ethnic and cultural diversity in Australia". 1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 1995. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- "Little Lebanon in Melbourne". reviewstream.com. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- "... For Being Lebanese". Four Corners (TV program). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2002-09-16. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- jackson, Liz (2006-03-13). "Riot and Revenge (Program transcript)". Four Corners (TV program). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl at SBS On Demand, 3 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014
- Lebanese Film Festival: www.lebanesefilmfestival.com.au
- Chamie, Joseph (1981), Religion & Fertility: Arab Christian- Muslim Differentials, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
- "Australian Communities: Lebanese Australians". racismnoway.com.au. 19 January 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- "Estimates of Australian Citizens Living Overseas as at December 2001" (PDF). Southern Cross Group (DFAT data). 14 February 2001. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- "Govt to foot Lebanon evacuation bill". ABC News. 22 July 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-15.
- Kazzi, Antoine. Brilliant Faces. Sydney: El-Telegraph, 2009. (ISBN 9780646519135) page 83. This project that describes the achievements of 300 notable Arab Australians was funded by the Australian Government.
- McWhirter, Erin (6 February 2010). "Underbelly's Firass Dirani - the day I met John Ibrahim, the King of the Cross". heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
- "Anthony Alexander Alam - Political Leader". Australian Lebanese Historical Society. 2002. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
- "Tamara Jaber Biography". Take 40. 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-20.
- Australian Lebanese Historical Society
- Lebanese-Australian Embassy
- United Australian Lebanese movement
- World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) Geographic-Regional Council (GRC) for Australia and New Zealand