Maltese Australians are Australian citizens of Maltese ancestry or Malta-born people who reside in Australia. While most of them emigrated to Australia from Malta, a number emigrated from the United Kingdom where they had settled after having been expelled from Egypt, as holders of British passports, during the Suez Crisis. According to the 2011 Census, there were 163,990 people of Maltese descent in Australia and 41,274 Malta-born people residing in the country at the moment of the census, having a fall of 5.6 per cent compared to the 2006 Census. The largest Malta-born community in Australia is in the state of Victoria, with 19,730 people.
People with Maltese ancestry as a percentage of the population in Australia divided geographically by statistical local area, as of the 2011 census
The first Maltese arrivals to Australia were convicts who arrived around 1810. The first Maltese immigrant (as opposed to convict or bonded servant) is thought to have been Antonio Azzopardi who arrived in 1838. Many attempts were made at organised mass migration throughout the 19th century but it was only in 1883 the first group of 70 labourers (and nine stowaways) arrived.
Group and mass migration gradually picked up, first, to Queensland and, after World War I, to Sydney whose automobile industry drew many. Immigration was not without difficulty as Maltese workers tended to be looked down upon and restrictions and quotas were applied. A significant percentage of the Maltese immigrants had intended to stay only temporarily for work but many settled in Australia permanently. Maltese immigration to Australia reached its peak during the 1960s. The majority of Maltese immigrants reside in Melbourne's western suburbs of Sunshine (especially on Glengala Rd) and St Albans, and in Sydney's western suburbs of Greystanes and Horsley Park. The Maltese, as in their home country, are predominately Roman Catholic.
The first woman to migrate from Malta to Australia was Carmela Sant in 1915. The move was prompted by her husband Giuseppe Ellul, who had migrated in 1913. Giuseppe Ellul was a stonemason in Mosta before moving to Australia to commence a successful career in sugar cane and dairy farming in Mackay, Queensland. In 1916 the couple gave birth to the first born Maltese Australian, Joseph Ellul.
According to the 2006 Australian Census, 43,701 Australians were born in Malta. Maltese ancestry was claimed by 92,332 either alone or with another ancestry. The 2001 Australian Census reported that Maltese was the 14th most common self-reported ancestry. In the Mackay area in Queensland, some 25% of the population are of Maltese heritage.