Norwegian Australian

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Norway Norwegian Australians Australia
Total population
3,710 (by birth, 2011)
23,037 (by ancestry, 2011)
Regions with significant populations
Melbourne, Tasmania, Adelaide, Sydney, Perth
Australian English, Norwegian
Protestant, Roman Catholic
Related ethnic groups
Norwegians, Norwegian South African, Norwegian New Zealander, Norwegian American, Norwegian Canadian, Danish Australian, Swedish Australian

Norwegian Australians (Norwegian: Norskaustraliere) are Australians of Norwegian ancestry. The majority of these people were part of the Norwegian diaspora.


An organised European immigration to Australia was initiated in 1788. Most of the early emigrants were deported from Britain to the "Penal Colony". The most famous was probably Knud Geelmuyden Bull (1811 - 1889), from Bergen, a painter and forger of coins who was deported to Hobart, Tasmania.[1]

However, free settlers flocked to Australia when the gold rush began in 1851, perhaps including as many as 5000 Norwegians, with as many as half remaining in around 1860.[citation needed] Many of these had previously tried their luck in California, and many returned to America.

Organised emigration began with a single person in 1867, two the next year and 15 emigrants in 1869. There was a strong percentage growth, with 50 in 1870, 221 in 1871, 784 in 1872, 354 in 1873, 36 in 1874, 76 in 1875 and 42 in 1876, about 1500 in total. In 1880, a further 595 Norwegians emigrated to Australia.[citation needed]

In 2008, 800 people celebrated the Norwegian Constitution Day in Brisbane. The 17 May celebrations in Brisbane have in recent years been considered to be the largest celebration of the Norwegian national day in the southern hemisphere.[2]


Australia is one of the most popular countries for Norwegian students. There are currently about 2,500 Norwegians studying in Australia. There are also some 200 Norwegian students in New Zealand.

Half of the Norwegian students in Australia and New Zealand are members of ANSA — the Association of Norwegian Students Abroad. The Norwegian Embassy in Canberra cooperates closely with ANSA Australia, and has for instance its own column in ANSA Australia's magazine "ANZA".

Notable Norwegian Australians[edit]

Name Birth and Death Occupation Notes
Henry Lawson 1867-1922 Writer and poet Norwegian descent
Chris Leikvoll 1975- Rugby league player Norwegian descent
Annalise Braakensiek 1972- Model, actress and TV presenter Czech, German and Norwegian descent
Anita Hegh 1972- Actor Norwegian and Swedish-Estoninan descent
Dominic Purcell 1970- Actor Of Norwegian, English and Irish descent
Andrew Voss 1970- Sports commentator Norwegian descent
Mary Hansen 1966-2002 Singer Danish and Norwegian descent
Jasmuheen 1957- Breatharian Norwegian descent
Derek Hansen 1944- Novelist and story writer Norwegian descent
Justus Jorgensen 1893-1975 Artist and Architect Norwegian descent
James Magnussen 1991- Olympic swimmer Norwegian descent

See also[edit]