Sri Lankan Australian

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Sri Lankan Australian
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Total population
103,772 by ancestry (2011)[1][2]
86,412 born in Sri Lanka (2011)[3]
Over 0.48% of the population
Regions with significant populations
 Victoria 43,9911
 New South Wales 23,7041
 Queensland 7,6961
 Western Australia 5,3391
 South Australia 2,6701
 Australian Capital Territory 2,2681
 Northern Territory 4471
 Tasmania 2951
Languages
English, Sinhala, Tamil
Religion
Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Roman Catholic and Islam
Related ethnic groups
Sri Lankan
Footnotes
1 Populations based on Sri Lankan born population only, 2011 census.[1]

Sri Lankan Australian refers to people of Sri Lankan heritage living in Australia, this includes Sri Lankans by birth and by ancestry. Sri Lankan Australians constitute one of the largest groups of Overseas Sri Lankans and is the largest Sri Lankan diaspora community in Oceania. Sri Lankan Australians include Sinhalese people, Sri Lankan Tamil, Sri Lankan Moors, Burghers and others.

History[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1816 2 —    
1876 ~500 —    
1901 609 —    
1911 611 +0.3%
1921 637 +4.3%
1933 638 +0.2%
1947 * —    
1954 1,961 —    
1961 3,433 +75.1%
1966 5,562 +62.0%
1971 9,091 +63.4%
1976 14,866 +63.5%
1981 16,966 +14.1%
1986 22,513 +32.7%
1991 37,283 +65.6%
1996 64,068 +71.8%
2001 53,461 −16.6%
2006 62,256 +16.5%
2011 86,412 +38.8%
Data is based on population born in Sri Lanka, Australian Government Census.[3]
*Included in Indian population

Early arrivals[edit]

Recorded Sri Lankan immigration to Australia started in 1816, with the transportation of Drum Major William O'Dean (a Sri Lankan Malay) and his wife Eve (a Sinhalese). Early immigrants from Sri Lanka (at that time known as Ceylon) were generally (unlike the O'Deans) absorbed into the Aboriginal population. Other early references of Sri Lankan migration date back to the 1870s when authorities in South Australia sought out the possibility of importing labour from Ceylon.[4] The first Sinhalese from Sri Lanka arrived in 1870 to work in sugarcane plantations in Queensland. A community was believed to exist on Thursday Island in 1876. In 1882, a group of 500 left Colombo for Queensland, mostly in Mackay.[4]

20th century[edit]

The number of permanent settlers arriving in Australia from Sri Lanka since 1991 (monthly)

under the White Australia policy, immigration was negligible. It resumed after the Second World War primarily involving migration of Burghers, who fulfilled the then criteria that they should be of predominantly European ancestry and that their appearance should be European. By 1954 around 2000 Sri Lankans had been accepted. Sinhalese migration began in the 1960s but it was after the mid-1970s that large groups arrived, which also included Christians and Buddhists. During the 1970s intake restrictions loosened and Sri Lankan students undertook courses in Australia as part of the Colombo Plan prior to the formal dismantling of the White Australia policy, and after 1973 and from the early 1980s Sinhalese, Tamil and Moor migration resumed and increased.[4][5]

Present[edit]

In The Australian People, S. Pinnawala writes that "social interaction between the various Sri Lankan migrant groups has often been influenced by factors originating in their home country".

In the 1980s, on a reflection of ethnic unrest in Sri Lanka, tensions between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities grew. However, in Pinnawala's opinion, more recently a Sri Lankan identity has developed among the various religious and ethnic migrants.

This has led to many new community organisations being established to promote Sri Lankan culture and traditions. There have also been strong links formed between Sinhalese Buddhists now living in Australia and their co-religionists from Burma, Thailand and Cambodia. Similar trends can be traced between Christian migrants from Sri Lanka who now live in Australia.[4]

Demographics[edit]

People born in Sri Lanka as a percentage of the population in Sydney divided geographically by postal area, as of the 2011 census.
People with Sinhalese ancestry as a percentage of the population in Sydney divided geographically by postal area, as of the 2011 census

Sri Lankan Australians are the 12th largest ethnic group in Australia, numbering 86,412. The city of Melbourne contains just under half of the Sri Lankan Australians. Fewer than 20% are estimated to live outside New South Wales and Victoria.

The number of Sri Lankan Australians counted in 1996, including the second-generation, was 64,068. The 2011 census recorded 86,412 Sri Lanka born in Australia,

The rate of assimilation among Sri Lankan Australians is fairly high: among second-generation immigrants, the 'in-marriage' rate was extremely low – 5.6% for brides and 3.0% for grooms.

Sinhalese Australians have an exceptionally low rate of return migration to Sri Lanka. In December 2001, the Department of Foreign Affairs estimated that there were 800 Australian citizens resident in Sri Lanka. It is unclear whether these were returning Sri Lankan emigrants with Australian citizenship, their Sri Lankan Australian children, or other Australians present on business or for some other reason.

Tamils in Australia number 19,426 in the 2011 Census.[2] The majority of Tamils born in Sri Lanka came to Australia after 1983 when Sri Lanka faced ethnic turmoil and unrest (Black July. The Western suburbs of Sydney and the South Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne have a relatively high number of Tamil speaking people. Homebush in Sydney's west has the highest percentage with 11.5% of the population speaking Tamil at home. Numerous Tamil schools and Hindu Temples have been established in all main cities to cater for the growing Sri Lankan Tamil population.

Analysis of 2011 census by language and ancestry[6]
Ancestry Language (First Ancestry) Language (Second Ancestry)
Tamil English Sinhala Not
Stated
Other Total Tamil English Sinhala Not
Stated
Other Total
Tamil 11,407 1,057 85 58 149 12,756 650 257 16 13 48 984
Indian Tamil 406 50 4 3 15 478 21 12 0 0 -1 32
Sri Lankan Tamil 4,153 702 102 27 41 5,025 62 83 6 0 8 159
Sub-total Tamil 15,966 1,809 191 88 205 18,259 733 352 22 13 55 1,175
Indian 20,923 77,033 64 3,204 249,641 350,865 540 31,992 38 217 7,246 40,033
Sri Lankan 8,534 23,792 27,862 442 1,551 62,181 300 11,541 679 47 389 12,956
Australian 748 4,777,283 684 24,942 118,275 4,921,932 82 2,135,198 50 6,458 34,761 2,176,549
Sinhalese 942 2,351 16,898 115 225 20,531 76 901 1,372 13 54 2,416
English 862 7,062,120 809 33,676 125,990 7,223,457 7 13,136 8 107 1,821 15,079
Malay 502 6,973 17 134 13,230 20,856 91 9,015 32 56 3,568 12,762
Singaporean 178 1,930 0 123 1,302 3,533 25 2,083 0 13 498 2,619
Not stated 856 391,451 913 979,843 102,167 1,475,230 47,984 10,434,941 45,710 1,060,759 3,465,645 15,055,039
Other 640 4,164,549 754 42,924 3,202,008 7,410,875 313 3,870,132 281 17,808 300,557 4,189,091
Total 50,151 16,509,291 48,192 1,085,491 3,814,594 21,507,719 50,151 16,509,291 48,192 1,085,491 3,814,594 21,507,719

Language[edit]

In 2006, there were 29,055 Australians who spoke Sinhalese at home.[7] SBS Radio is available in Sinhalese,[8] and Melbourne television channel Channel 31 runs the Sri Lankan Morning show, which has sections in Sinhalese.[9]

Religion[edit]

Most Sinhalese in Australian are Theravada Buddhists, a small percentage of Sinhalese follow branches of Christianity. Sri Lankans have established many Theravada Buddhist temples across Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia including the Dhamma Sarana Buddhist Temple of Melbourne's eastern suburbs.[10]

Majority of Sri Lankan Tamils are Hindu. The Sydney Murugan Temple was constructed for the needs of the high Tamil population in Western Sydney. Smaller temples have been built in the greater Sydney area. The Siva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs south east of Melbourne is also a temple built by Sri Lankan Tamils. The Sunshine Murugan Temple in western Melbourne also caters to the Tamil community. In other cities such as Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Townsville, Darwin, Canberra and Hobart, Hindu temples have also been built.

Culture[edit]

Popularly celebrated community festivals include Sri Lankan Independence Day (4 February) and Sri Lankan New Year (14 April). Sri Lankan restaurants are a becoming a popular feature of shopping strips in Melbourne, Hawthorn, Brunswick, Northcote and Dandenong, while Sri Lankan Australian media is also growing with newspapers, television and radio stations broadcasting cultural programs.[5]

Community[edit]

Suburb[N 1] Percentage of
Sri Lankans
Pendle Hill, New South Wales 9.4%[11]
Homebush, New South Wales 8.5%[12]
Homebush West, New South Wales 5.4%[13]
Endeavour Hills, Victoria 5.3%[14]
Dandenong, Victoria 4.8%[15]
Strathfield South, New South Wales 4.8%[16]
Lynbrook, Victoria 4.5%[17]
Hallam, Victoria 4.3%[18]
Lyndhurst, Victoria 4.2%[19]
Dandenong North, Victoria 3.7%[20]
Hampton Park, Victoria 3.7%[21]
Noble Park, Victoria 3.6%[22]
Glen Waverley, Victoria 3.6%[23]
Clayton South, Victoria 3.4%[24]
Clayton, Victoria 3.3%[25]
Oakleigh East, Victoria 3.2%[26]
Keysborough, Victoria 3.1%[27]
Lidcombe, New South Wales 3.1%[28]

Australia[edit]

Organizations
Websites

Canberra[edit]

  • Sri Lanka Dhamma Vihara Association of Canberra[30]

New South Wales[edit]

Organizations
Radio

Victoria[edit]

Organizations

South Australia (Adelaide)[edit]

Organizations


Western Australia[edit]

Organizations

Northern Territory[edit]

Notable Sri Lankan Australians[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Areas with a high concentration of Sri Lankans in Australia, according to the 2006 Census.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Community Information Summary Sri Lanka-born". Department of Immigration and Citizenship. 
  2. ^ a b "Ancestry – Sri Lankan /Sinhalese/Tamil". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "People in Australia who were born in Sri Lanka". Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 10 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d [1][dead link]
  5. ^ a b "Sri Lankans". eMelbourne. Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  6. ^ "2011 Census of Population and Housing". Table Builder. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 
  7. ^ "2006 Census - Australia - Language". Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  8. ^ "SBS Schedule". Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "Channel 31 - Sri Lanka Morning Show". Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  10. ^ "Dhamma Sarana Buddhist Temple". Retrieved 22 March 2010. 
  11. ^ "2011 Census QuickStats : Pendle Hill (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2014-03-10. 
  12. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Homebush (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  13. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Homebush West (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  14. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Endeavour Hills (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  15. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Dandenong (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  16. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Strathfield South (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  17. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Lynbrook (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  18. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Hallam (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  19. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Lyndhurst (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  20. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Dandenong North (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  21. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Hampton Park (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  22. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Noble Park (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  23. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Glen Waverley (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  24. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Clayton South (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  25. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Clayton (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  26. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Oakleigh East (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  27. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Keysborough (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  28. ^ "2006 Census QuickStats : Lidcombe (State Suburb)". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  29. ^ "usmaa.org.au". usmaa.org.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  30. ^ "The Sri Lanka Dhamma Vihara Association of Canberra(SLDVAC) Inc". Dhammavihara.org.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  31. ^ "alma.org.au". alma.org.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 
  32. ^ a b [2][dead link]
  33. ^ "usmaa.org.au". usmaa.org.au. Retrieved 2013-07-27. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Information about Sri Lankans in Australia can be obtained from following publications;
  • Gamage, S.'Curtains of culture, ethnicity, and class: changing composition of the Sri Lankan community in Australia, Journal of intercultural studies, vol 19(1), 1998,pp. 37–56.
  • Gamage, S.2001. Sinhalese in Australia, in The Australian people – An Encyclopedia of the nation, its people and their origins(ed) James Jupp, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press,Cambridge, pp, 684–685.
  • Gamage, S.2002. Adaptation Experiences of Sri Lankan Immigrants and their Children in Australia in the Context of Multiculturalism and Anglo-Conformity, in Annette Richardson and Michael Wyness(eds) Exploring Cultural Perspectives: Integration and Globalization, International Cultural Research Network (ICRN) Press, Edmonton, pp. 3–29.
  • Gamage, S 2014. Life of Sri Lankans in Australia: identity,lifestyle and dilemmas of living between two cultures, Island(29.01.2014), Colombo.
  • Reeves, P. 2014. The Encyclopeadia of the Sri Lankan People, Edisons Didier Millet Pty Ltd.Singapore

External links[edit]