American Australians

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American Australians
Total population
77,010 (by birth, 2011 census)
62,960 (by ancestry, 2011 census)
Regions with significant populations
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra
Australian English · American English
Related ethnic groups
African Americans · European Americans · Hispanic and Latino Americans · Asian Americans · Native Americans · Pacific Islander Americans

American Australians are Australian citizens who are of American descent,[1] including immigrants and residents who are descended from migrants from the United States of America and its territories. This can include people of European, African American, American Indian, Hispanic or Latin American, Asian, or Pacific Islander backgrounds.


People born in the United States as a percentage of the population in Australia divided geographically by statistical local area, as of the 2011 census
Number of permanent settlers arriving in Australia from the USA since 1991 (monthly)

At the 2006 Australian Census, 71,718 Australian residents declared that they were American-born. Concentrations of American-born residents were in Sydney (16,339), Melbourne (11,130), Brisbane (6,057), Perth (5,558), Adelaide (2,862), and Canberra (1,970).[2] Also at the census, residents could nominate up to two ancestries; 56,283 respondents declared they had American ancestry with 3,901 who declared Hispanic ancestry, 1,798 declared an African American ancestry, 3,936 declared a native North American Indian ancestry and 224 declared Puerto Rican ancestry.[3]

Community history[edit]

The first North Americans to make landfall in Australia were British crewmen from the Endeavour under Captain Cook, who sojourned at Botany Bay in 1770. Once a permanent colony was established in New South Wales, "trade links were developed almost exclusively with North America."[4]

The North American colonies – including both contemporary Canada and the United States – had been used by Britain for penal transportation. With the independence of the United States in the 1770s, the British Government sought new lands to exile convicts, and Australia became the pre-eminent prison colony of the British Empire.[5]

From the 1770s to the 1840s, North Americans settled in Australia primarily as demobilised British soldiers and sailors, as convicts — a number of United States citizens were arrested at sea for maritime offences, tried, and transported[5] — and as whalers, sealers or itinerants. Many of these settlers moved on to New Zealand for a time, and often returned to New South Wales. African Americans had a noted presence in the earliest British outposts in Australia, usually after a period of service in the British Navy.[6]

In the 1850s, large numbers of United States citizens arrived, most usually after periods in gold rush California. These migrants settled predominantly in rural Victoria, where the discovery of gold had encouraged a large colony of prospectors and speculators. A number of United States-born played eminent roles in the Eureka Stockade, particularly in regard to paramilitary formations organised for self-defence by the miners. The colonial authorities suspected the United States-born – amongst others, such as the Irish – of disseminating republicanism.

At the time of Federation in 1901, there were 7,448 United States-born in Australia.[4] Around this time, these American-Australians were notable in the labour movement – including the formation of trade unions and the Australian Labor Party (hence Labor being spelt in the North American fashion instead of the more common Labour, however both spellings were acceptable in Australian English at the time). Despite North American socio-cultural influences, Australian public opinion was wary of the United States itself: the visit of the "Great White Fleet" of the United States Navy to Sydney and Melbourne in 1908 was greeted with fanfare,[7] but provoked immediate comment that the (British) Royal Navy should make an even greater show of force to restate in the strongest military terms Australia's position as the south-eastern guarantor of the British Empire.[7]

During the Second World War, over a million United States soldiers were at some point stationed in Australia at the request of the Australian Government following the surrender of the British garrison in Singapore to the Japanese in 1941. When the war ended, 12,000 Australian women migrated to the United States as war brides, and 10,000 United States citizens settled in Australia – including ex-servicemen as war husbands.

The ANZUS Treaty between the United States, Australia, and New Zealand was signed in 1951, locking the three countries into a mutual defence pact. This increased social and political ties between Australia and the United States and led to Australia and New Zealand committing troops to the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s – these connections and increased worldwide travel encouraged greater numbers of United States citizens to migrate permanently and in 1971 there were 39,035 United States-born residents in Australia[4]


The American International School of Sydney was formerly operated.

Notable people[edit]

Name Born – Died Notable for Connection with Australia Connection with the United States
Janet Andrewartha 1952– actress works in Australia born in Camarillo, California
Aaron Baddeley 1981– golf player moved to Australia when 2 years old; raised in Australia born in Lebanon, New Hampshire
Carsten Ball 1987– tennis player raised in Australia born in Newport Beach, California
Duncan Ball 1941– author moved to Australia in 1974; naturalised Australian in 1980 born in Boston, Massachusetts
Cate Blanchett 1969– actress born in Australia father was American
Betty Bobbitt 1939– actress and author moved to Australia in 1962 Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jonah Bolden 1996– basketball player born and raised in Australia father Bruce Bolden is an African American who played in the NBL and still lives in Australia
Chelsea Brown 1946–2017 comedian and actress moved to Australia in 1977; married to actor Vic Rooney until his death in 2002 Born in Chicago, Illinois
Cal Bruton 1954– basketball player and coach moved to Australia in 1979; naturalised 1983; played for the men's national team and named to the NBL 25th Anniversary Team in 2003. born in New York City, New York; played college basketball at Wichita State University
C. J. Bruton 1975– basketball player moved to Australia with his father Cal in 1979; naturalised along with his father; played for the men's national team Son of Cal Bruton; born in Wichita, Kansas while his father was playing at Wichita State
John Butler 1975– musician, founder John Butler Trio Australian father; moved to Australia in 1986 born in Torrance, California
Kate Ceberano 1966– actress and singer born and raised in Australia her father Tino Ceberano is American of Filipino Hawaiian descent
Didier Cohen 1985– artists and repertoire (a&r), media personality, actor, and model raised in Australia born in Los Angeles
Toni Collette 1972– actress, producer, and singer born and raised in Australia her biological paternal grandfather was American
Bruce Djite 1987– football (soccer) player moved to Australia when 3 years old; raised in Australia born in Washington, D.C.
Dante Exum 1995– basketball player born and raised in Australia father Cecil Exum is an African American who played in the NBL and still lives in Australia
Mel Gibson 1956– actor and director moved to Australia when 12 years old; paternal grandmother was Australian; honorary Officer of the Order of Australia born Peekskill, New York and holds dual US and Irish citizenships
Ricky Grace 1966– basketball player moved to Australia in 1990; naturalised c. 1996; played for the men's national team and named to the NBL 25th Anniversary Team. born in Dallas, Texas; played college basketball at the University of Oklahoma
Jean-Marie Guilfoil 1967- musician, producer; one half of Electronic/Dance duo Ground Level moved to Australia in 1990 Born in Madison, Wisconsin
John Harkins 1960– jazz pianist and singer moved to Australia in 1985; founder of the John Harkins Trio; frequent performer at Manly Jazz Festival and others studied classical piano at NYC's Manhattan School of Music and spent his younger years playing in famous Chicago and NYC jazz clubs.
Colleen Hewett 1950– singer and actress born and raised in Australia her family on her maternal side are of African American descent; great great grandfather is a native of Guayana
Marcia Hines 1953– singer and actress moved to Australia in 1969; member of the Order of Australia (naturalised 1994) born in Boston, Massachusetts
Deni Hines 1970– singer and actress born in Australia Daughter of Marcia Hines; Father is of Somalian/Ethiopian descent
Kyrie Irving 1992– basketball player born in Australia; family returned to the U.S. when 2 years old parents are American
Terri Irwin 1964– Zoologist, naturalist, author and television presenter Wife of Steve Irwin. Moved to Australia in 1992; naturalised in 2009 three years after her husband's death born in Eugene, Oregon
Bindi Irwin 1998– Singer, actress, conservationist and television personality born in Australia Daughter of Terri and Steve Irwin
Robert Irwin 2003– Conservationist and television personality born in Australia Son of Terri and Steve Irwin
Kristina Keneally 1968– Premier of New South Wales 2009–2011, Senator 2018—present moved to Australia in 1994; naturalised Australian in 2000 born Kristina Marie Kerscher in Las Vegas, Nevada to American father and Australian mother
Nicole Kidman 1967– actress dual citizen by descent (Australian parents) dual citizen by birth (born in Honolulu, Hawaii)
Don Lane 1933–2009 TV presenter, cabaret performer moved to Australia 1965 born Morton Donald Isaacson in New York City, New York
Cheltzie Lee 1993– figure skater born in Australia mother is American
Leroy Loggins 1957– basketball player as an Australian citizen competed in the 1992 Olympic Games born New Brunswick, New Jersey
Bob Meyer 1932–2009 logician moved to Australia 1974 born in US
King O'Malley 1858–1953 Australian politician lived in Australia from 1888 claimed to have been born in Canada, more likely that he was born in US
Mike Nahan 1950– Australian politician moved to Australia in 1978; naturalised Australian in 1988 born in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Caleb Patterson-Sewell 1987– football (soccer) player moved to Australia when 2 years old; raised in Australia born in Hendersonville, Tennessee to American father and Australian mother
Don Pyke 1968– Australian rules footballer father is Australian born in Bloomington, Illinois
James Mahmud Rice 1972- sociologist raised in Australia born in Honolulu, Hawaii to American father and Indonesian mother
Peter Ruehl 1947–2011 journalist and television news personality moved to Australia in 1987 born in New York City, New York
Penny Sackett 1956– astronomer moved to Australia in 2002; naturalised Australian in 2008 born Lincoln, Nebraska
Brian Schmidt 1967– astrophysicist moved to Australia 1994, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2011 born Missoula, Montana
Jon Hunter Spence 1945–2011 Jane Austen scholar Became an Australian citizen in 2011 born Camilla, Georgia
Ben Simmons 1996– basketball player born and raised in Australia father Dave Simmons is an African American who played in the NBL and still lives in Australia
Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman 1981– Noted political activist dual citizen born in Australia
Sanford Wheeler 1970– Australian rules footballer migrated to Australia in 1975 born in US to Australian father and American mother
Lydia Williams 1988– football (soccer) player born in Australia mother is American

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For understanding purposes, it must clarify that is referring America, which is the colloquial English name for United States, and not to Americas, which is relative to American continent.
  2. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics – Ethnic Media Kit
  3. ^ ibid, Ancestry (full classification list) by Sex – Australia
  4. ^ a b c Publications: Statistics – Community Information Summaries
  5. ^ a b Hughes, Robert. The Fatal Shore. London: Routledge (1986).
  6. ^ The Colony. SBS Television (2002)
  7. ^ a b Macintyre, Stuart. A Concise History of Australia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2004).

External links[edit]

  • Margaret Park (2011). "Americans". Dictionary of Sydney. Retrieved 4 October 2015. [CC-By-SA] (Americans in Sydney)