Hinduism in Australia
1.28% of the Australian Population
|Regions with significant populations|
|Sydney · Canberra · Melbourne · Adelaide · Perth|
|English · Hindi · Punjabi · Gujarati · Tamil · Indian Languages|
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Hinduism in Australia is a minority religion consisting of more than 275,000 individuals, representing 1.3% of the total Australian population according to the 2011 census (up from 148,119 in the 2006 census). Hinduism is one of the fastest growing religions in Australia mostly through immigration. Hinduism is also one of the most youthful religions in Australia, with 34% and 66% of Hindus being under the age of 14 and 34 respectively.
In the 19th century, the British first brought Hindus from India to Australia to work on cotton and sugar plantations. Many remained as small businessmen, working as camel drivers, merchants and hawkers, selling goods between small rural communities. These days Hindus are well educated professionals in fields such as medicine, engineering, commerce and information technology, constituting a model minority. The Hindus in Australia are mostly of Indian, Sri Lankan, Fijian and Nepali origin, with some originating from other parts of the Indian subcontinent including Sindh.
The majority of Australian Hindus live along the Eastern Coast of Australia and are mainly located in the cities of Melbourne and Sydney. As a community Hindus live relatively peacefully and in harmony with the local populations. They have established a number of temples and other religious meeting places and celebrate most Hindu festivals.
The following dates briefly outline the arrival of Hinduism.
- As early as 300AD – Indonesian Hindu merchants make contact with Australian Aborigines.
- 1788 – Indian crews from Bay of Bengal came to Australia on trading ships.
- 1816 – Domestic servants in European households left the port of Calcutta to take up labouring work in Sydney.
- 1844 – P. Friell who had previously lived in India, brought 25 domestic workers from India to Sydney and these included a few women and children.
- 1850s – A Hindu Sindhi merchant, Shri Pammull, built a family opal trade in Melbourne that has prosperously continued with his third-to fourth-generation descendants.
- 1857 – The census showed a mere 277 Hindus in Victoria. The gold rush years attracted many Indians to Australia and across the borders to the gold mines in Victoria.
- 1893 – The census showed that 521 Hindus were living in New South Wales.
- 1901 – Just about 800 Indians lived in Australia, the majority of them lived in northern NSW and Queensland.
- 1911 – The census counted 3698 Hindus in the entire country.
- 1921 – Less than 2200 Indians lived in Australia.
- 1971 – Swami Prabhupada arrives in Australia and founded first Hare Krishna center in Sydney.
- 1977 – The first Hindu temple in Australia, the Sri Mandir Temple, was built. Established by three devotees; Dr Prem Shankar, Dr Padmanabn Shrindhar Prabhu and Dr Anand, who bought an old house in Auburn NSW and paid $12000.00 to convert it into a temple.
- 1981 – The census recorded 12,466 Hindus in Victoria and 12,256 in NSW from a total of 41,730 in the entire country.
- 1985 – A Hindu society, the Saiva Manram, was formed in order to build a temple for Lord Murukan. Since its inception, Lord Murukan has been called 'Sydney Murukan'. The Saiva Manram has worked hard for nearly ten years to build a temple for Lord Murukan.
- 1986 – According to the 1986 census, the number of Hindus in Australia surpasses 21,000.
- 1991 – According to the 1991 census, the number of Hindus in Australia surpasses 43,000.
- 1996 – Hindus with their birthplace in India made up 31 per cent of all Hindus in Australia. But the census also showed there were 67,270 Hindus living in Australia.
- 2001 – According to the 2001 census, the number of Hindus in Australia surpasses 95,000.
- 2003 – Sri Karphaga Vinayakar Temple was formed in order to build a temple for Lord Ganesha/Ganapathi/Vinayakar. Since its inception, Lord Ganesh has been called 'Sydney Ganesh Temple'. "www.vinayakar.org.au"
- 2006 – According to the 2006 census, the number of Hindus in Australia surpasses 145,000.
- 2011 – According to the 2011 census, the number of Hindus in Australia surpasses 275,000.
- 2015 – Daniel Mookhey becomes the first Australian MP to be sworn into office by swearing his/her oath on the Bhagavad Gita.
Hindus by State/Territory
Data from the 2011 Census showed that all states(and A.C.T and the Northern Territory) apart from New South Wales had their Hindu population double from the 2006 census. New South Wales has had the largest number of Hindus since at least 2001.
|State/Territory||Population 2011 Census||Percentage 2011 Census||Population 2006 Census||Percentage 2006 Census||2006-2011 Growth||Reference|
|New South Wales||119,843||1.7%||73,717||1.1%||+46,126|||
|Australian Capital Territory||6,053||1.7%||3,289||1.0%||+2,764|||
According to the 2006 Census, 44.16% of all Australians who were born in India were Hindu, so were 47.20% of those born in Fiji, 1.84% born in Indonesia, 3.42% from Malaysia, and 18.61% from Sri Lanka.
Less than 17% of the Australian Hindus use English as their home language. The number of Australian Hindus speaking various languages as their home language are:
- Total - 275,534
- Hindi language - 81,892
- English language - 39,800
- Tamil language - 36,940
- Gujarati language - 29,250
- Nepali language - 21,766
- Telugu language - 16,717
Other major languages spoken by Australian Hindus include:
- Punjabi language - 9,442
- Marathi language - 7,774
- Malayalam language - 5,938
- Bengali language - 5,685
- Kannada language - 5,383
- South Asian nfd - 3,531
- Indo-Aryan nfd - 1,988
- French language- 1,180
- Indonesian language - 1,171,
- Konkani language - 609
- Fijian Hindustani - 572
- Mauritian Creole - 514
- Malay language - 436
- Tulu language- 348
- Oriya language- 282
- Sindhi language - 277
- Sinhalese language - 232
- Assamese language - 165
- Italian language- 158
- Fijian language - 129
- Balinese language- 129
- Vietnamese language - 109
Sri Venkateswara Temple (SVT), Helensburgh, New South Wales, Australia
Main Gopuram of the Sri Venkateswara Temple (SVT), Helensburgh, New South Wales, Australia
Lord Shiva Temple, Perth
Lord Murugan Temple, Sydney
See Also: All Hindu Temples in Australia, their contact details and opening hours 
Byrnes, J 2007,'Hinduism', Religion and Ethics <http://www.abc.net.au/religion/stories/s790133.htm> http://www.theindiansun.com.au/top-story/australias-oldest-hindu-temple-readies-janmasthami/
- Megan Levy (2012-04-13). "http://www.theage.com.au/national/snapshot-of-a-nation-what-the-census-reveals-about-us-20120621-20po5.html". Theage.com.au. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "2006 Census Table : Australia". Censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "Melbourne's fastest-growing religion". Theage.com.au. 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "2914.0.55.002 2006 Census Ethnic Media Package" (Excel download). Census Dictionary, 2006 (cat.no 2901.0). Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2007-06-27. Retrieved 2008-07-14.
- "Census 2011 Australia | ABS Population Income | SBS Census Explorer". Sbs.com.au. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
- "All Hindu Temples in Australia their contact details and opening hours". AllHinduTemples.com.
- Chinmaya Mission Australia
- Hindu Council of Australia an umbrella organisation
- Vishva Hindu Parishad of Australia
- Hinduism Summit Melbourne
- Hindu Community Council of Victoria (HCCV)
- The Hindu Temple and Cultural Centre ACT[dead link]
- Purohit Services Archived 26 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Religious Services
- Hindu Temples in Australia
- Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh