Welsh Australians

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Welsh Australians
Awstraliaid Cymreig
Australian Welsh-heritage flag.svg
Total population
  • 113,242–683,700 (by ancestry)[1]
  • 25,317 (by birth, 2006)[2]
English, Welsh
Christianity (mostly Anglicanism and Presbyterianism)
Related ethnic groups
Welsh, Scottish Australians, Irish Australians, English Australians, Welsh New Zealanders, Welsh Argentines, Welsh Americans, Welsh Canadians

Welsh Australians are citizens of Australia whose ancestry originates in Wales.

Number of Welsh Australians[edit]

People with Welsh ancestry as a percentage of the population in Australia divided geographically by statistical local area, as of the 2011 census

According to the 2006 Australian census 25,317 Australian residents were born in Wales,[2] while 113,242 (0.44%) claimed Welsh ancestry, either alone or with another ancestry.[1]

The name Jones, which is common Wales although the name first arrived from England in the middle ages, is one of most-common surnames in Australia, accounting for over 1% of Australians, which suggests a higher rate of Welsh ancestry than indicated by self-identification.

A 1996 study gives the total ethnic strength of Welsh Australians as 243,400. This is made up by 44,100 of un-mixed origin and 683,700 of mixed origin.[3] This would make the Welsh the fifth largest Anglo-Celtic group in Australia after the English, Irish, Scottish and Cornish.

The Welsh Australian flag

Welsh emigration to Australia[edit]

It is believed that the eastern coast of Australia reminded Captain James Cook of the coast of South Wales (especially the Vale of Glamorgan coast, which he knew), hence the name he gave to it, "New South Wales". The first European colony in Australia was in New South Wales, beginning with the First Fleet of 1788. Welsh people numbered amongst these first settlers, and continued to arrive in the new colony through the British policy of penal transportation that was implemented for many criminal acts.

Mass emigration from Wales to Australia began in the nineteenth century with New South Wales and Victoria being popular destinations. Nineteenth-century Welsh settlers were mostly farmers, followed later by gold diggers and coal miners.

A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, and the Eureka Stockade rebellion in 1854 was an early expression of nationalist sentiment. Amongst its leaders was the Welsh-born Chartist John Basson Humffray, one of a significant group of immigrants that came over from Wales at this time.

List of notable Welsh Australians[edit]

Name Born-Died Notable for Connection with Australia Connection with Wales
Tony Abbott 1957– former prime minister has lived in Australia since he was three years old born in England and maternal grandmother was Welsh
James Atkin, Baron Atkin of Aberdovey (also known as Lord Atkin) 1867–1944 lawyer and judge born in Australia grew up in Wales from age 4; always thought of himself as Welsh
John Beard 1943– artist lives in Australia born in Wales
Edgeworth David 1858–1934 geologist and explorer (discovered the Hunter Valley coalfield) spent most of his life in Australia born in Wales
Stella Donnelly 1992– Musician Moved to Australia at age ten born in Wales
Hughie Edwards 1914–1982 senior officer in the RAF, former governor of Western Australia, recipient of Victoria Cross, most highly decorated serviceman of WW2 Born in Australia Welsh parents
Tyson Frizell 1991– Rugby League footballer Born in Australia Welsh father
Julia Gillard 1961– Former prime minister Migrated to Australia at age five born in Wales
Samuel Griffith 1845–1920 former premier of Queensland, chief justice of the High Court; principal author of the Constitution of Australia migrated to Australia in 1853 born in Wales
Rolf Harris 1930– artist, entertainer and convicted child sex offender born in Australia, lived in the United Kingdom since 1953 Welsh parents
Billy Hughes 1862–1952 former prime minister migrated to Australia 1884 Welsh parents
Jean Jenkins 1938– former senator migrated to Australia 1969 Welsh parents and upbringing
Joseph Jenkins 1818–1898 diarist, poet and swagman resident in Australia 1869-1894 born in Wales
Andrew Johns 1974– Rugby League footballer born in Australia, represented New South Wales and Australia Welsh grandfather
David Jones (merchant) 1793–1873 retailer and businessman set up his business in Australia born in Wales
T. Harri Jones 1921–1965 poet and lecturer migrated to Australia born in Wales
John McCarthy 1967– Australian rules footballer migrated to Australia born in Wales
Dannii Minogue 1971– singer and entertainer born in Australia mother born in Wales
Kylie Minogue 1968– singer and actress born in Australia mother born in Wales
Alf Morgans 1850–1933 former premier of Western Australia moved to Australia in 1896 born in Wales
Thomas Price (South Australian politician) 1852–1909 former premier of South Australia moved to Australia in 1883 born in Wales
Naomi Watts 1968– actress moved to Australia when she was 15 lived in Wales between the ages of seven and 14; mother's parents Welsh
Rhys Williams 1988– professional soccer player born in and grew up in Australia; member of the Socceroos in 2009–2010 Welsh grandparents on his father's side; played for the Welsh under-21 team[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "20680-Ancestry (full classification list) by Sex - Australia". 2006 census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original (Microsoft Excel download) on March 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
  2. ^ a b "20680-Country of Birth of Person (full classification list) by Sex - Australia" (Microsoft Excel download). 2006 census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  3. ^ James Jupp (1 October 2001). The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins. Cambridge University Press. p. 227. ISBN 978-0-521-80789-0.
  4. ^ "Rhys Williams opts to play for Australia instead of Wales". Herald Sun. 2009-05-12. Retrieved 2009-05-12.[dead link]
  5. ^ "Introducing Rhys Williams". Middlesbrough F.C. Archived from the original on 2007-09-20. Retrieved 2009-05-31.

Further reading[edit]

  • Lloyd, Lewis. (1988) Australians from Wales Caernarfon: Gwynedd Archives. ISBN 0-901337-47-1