|380,000 (1.6% of Australian population)|
|Regions with significant populations|
|All capital cities;|
predominantly Melbourne · Sydney · Perth · Brisbane
|English, languages of Africa|
|Predominantly: Christianity; minority: Islam, Atheism, Irreligion|
|Related ethnic groups|
|other African people|
African Australians are Australians of African ancestry. Large-scale immigration from Africa to Australia is only a recent phenomenon, with Europe and Asia traditionally being the largest sources of migration to Australia. In 2005–06, permanent settler arrivals to Australia included 4,000 South Africans and 3,800 Sudanese, constituting the sixth and seventh largest sources of migrants, respectively.
African Australians are from diverse racial, cultural, linguistic, religious, educational and employment backgrounds. The majority (72.6%) of African emigrants to Australia are from southern and eastern Africa. The Australian Bureau of Statistics classifies all residents into cultural and ethnic groups according to geographical origin, including the many Afrikaner migrants from Southern Africa in the Sub-Saharan region.
Africans may have come to Australia as skilled migrants, refugees, through family reunion, or as secondary migrants from other countries.
Coins minted by the Persian medieval kingdom of Kilwa Sultanate have been found on the Wessel Islands. This indicates trade with Africa as early as the 12th century. They are the oldest foreign artifacts ever discovered in Australia. Other people descended from African emigrants later arrived indirectly via the First Fleet and 19th century multicultural maritime industry. Notable examples are Billy Blue, John Caesar, and Black Jack Anderson.
Migrants from Mauritius have also been arriving in Australia since before federation in 1901. They came as convicts, prospectors who sought Victoria's goldfields, or skilled sugar workers who significantly helped to develop Queensland's sugar industry.
The Special Commonwealth African Assistance Plan enabled students from Commonwealth African countries, including from Ghana, to travel to Australia during the mid-1960s. More than 70 percent of those from West African countries remained in Australia following military coup d'états in their countries of birth. Ultimately, however, immigration from Africa to Australia generally remained limited until the 1990s.
The largest number of African immigrants in Australia come from South Africa and are largely of Afrikaner and British descent. Many migrants born in Zimbabwe left the country after major land reforms were begun in the 1980s by the Robert Mugabe government. Two thirds arrived after 2001, following economic uncertainty in their country of birth. Of the Zimbabwe-born migrants who moved to Australia, the largest proportion are of English (30.6%) ancestry, with some individuals of Scottish (7.3%) background present as well. More recent migration from Zimbabwe has included increasing numbers of people of Shona and Ndebele ethnicities.
Other immigrants from Africa arrived via humanitarian programs. In the 2011–2012 fiscal year, these individuals were mainly from Burundi (44/79), Congo (143/158), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (370/454), Eritrea (244/294), Malawi (57/71), Rwanda (44/62), and Tanzania (40/67).
Additionally, other immigrants from Africa arrived through a family migration stream. In the 2011–2012 fiscal year, these individuals were primarily from Ethiopia (412/802), Ghana (152/202), Guinea (33/62), Liberia (82/129), Sierra Leone (106/140), Somalia (164/420), Sudan (313/513), and Uganda (37/67).
A significant number of African migrants have come to Australia through a skill migration stream. In the 2011–2012 fiscal year, these individuals were chiefly from Egypt (417/773), Kenya (188/415), Mauritius (228/303), Nigeria (126/250), South Africa (4,239/6,307), Zambia (35/115), and Zimbabwe (467/848).
Some African immigrants have also arrived via a secondary migration from New Zealand, where they are citizens. In the 2011–2012 fiscal year, these New Zealand nationals were mainly originally from Libya (31/76).
Across Australia's major cities, immigration from Africa is varied depending on country of origin. While Egyptian, Nigerian, and Ghanaian migrants overwhelmingly head for Sydney, Mauritian and Sudanese migrant communities are largest in Melbourne.
As of 2013, the Australian Special Broadcasting Service broadcasts in six new languages spoken by the growing migrant and refugee communities from Africa and Asia. Among these are Dinka of South Sudan, Swahili of Tanzania and the African Great Lakes region, and Tigrinya of Eritrea and Ethiopia.
In the 2016 Australian Census, 380,000 residents declared that they were born in Africa.
|Country||Population||Main city and proportion who live there|
|South Africa||104,128||Sydney (27.3%)|
|South Sudan||4,825||Melbourne (63.7%)|
It is a common misconception that people from African backgrounds are one and the same. While the strong African spirit and pride certainly unifies, people from African backgrounds represent tremendous diversity in ethnicity, race, language, culture and religion. After all, the African continent comprises more than 50 countries. The impression of homogeneity is only one of many misconceptions about African Australians.