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ANSWERED on Mon 6 Dec 2010 - 1:06 pm UTC by q21

Question: American minorities and and border country people living in Australia

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 2 Dec 2010 05:07 UTCThu 2 Dec 2010 - 5:07 am UTC 

I have lived here a long time, obviously, and most of last 15 years in dead centre of Australia's second bigest city, Melbourne. Moreover I lived in a private apartment within a five star hotel. I met many overseas people at swimming pool/ barbeque area including  a few people from USA  of different races and areas but all were passers-by on business,vacation etc.

 It appears to me that while we have  a good number of  white Americans living in Australia permanently there is  only a handful  of African Americans and  representaives of other minority groups living here.

  You just dont see any and I think many living in the country/rural areas would never have met or even seen an African American, a Native American or a fringe dweller such as a Mexican, or a Puerto Rican.

 As such is there any rough figures on just how many such people have migrated to Australia from the groups named above. i am sure it must be a very small number.

 In regards African Americans I could just about count on one hand those I know of  which gives an idea of how few there must be. I am wondering why as the few that are here seem to thrive and fit in very well.

 I am not including in the above those sportpeople who come here on short term contracts to join basketball teams although I note that a number have married and stayed here.

 From my own experience I know of one Mexican. He runs a  huge upmarket Moroccan/ Middle eastern  restaurant in Melbourne. Why/ how  I dont know but he is certainly Mexican.

  I  know of  one Native American. He stayed at my hotel but advised he was going to stay in Australia as a resident.

 Never met or heard of a Puerto Rican living in Australia.

 In regards African Americans I worked with one  years ago who jumped ship( merchant navy I think) in 56' to watch the Olympic games, met a girl from my own town of Bendigo in first week here, married and settled down almost immediately. He was from Louisianna  and claimed he was actually part French.

 There is another who works for the Royal Society for the Blind  and often stands in the city streets with a guide dog handing out related material, seeking donations and advising poeple on how to apply to seek approval to look after a guide dog pup.

 There is an African American who operates a very succesful American style barbeque restaurant, another with a big gymnasium in my own small city of Bendigo  and of course  the main judge on our version of  American Idol (Australian Idol) is the beautiful Marcia Hines ,a famous singer here who is now over 50 old but arrived here at 18 years old to do a few shows but never went back.

 So, as above, is there any figures( even rough ones) on just how many people of each minority groups above have actually migrated to Australia.

 Possibly info I am interested in is unavaliable as no data kept on what race an immigramt was  from USA, ( which makes perfect sense), and also I expect data on Mexicans is not readily available either, but just thought i would give it a shot anyway.

 John From Melbourne




 2 Dec 2010 13:41 UTCThu 2 Dec 2010 - 1:41 pm UTC 

Hi John,

Interesting question.  Just a couple of thoughts from a USA citizen who lived for 2 1/2 years in Australia:

Concerning African Americans:  Let's be honest, Australia's treatment of the Aborigines until the last few decades was nothing to make persons of color want to think about moving Down Under, perhaps ditto for Native Americans, who didn't have it much better than the Native Australians.  Besides, they are estimated to be less than 1% of the US population.  Also, in so far as they live in tribal communities, their inclination to emigrate abroad is probably very low.
For Mexicans and Puerto Ricans who want to leave their countries, USA is nearer and there are Spanish language communities.
The few individuals you mention seem to be the typical exceptions, persons with above average entrepreneur spirit (sometimes considered typical of immigrants in general, having enough gumption to up roots and the initiative to make a success of their decision).

The man from Louisiana could very well be partly French. The color line under Spanish and French settlement was less defined (French Creole, Cajun):

I hope that is some help.
Regards,  Myo




 3 Dec 2010 10:13 UTCFri 3 Dec 2010 - 10:13 am UTC 

Yes MYO, probably not a realistic query that could garner a relevant set of statistics or clear and  worthy information. As such I will probably cancel it and seek some info  on any one of another  mass  of subjects that has always intrigued and/or fascinated me.

 In regards our Aboriginals by the way, I certainly accept that in days gone by they were treated  disgracefully but would argue that in  modern more enlightened times there is little to complain about.

 In fact I would argue that Australia is not a very racially conscious country at all.

  For instance when very  recently asked  about racism in Australia the front man for the National Basketball League and TV presenter Carl Carviceo( (I think thats his name???) himself an African American said quote- "on a scale of 1 to 10 it doesn't even rate",( and that was his precise and exact quote).

 Notwithstanding  the above I see that some ridiculous claims of racism have been aired on US TV this year. For instance on one  Australian TV ad advertising KFC they had the black West Indian cricket team  eating chicken out of a typical KFC barrel or box. Having been placed on Youtube somehow it was
twisted by someone overseas to be a cruel dig at some antique practice in
USA of currying favour with African Americans by offering them fried chicken. The clear facts are  almost all Australians would have no idea that fried chicken was associated with African Americans in any sort of a negative demeaning way, including me! It was just a co-incidence that the thread of the advertisement evoked some connection with some very old prejudices with a very few individuals, who in turn decided to complain




 3 Dec 2010 17:00 UTCFri 3 Dec 2010 - 5:00 pm UTC 

Very personally, I don't think anyone (including me) is entirely free of prejudices.  Most of us recognize what is politically incorrect and may think that we are free of prejudices and avoid saying anything to the contrary.  That is easy when dealing with individuals who are leaders in whatever they do, or persons one knows well.

Two stories from my young years (back in the 1950s) in the Deep South of USA, when school integration began:

A common statement was:  "Okay, so we don't like all negroes [the acceptable expression at the time], but we like the ones we know personally,  Up North, they say that they like them all, but they don't know any."

Our neighbour, a school teacher, said:  "I would be upset, if our son wanted to marry a negro girl, so I guess I am prejudiced." 

Fried chicken didn't have any African-American slant, as I remember.  Cat fish did, maybe because it's a bottom feeder, but it's now accepted as a delicacy. Also accepted back then were other dishes known to be of African origin.

Anyone is free to disagree with me.

Regards, Myo




 6 Dec 2010 13:06 UTCMon 6 Dec 2010 - 1:06 pm UTC 


Among the various statistics published online by The Australian Bureau of Statistics
there are several which you might find helpful as an answer to your question.

More about the "Australian Bureau of Statistics":

- - -

"In the 2006 Australian Census residents were asked to describe their ancestry, in which up to two could be nominated"

The question regarding ancestry as asked in 2006:

The webpage leading to the Census Data:

The 2006 Census Tables can be viewed by location or topic
or by "product type"

- - -

Choosing "ancestry" as topic (i.e. "ancestry (full classification list) by sex" and "Australia" as location) will result, for example, in these lists
- for Australia:

- for Victoria:

Do the data in these excel files answer your question?

- - -

You can "create and customise your own census tables"
(after registration or as a guest user):

- - -

Regarding immigrant communities in Victoria:
This is a webpage about "82 countries of origin" selected "on the basis of population size", i.e. "at least 1,100 Victorians were born in each country, according to the 2006 census"

Clicking, for example, on "USA" will lead you to
from where you can access additional pages covering, for example, "language"
or "occupation"

- - -

Related articles on Wikipedia:

- - -

Here is the link to a free article (published in 1999) on "Australian population: ethnic origins" by Charles Price
http://elecpress.monash.edu.au/pnp/free/pnpv7n1/ (vol. 7, no. 4)
or go directly to

- - -

Please let me know which additional information you would like to have in order to consider your question as being answered.





 19 Dec 2010 08:50 UTCSun 19 Dec 2010 - 8:50 am UTC 

Dear Q21,

 thanks  so much for response to my queries. i have not been near a computer for last 10 days or so so just switched on and noticed your information now. Very busy currently, (tonight that is) so no time to slowly analyze what you have provided but judging by your last effort I am sure you have provided quality material, so once again thanks very much and I lok forward to going through it properly as I always do when I get stuff back from Uclue researchers.



Uclue Admin 

 9 Aug 2011 14:46 UTCTue 9 Aug 2011 - 2:46 pm UTC 

John, an anonymous reader sent this message to Uclue:

"Just found out recently great great grandfather was native American and had come to aust in the late 1800's? From old photos, newspaper clippings etc was treated ok"


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