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English Australian
Sophie Monk German.jpgRalph Robertson.jpgNaomiWatts2Oct07.jpg
Tony Barrell.jpgHugh Jackman navy.jpgJohn farnham statue at waterfront city.jpg
Notable English Australians
Sophie Monk • Ralph Robertson • Naomi Watts • Tony Barrell • Hugh Jackman • John Farnham
Total population
32%of total Australian population [1]

Australian English


Predominantly Anglican
Other Christians, atheist

Related ethnic groups

English • Anglo-Celtic Australians

English Australians, also known as Anglo-Australians are Australians of English descent, the second largest 'ancestry' identity in the Australia Census after "Australian" (which contains an unknown number of English Australians). In the 2006 census, 6.3 million or 32% of respondents identified as "English" or a combination including English, such as English-Australian[2]. The census also documented 860,000 residents of Australia as being born in England.[3] Most of them are descendants of English settlers who arrived during the colonial era and the Big Brother Movement. They are the dominant people of Australia.




Early Settlement and Colonisation

English settlement in Australia began with English naval Admiral and colonial administrator. Arthur Phillip was the first European colony on the Australian continent, and was the founder of the site which is now the city of Sydney.

A number of English colonies were established under a system of proprietary governors, who were appointed under mercantile charters to English joint stock companies to found and run settlements.

England also took over the Dutch colonisation of Australia of New Holland, renaming it the state of Australia in 1774.

The decision to send English convicts to Botany Bay was taken by the British Government on 18 August 1786, with the responsibility to organise and choose officials falling on then Home Secretary, Lord Sydney and his junior, Evan Nepean. Preparations to obtain ships, convicts, guards and provisions began soon after. At the time the five hulks in service held about 1300 men, and selected convicts, including women from county gaols were transferred to the hulk Dunkirk at Plymouth and the New Gaol in Southwark. Optimistically, it was hoped to be able to sail in October, but a series of postponements were made. In mid April 1787 the St James's Chronicle commented that “strange as it may appear, we are credibly informed of the Fact that the Transports for Botany Bay have not as yet sailed". [Gillen, p.xxiv]

An estimated 200,000 English emigrated to Australia after 1776. English settlers provided a steady and substantial influx throughout the nineteenth century. The first wave of increasing English began in the late 1850s and was sustained by unrest in the United Kingdom until it peaked in 1862 and declined slightly for nearly a decade. Most of these were small farmers and tenant farmers from depressed areas in rural counties in southern and western England and urban laborers who fled from the depressions and from the social and industrial changes of the late 1820s-1840s. While some English immigrants were drawn by dreams of creating model utopian societies in Australia, most others were attracted by the lure of new lands, textile factories, railroads, and the expansion of mining. A number of English settlers moved to the United States from Australia in the 1850s, when the California Gold Rush boomed; these included the so-called “Sydney Ducks” (see Australian Americans).

English immigration after 1850

After independence, English immigration continued, and instead of decrease, it greatly increased. During the last years of 1860s, annual English immigration increased to over 60,000 and continued to rise to over 75,000 per year in 1872, before experiencing a decline. The final and most sustained wave of immigration began in 1879 and lasted until the depression of 1893. During this period English annual immigration averaged more than 80,000, with peaks in 1882 and 1888. The building of Australia's transcontinental railroads, the settlement of the great plains, and industrialization attracted skilled and professional emigrants from England. Also, cheaper steamship fares enabled unskilled urban workers to come to Australia, and unskilled and semiskilled laborers, miners, and building trades workers made up the majority of these new English immigrants. While most settled in Australia, a number of skilled craftsmen remained itinerant, returning to England after a season or two of work. Groups of English immigrants came to Australia as missionaries for the Salvation Army and to work with the activities of the Evangelical and Mormon Churches. The depression of 1893 sharply decreased English immigration, and it stayed low for much of the twentieth century. This decline reversed itself in the decade of World War II when over 100,000 English (18 percent of all European immigrants) came from England. In this group was a large contingent of war brides who came between 1945 and 1948. In these years four women emigrated from England for every man. Many English Indians and English Burmese settled the nation after India and Burma (now Myanmar) won independence from United Kingdom in 1947 and 1948 respectively. English immigration increased to over 150,000 and rose to 170,000 in the 1960s, which was also the time English settlers and Eurasian settlers of English descent left Singapore and Malaysia for Australia after Singapore and Malaysia achieved its independence from Britain in 1963. While differences developed, it is not surprising that English immigrants had little difficulty in assimilating to Australian life. The Australian resentment against the policies of the British government was rarely transferred to English settlers who came to Australia in the first decades of the nineteenth century. South African settlers of English blood entered Australia in 1994 when Nelson Mandela was elected as the first non-white South African president. Before and after the return of Hong Kong’s sovereignty from United Kingdom to People’s Republic of China in 1997, a number of English and Eurasians of English blood from Hong Kong moved to the nation. During all of Australian history English immigrants and their descendants were prominent on every level of government and in every aspect of Australian life.

While they are the second largest ethnic nationality identified in the 1990 census, they retain such a pervasive representation at every level of national and state government that, on any list of Australian senators, Supreme Court judges, governors, or legislators, they would constitute a plurality if not an outright majority.

The United Kingdom continues to be a major source of permanent migrants to Australia. In 2005-06 the country was the largest source of migrants ahead of New Zealand, China and India.[4]

Prime Ministers of English descent

Many of the Prime Ministers of Australia have English ancestry. The extent of English Heritage varies, with earlier Prime Ministers being predominantly of English stock.

  1. Edmund Barton, 1st Prime Minister 1901-1903 (English parents.[5])
  2. Alfred Deakin, 2nd Prime Minister 1903-1904, 1905-08, 1909-10 (English parents.[6])
  3. Sir Joseph Cook, 6th Prime Minister 1913-14 (Born in Silverdale, Staffordshire, England.)
  4. Earle Christmas Grafton Page, 11th Prime Minister 1939 (Father from London, England.[7])
  5. Harold Edward Holt, 17th Prime Minister 1966-67
  6. Sir John Grey Gorton, 19th Prime Minister 1968-71 (English father.[8])
  7. Edward Gough Whitlam, 21st Prime Minister 1972-75 (English descent.[9])
  8. Robert James Lee Hawke, 23rd Prime Minister 1983-91 (English descent.)
  9. John Winston Howard, 25th Prime Minister 1996-2007
  10. Kevin Rudd, 26th Prime Minister 2007-Present (His 4th great-grandparents, convicts Thomas Rudd from London and Mary Cable from Essex, England.[10])



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