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Swedish Australian Svenskaustralier

Charles Rosenthal

Sweden Australia
Total population
30,375[1 ] Australians
0.1% of Australia's population
Regions with significant populations
Mostly in Western Australia or in Capital cities

Australian English, Swedish


Church of Sweden

Related ethnic groups

Swedes, Swedish Americans, Scandinavian, Scandinavian Australians, Estonian Swedes, Danish Australians, Norwegian Australians, English Australians

Swedish Australians are Australians with Swedish heritage, most often related to the large groups of immigrants from Sweden in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. The 2006 census showed 30,375 who claimed Swedish Ancestry[1 ]. Most Swedish Australians are Lutherans affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church or Methodists.



A Swede may have been the first European to land in some spots on the Australian coast. Swedish botanist Daniel Solander and Britain's Sir Joseph Banks documented the flora and fauna of Australia on Captain James Cook's 1770 expedition to Australia.

King Gustaf III authorized the founding of a Swedish settlement in Western Australia in November 1786, but the outbreak of war with Russia the following year prevented this from taking place. [2]

The first known Swedish arrivals settled in the Swan River area of Western Australia in 1831. More came with the gold rush in Australia and by 1871, there were a total of 885 Swedes in Victoria.

The first organised immigration from Sweden took place during the years 1871-1900, when Queensland and Tasmania invited immigrants to take up farming leases. Numbers were small compared to the hundreds of thousands of Swedes who emigrated to the USA. In more modern times, Australia's Swedish-descent population has been made up of farers.

New South Wales now has the largest Swedish community, followed by Victoria and Queensland. The total of Swedes in Australia has remained stable in recent years at about 7,000. Many take great delight in recreating some of the homeland's more obscure traditions, mostly centred on fish, edible crustaceans and the popular alcoholic beverage, Snaps.

The Swedish immigrants that arrived in recent decades settled mostly in the suburbs of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Swedish Australians usually came through Sydney and a few of them actually settled in Brisbane as well. Most were Lutheran and belonged to synods now associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church, including the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, although a few others in the Queensland converted to Catholicism after being exposed to the religion there. Theologically, they were pietistic; politically, they supported progressive causes, and prohibition.

A Swedish-Australian fraternal organization, was founded to help immigrants, who often lacked an adequate network of social services.

Many others settled in Perth in particular as well as Canberra, Newcastle and South Australia. In the west, Perth became a destination for many skilled industrial workers and Swedish centers developed in these areas.



Swedish Australians by state

NSW: Christoffer Eriksson, Per Thoresson,

List of famous Swedish Australians


  1. ^ a b 2006 Census Table : Australia
  2. ^ Robert J. King, “Gustaf III’s Australian Colony”, The Great Circle (Journal of the Australian Association for Maritime History) vol.27, no.2, 2005, pp.3-20.

Primary sources

See also


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