The "golden Greeks" from "diggers" to settlers

Greek migration and settlement during the Australian Gold Rush era, 1850s–1890s

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Between the 1850s and 1890s, the gentle ripples of Australia’s early Greek presence surrendered to the first real wave of Greek migration. Gold was the initial stimulus. Greek seaman — particularly those on British vessels — jumped ship and left for the diggings with other “new chums”. Greeks dug, panned and sweated for the precious metal amongst bustling hopefuls from across the globe — the road to a multicultural Australia had been unintentionally initiated. Greek migration to, and settlement in Australia, reached a point of change during the gold rush era: the first collective Greek settlements appeared, family groups increased, occupational diversity began to emerge — together with what was to become the Greek café phenomenon — chain migration was stimulated, and eventually formal Greek communities were established. Gold encouraged and shaped the Australian colonies’ progress towards nationhood, it also secured, as this paper evidences, the Greek diaspora’s presence as part of the nation’s future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-182
Number of pages23
JournalModern Greek Studies (Australia and New Zealand)
Volumespecial issue
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Greek-Australian History
  • gold rushes
  • mid-nineteenth century
  • Greek communities
  • migration
  • Settlement

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