"Before colonisation, Australia had been home to Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people for between 40,000 and 60,000 years. European colonisation
resulted in violent efforts to displace Indigenous Australians from their land,
which you can read about in depth here. Such massacres continued until at least
The first major event after colonisation that brought large numbers of people
to Australia was the gold rush of the mid-1800s. Between 1851 and 1860 more
than 600,000 people arrived in Australia, with 81% from the UK, 10% from Europe
and 7% from China.
Between 1863 and 1901, tens of thousands of indentured labourers from the
Pacific islands were brought to work on sugar plantations in Queensland, in a
process that essentially amounted to slavery.
In 1901, the separate British colonies united to form the commonwealth of
Australia. This is where this interactive graphic begins.
The streams in this graphic show the number of people born overseas in
Australia in each year shown. Census data is not available in every year. The
streams are coloured by the region of birth, and these regions are then grouped
by continent. You can tap or mouseover each stream to see a country breakdown,
and you can minimise the text boxes to better view the graphic. You can also
toggle the graphic to show net overseas migration - that is, the number of
people who arrived in Australia in a given year minus the number of people who
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics