American Australians

American Australians
Total population
77,010 (by birth, 2011 census)
62,960 (by ancestry, 2011 census)
Regions with significant populations
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra
Australian English · American English
Related ethnic groups
African Americans · European Americans · Hispanic and Latino Americans · Asian Americans · Native Americans · Pacific Islander Americans

American Australians are Australian citizens who are of American descent[1], including immigrants and residents who are descended from migrants from the United States of America and its territories. This can include people of European, African American, American Indian, Hispanic or Latin American, Asian, or Pacific Islander backgrounds.


At the 2006 Australian Census, 71,718 Australian residents declared that they were American-born. Concentrations of American-born residents were in Sydney (16,339), Melbourne (11,130), Brisbane (6,057), Perth (5,558), Adelaide (2,862), and Canberra (1,970).[2] Also at the census, residents could nominate up to two ancestries; 56,283 respondents declared they had American ancestry with 3,901 who declared Hispanic ancestry, 1,798 declared an African American ancestry, 3,936 declared a native North American Indian ancestry and 224 declared Puerto Rican ancestry.[3]

Community history

The first North Americans to make landfall in Australia were British crewmen from the Endeavour under Captain Cook, who sojourned at Botany Bay in 1770. Once a permanent colony was established in New South Wales, "trade links were developed almost exclusively with North America."[4]

The North American colonies – including both contemporary Canada and the United States – had been used by Britain for penal transportation. With the independence of the United States in the 1770s, the British Government sought new lands to exile convicts, and Australia became the pre-eminent prison colony of the British Empire.[5]

From the 1770s to the 1840s, North Americans settled in Australia primarily as demobilised British soldiers and sailors, as convicts — a number of United States citizens were arrested at sea for maritime offences, tried, and transported[5] — and as whalers, sealers or itinerants. Many of these settlers moved on to New Zealand for a time, and often returned to New South Wales. African Americans had a noted presence in the earliest British outposts in Australia, usually after a period of service in the British Navy.[6]

In the 1850s, large numbers of United States citizens arrived, most usually after periods in gold rush California. These migrants settled predominantly in rural Victoria, where the discovery of gold had encouraged a large colony of prospectors and speculators. A number of United States-born played eminent roles in the Eureka Stockade, particularly in regard to paramilitary formations organised for self-defence by the miners. The colonial authorities suspected the United States-born – amongst others, such as the Irish – of disseminating republicanism.

At the time of Federation in 1901, there were 7,448 United States-born in Australia.[4] Around this time, these American-Australians were notable in the labour movement – including the formation of trade unions and the Australian Labor Party (hence Labor being spelt in the North American fashion instead of the more common Labour, however both spellings were acceptable in Australian English at the time). Despite North American socio-cultural influences, Australian public opinion was wary of the United States itself: the visit of the "Great White Fleet" of the United States Navy to Sydney and Melbourne in 1908 was greeted with fanfare,[7] but provoked immediate comment that the (British) Royal Navy should make an even greater show of force to restate in the strongest military terms Australia's position as the south-eastern guarantor of the British Empire.[7]

During the Second World War, over a million United States soldiers were at some point stationed in Australia at the request of the Australian Government following the surrender of the British garrison in Singapore to the Japanese in 1941. When the war ended, 12,000 Australian women migrated to the United States as war brides, and 10,000 United States citizens settled in Australia – including ex-servicemen as war husbands.

The ANZUS Treaty between the United States, Australia, and New Zealand was signed in 1951, locking the three countries into a mutual defence pact. This increased social and political ties between Australia and the United States and led to Australia and New Zealand committing troops to the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s – these connections and increased worldwide travel encouraged greater numbers of United States citizens to migrate permanently and in 1971 there were 39,035 United States-born residents in Australia[4]


The American International School of Sydney was formerly operated.

Notable people

NameBorn – DiedNotable forConnection with AustraliaConnection with the United States
Janet Andrewartha1952–actressworks in Australiaborn in Camarillo, California
Aaron Baddeley1981–golf playermoved to Australia when 2 years old; raised in Australiaborn in Lebanon, New Hampshire
Carsten Ball1987–tennis playerraised in Australiaborn in Newport Beach, California
Duncan Ball1941–authormoved to Australia in 1974; naturalised Australian in 1980born in Boston, Massachusetts
Cate Blanchett1969–actressborn in Australiafather was American
Betty Bobbitt1939–actress and authormoved to Australia in 1962Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jonah Bolden1996–basketball playerborn and raised in Australiafather Bruce Bolden is an African American who played in the NBL and still lives in Australia
Chelsea Brown1946–2017comedian and actressmoved to Australia in 1977; married to actor Vic Rooney until his death in 2002Born in Chicago, Illinois
Cal Bruton1954–basketball player and coachmoved to Australia in 1979; naturalised 1983; played for the men's national team and named to the NBL 25th Anniversary Team in 2003.born in New York City, New York; played college basketball at Wichita State University
C. J. Bruton1975–basketball playermoved to Australia with his father Cal in 1979; naturalised along with his father; played for the men's national teamSon of Cal Bruton; born in Wichita, Kansas while his father was playing at Wichita State
John Butler1975–musician, founder John Butler TrioAustralian father; moved to Australia in 1986born in Torrance, California
Kate Ceberano1966–actress and singerborn and raised in Australiaher father Tino Ceberano is American of Filipino Hawaiian descent
Didier Cohen1985–artists and repertoire (a&r), media personality, actor, and modelraised in Australiaborn in Los Angeles
Toni Collette1972–actress, producer, and singerborn and raised in Australiaher biological paternal grandfather was American
Bruce Djite1987–football (soccer) playermoved to Australia when 3 years old; raised in Australiaborn in Washington, D.C.
Dante Exum1995–basketball playerborn and raised in Australiafather Cecil Exum is an African American who played in the NBL and still lives in Australia
Mel Gibson1956–actor and directormoved to Australia when 12 years old; paternal grandmother was Australian; honorary Officer of the Order of Australiaborn Peekskill, New York and holds dual US and Irish citizenships
Ricky Grace1966–basketball playermoved to Australia in 1990; naturalised c. 1996; played for the men's national team and named to the NBL 25th Anniversary Team.born in Dallas, Texas; played college basketball at the University of Oklahoma
John Harkins1960–jazz pianist and singermoved to Australia in 1885; founder of the John Harkins Trio; frequent performer at Manly Jazz Festival and othersstudied classical piano at NYC's Manhattan School of Music and spent his younger years playing in famous Chicago and NYC jazz clubs.
Colleen Hewett1950–singer and actressborn and raised in Australiaher family on her maternal side are of African American descent; great great grandfather is a native of Guayana
Marcia Hines1953–singer and actressmoved to Australia in 1969; member of the Order of Australia (naturalised 1994)born in Boston, Massachusetts
Deni Hines1970–singer and actressborn in AustraliaDaughter of Marcia Hines; Father is of Somalian/Ethiopian descent
Kyrie Irving1992–basketball playerborn in Australia; family returned to the U.S. when 2 years oldparents are American
Terri Irwin1964–Zoologist, naturalist, author and television presenterWife of Steve Irwin. Moved to Australia in 1992; naturalised in 2009 three years after her husband's deathborn in Eugene, Oregon
Bindi Irwin1998–Singer, actress, conservationist and television personalityborn in AustraliaDaughter of Terri and Steve Irwin
Kristina Keneally1968–Premier of New South Wales 2009–2011, Senator 2018—presentmoved to Australia in 1994; naturalised Australian in 2000born Kristina Marie Kerscher in Las Vegas, Nevada to American father and Australian mother
Nicole Kidman1967–actressdual citizen by descent (Australian parents)dual citizen by birth (born in Honolulu, Hawaii)
Don Lane1933–2009TV presenter, cabaret performermoved to Australia 1965born Morton Donald Isaacson in New York City, New York
Cheltzie Lee1993–figure skaterborn in Australiamother is American
Leroy Loggins1957–basketball playeras an Australian citizen competed in the 1992 Olympic Gamesborn New Brunswick, New Jersey
Bob Meyer1932–2009logicianmoved to Australia 1974born in US
King O'Malley1858–1953Australian politicianlived in Australia from 1888claimed to have been born in Canada, more likely that he was born in US
Mike Nahan1950–Australian politicianmoved to Australia in 1978; naturalised Australian in 1988born in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Caleb Patterson-Sewell1987–football (soccer) playermoved to Australia when 2 years old; raised in Australiaborn in Hendersonville, Tennessee to American father and Australian mother
Don Pyke1968–Australian rules footballerfather is Australianborn in Bloomington, Illinois
Peter Ruehl1947–2011journalist and television news personalitymoved to Australia in 1987born in New York City, New York
Penny Sackett1956–astronomermoved to Australia in 2002; naturalised Australian in 2008born Lincoln, Nebraska
Brian Schmidt1967–astrophysicistmoved to Australia 1994, co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics 2011born Missoula, Montana
Jon Hunter Spence1945–2011Jane Austen scholarBecame an Australian citizen in 2011born Camilla, Georgia
Ben Simmons1996–basketball playerborn and raised in Australiafather Dave Simmons is an African American who played in the NBL and still lives in Australia
Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman1981–Noted political activistdual citizenborn in Australia
Sanford Wheeler1970–Australian rules footballermigrated to Australia in 1975born in US to Australian father and American mother
Lydia Williams1988–football (soccer) playerborn in Australiamother is American

See also


  1. For understanding purposes, it must clarify that is referring America, which is the colloquial English name for United States, and not to Americas, which is relative to American continent.
  2. Australian Bureau of Statistics – Ethnic Media Kit
  3. ibid, Ancestry (full classification list) by Sex – Australia
  4. 1 2 3 Publications: Statistics – Community Information Summaries
  5. 1 2 Hughes, Robert. The Fatal Shore. London: Routledge (1986).
  6. The Colony. SBS Television (2002)
  7. 1 2 Macintyre, Stuart. A Concise History of Australia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2004).
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