Danish Australians

Danish Australians
Total population
9,025 (by birth, 2011)
54,026 (by ancestry, 2011)[1]
Related ethnic groups

Danish Australians are Australians with full or partial Danish ancestry. The majority of these people are part of the Danish diaspora.

History of immigration

There was some Danish immigration at the time of the Australian gold rushes. It was estimated that there were 1,000 Danes on the Victorian goldfields.[2] Danish immigrants had a significant effect on the Australian dairy industry from the 1880s, in particular establishing and managing butter factories.[2]

Danes in Tasmania

During the 1870s, a number of East Prussian and Danish Lutherans arrived in Tasmania. Most of them settled in the farming district of Bismarck, attracted by the cheap land and an abundance of clean water. The area was declared a town in 1881.[3]

Lutheranism was very slow to establish in Tasmania. Due to the absence of a Lutheran church, some of the Germans in Bismarck joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which arrived in the region in 1889.[4][5] A Lutheran church was finally opened in Hobart on 11 August 1871[6] and remains active today[7] but none was ever built in Bismarck.

Post-war migration

There was little emigration from Denmark to Australia in the first half of the twentieth century: in 1901 Australia had a population of 6,281 people who had been born in Denmark; in 1947 that number was 2,759. At both counts the population was approximately 75% male. Danish men married women of other ethnicities in Australia which made it harder for the community to maintain its identity.[2]

Danish citizens were within the scope of Australia's Post war immigration scheme. From a population of 2,954 Danish Australians in 1954, there were 7,911 Danes living in Australia in 1981. Masculinity ratios were healthier with 58% of these being males.[2]

At the 2006 Census 8,963 Australian residents declared they were born in Denmark.[8] In addition 50,413 Australian residents claimed Danish ancestry, either singuarly or with another ancestry.[9]


There is a Danish Australian Cultural Society.[10] The Australian Danish community has been written about in books.[11]

Notable Danish Australians

Name Born Notable for Connection with Australia and Denmark
Joh Bjelke-Petersen 1911–2005 Former Queensland Premier New Zealand-born of Danish descent
Carl Adolf Feilberg 1844–1887 Journalist, commentator, human rights activist Danish-born
Jørgen Jensen 1891–1922 Businessman Danish-born Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross
Jørgen Jørgensen 1780–1841 Sailor and Adventurer Danish-born
Marie Bjelke Petersen 1874–1969 Novelist Danish-born
Candy Devine Broadcaster Of Danish, Spanish, Scottish, Sri Lankan, Filipino, Polynesian and West Indian descent
Mary Hansen 1966–2002 Guitarist and Singer Of Danish and Norwegian descent
Dennis Olsen 1938- Singer and Actor
Lawrence Springborg 1968- Politician Of Danish and German descent
David Andersen 1980- Basketball player
Anja Nissen 1995- Singer Australian-born of Danish-born parents
Tom Boyd 1995- Australian rules football player Danish mother[12]

See also


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