Maltese Australians

Maltese Australians
Total population
37,614 (by birth, 2016 Census)[1]
175,563 (by ancestry, 2016 Census)[1]
English · Maltese · Italian
Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Maltese diaspora

Maltese Australians are Australian citizens who are fully or partially of Maltese descent or Malta-born people who reside in Australia. While most of them emigrated to Australia from Malta, a number emigrated from the United Kingdom where they had settled after having been expelled from Egypt, as holders of British passports, during the Suez Crisis.[2] According to the 2016 Census, there were 175,563 people of Maltese descent in Australia and 37,614 Malta-born people residing in the country at the moment of the census.[1]


The first Maltese to come to Australia arrived as convicts around 1810.[3] The first Maltese immigrant (as opposed to convict or bonded servant) is thought to have been Antonio Azzopardi who arrived in 1838.[4] Many attempts were made at organised mass migration throughout the 19th century but it was only in 1883 the first group of 70 labourers (and nine stowaways) arrived.

Group and mass migration gradually picked up, first, to Queensland and, after World War I, to Sydney whose automobile industry drew many. Immigration was not without difficulty as Maltese workers tended to be looked down upon and restrictions and quotas were applied. A significant percentage of the Maltese immigrants had intended to stay only temporarily for work but many settled in Australia permanently. Maltese immigration to Australia reached its peak during the 1960s. The majority of Maltese immigrants reside in Melbourne's western suburbs of Sunshine (especially on Glengala Rd) and St Albans, and in Sydney's western suburbs of Greystanes and Horsley Park. The Maltese, as in their home country, are predominantly Roman Catholic.[5]

One of the first women to migrate from Malta to Australia was Carmela Sant in 1915. The move was prompted by her husband Giuseppe Ellul, who had migrated in 1913. Giuseppe Ellul was a stonemason in Mosta before moving to Australia to commence a successful career in sugar cane and dairy farming in Mackay, Queensland. In 1916 the couple gave birth to the first born Maltese Australian, Joseph Ellul.

259 Maltese boys and 51 Maltese girls were sent alone to Catholic institutions in Western and South Australia between 1950 and 1965, following negotiations between the Maltese and Western Australian governments which had started in 1928 when Perth-based Maltese priest Father Raphael Pace urged the Christian Brothers to include Maltese children in its emerging migration scheme. Instead of receiving an education, many of them were exploited for building works, and were never scholarised in English, while also forgetting their own Maltese language. [6]

Notable individuals

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "People in Australia who were born in Malta". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2016.
  2. Ivan Magri-Overend (2001). "Present Situation of Maltese of Egypt". Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  3. "1.3 Migration to Australia". 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  4. Barry York (April 1995). "How Many Maltese in Australia?". WIRT MALTA – Maltese Cultural Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 1 (10). Archived from the original on 28 August 2009.
  5. Barry York (1990). "Empire and Race: The Maltese in Australia, 1881–1949". Questia. NSWU PRESS. p. iii. Retrieved 25 January 2016. (Subscription required (help)).
  6. On their own
  7. Calleja, Claudia (16 February 2015). "'Healthy hermaphrodite' is both man and woman". The Times. Malta.
  8. Rugari, Vince. "A-League contract news: Jamie Maclaren on his Brisbane Roar future". Fox Sports Australia. Retrieved 31 March 2017.


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