Immigration from 1788 to present


The first European settlers


The first European settlers arrived they did not find an empty land as expected. Aboriginals have been on the land for 500,000 years.


1788 - 1868

Convicts were transported to Australia from overcrowded prisons. Convicts were sent regularly to be put to hard labour like farming and cropping.

The Gold rush

1793 - 1860

The Gold rush began in 1950 and brought immigrants from all over the world to start out and gain fortune through working at the mines. First to come was the British, followed by the Scandinavians and Germans, the the Greek and Italian’s and lastly the Chinese.

South Sea Islanders

1850 - 1900

South Sea Islanders were recruited as labourers to work on the Queensland Sugar Plantation. Afghan cameleers helped Australians to explore the desert and Japanese divers to contribute to the development of the Pearl Industry.

Immigration Restriction Act,


Australia’s new Federal Parliament passed the Immigration Restriction Act, which placed certain restrictions on immigration and aimed to stop Chinese and South Sea Islanders from coming to Australia.

World War I

1914 - 1918

World War II

1939 - 1945

The Vietnamese ‘boat people’


In the late 1970s a new group of s refugees docked into the shores Darwin, firstly from East Timor and then followed by Indochina, most fleeing because of war and violence in their home countries. The Vietnamese ‘boat people’ in particular arrived at a time of dramatic social upheaval in Australia, with heated public debate about our involvement in the Vietnam War and the new concept of multiculturalism.

90s to present times

1990 - 2017

Since the late 1990s increasing numbers of asylum seekers fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Sri Lanka have arrived in Australia by boat.