Convict Transportation

Approx. 1788 - 1868

Britain transported more than 160 000 convicts from its overcrowded prisons forming the first migration from Europe to Australia.

Free Immigrants

1793 - 1850

Nearly 200 000 free settlers and assisted immigrants chose to migrate to Australia. The majority were English agricultural workers or domestic servants who outnumbered the Irish and Scottish migrants.

South Sea Islanders


In the second half of the 19th century South Sea Islanders were recruited to work on Queensland sugar plantations.


1850 - 1901

Thousands of Chinese came to Australia during the 1850's gold rush. Many took up market gardening or established businesses,

White Australia

1901 - 1958

Introduced the Immigration Restriction Act which made many restrictions on immigration and aimed to stop Chinese and South Sea Islanders from coming to Australia.

Boat People

1970 - Present

Different refugees came to Australia by boat. Most of them were from Asia such as East Timor. They came due to problems in their countries.

Asylum Seekers

1990 - Present

They have been fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Sri Lanka arrived to Australia by boat. Their travel was often organised by smugglers.