Indonesian Australians

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Indonesian Australians
Total population
63,160 (2011 Census, by country of birth)
48,836 (2011 Census, by ancestry)[1]
Christians (59%), Muslims (19.4%), Buddhists (10.3%), No Religion (6.8%)[1]
Related ethnic groups
Indonesians, Overseas Indonesians, Cocos Malays, Malaysian Australians

Indonesian Australians are Australian citizens and residents of Indonesian origin. In the 2011 Australian Census, 48,836 Australian residents stated their ancestry to be Indonesian and 63,160 stated they were Indonesian-born residents in Australia (but of other ethnic ancestry, mostly Chinese).[1]

Migration history

The number of permanent settlers arriving in Australia from Indonesia since 1991 (monthly)
People born in Indonesia as a percentage of the population in Sydney by postal area.

As early as 1750, prior to European settlement/colonisation, seamen from the Indonesian island of Makassar had settled on Australia's northern coast, spending about four months per year there collecting sea cucumbers and taking them back home to trade. By the late 19th century, the pearl hunting industry was recruiting workers from Kupang, while sugar plantations had hired migrant labourers from Java to work in Queensland; Dutch colonial authorities estimated they formed a total population of about 1,000. However, after the federation of Australia and the enactment of the Immigration Restriction Act 1901, the first part of a series of laws which collectively formed the White Australia policy, most of these migrants returned to Indonesia.[2] Beginning in 1942, thousands of Indonesians fled the Japanese occupation of Indonesia and took refuge in Australia. Exact landing statistics were not kept due to the chaotic nature of their migration, but after the war, 3,768 repatriated to Indonesia on Australian government-provided ships.[3] In the 1950s, roughly 10,000 people from the former Dutch colony of the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia), who held Dutch citizenship and previously settled in the Netherlands, migrated to Australia, bypassing the White Australia policy.[4][5] Large numbers of Chinese Indonesians began migrating to Australia in the late 1990s, fleeing the political and economic turmoil in the aftermath of the May 1998 riots and the subsequent fall of Suharto.[6]


Though Islam is the majority religion in Indonesia, Muslims are the minority among Indonesians in Australia.[7] In the 2006 Australian Census, only 8,656 out of 50,975 Indonesians in Australia, or 17%, identified as Muslim, though five years later, in the 2011 census, that figure rose to 12,241 or 19.4%.[1] They lack their own mosques, but instead typically attend mosques established by members of other ethnic groups.[7] In contrast, more than half of the Indonesian population in Australia follows Christianity, split evenly between the Roman Catholic Church and various Protestant denominations.[8]

Notable people

Dougy Mandagi of The Temper Trap

See also



  1. ^ a b c d "Community Information Summary – Indonesian-born" (pdf). Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Community Relations Section of DIAC. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  2. ^ Penny & Gunawan 2001, p. 439
  3. ^ Lockwood 1970
  4. ^ Willems 2001, pp. 263–329
  5. ^ Coté & Westerbeek 2005, p. 289
  6. ^ Ikegami 2005, pp. 21–23
  7. ^ a b Saeed 2003, p. 12
  8. ^ Penny & Gunawan 2001, p. 441
  9. ^ "Asia's Top 20 Heartbreakers". Asian Pacific Post. 22 September 2005. Retrieved 20 February 2008.
  10. ^ Whitfield, Deanne (28 June 2008), "Jessica Mauboy: 'Idol' cultural ambassador", Jakarta Post, retrieved 10 March 2010
  11. ^ IMDB Andre Ong Carlesso, retrieved 12 October 2017


  • Coté, Joost; Westerbeek, Loes (2005), Recalling the Indies: Colonial Culture and Postcolonial Identities, Askant Academic Publishers, ISBN 978-90-5260-119-9
  • Ikegami, Shigehiro (2005), "A Profile of Indonesian People in Australia" (PDF), Memoirs of the Shizuoka University of Art and Culture, 6: 21–30, retrieved 10 March 2010
  • Lockwood, Rupert (October 1970), "The Indonesian Exiles in Australia, 1942–1947", Indonesia, 10 (10): 37–56, doi:10.2307/3350634, JSTOR 3350634
  • Penny, Janet; Gunawan, Tuti (2001), "Indonesians", in Jupp, James, The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People, and Their Origins, Cambridge University Press, pp. 439–441
  • Saeed, Abdullah (2003), "Who are Australia's Muslims?", Islam in Australia, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 1-86508-864-1
  • Willems, Wim (2001), De uittocht uit Indie 1945-1995: De geschiedenis van Indische Nederlanders, Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Bert Bakker, ISBN 978-90-351-2361-8

Further reading

  • Da Costa, Hilary (September 1992), "Indonesians in Australia - Profile of a little-known community", Inside Indonesia, 32, ISSN 0814-1185
  • Nonini, Donald M. (2004), "Spheres of speculation and middling transnational migrants: Chinese Indonesians in the Asia-Pacific", in Yeoh, Brenda S. A.; Willis, Katie, State/Nation/Transnation: Perspectives on Transnationalism in the Asia-Pacific, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-30279-X
  • Penny, J. (1993), Indonesians in Australia, 1947 to 1986, Working Papers, 84, Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University, ISBN 0-7326-0513-X
  • Siregar, Bahren Umar (1987), Language choice, language mixing and language attitudes: Indonesians in Australia, PhD dissertation, Monash University, OCLC 34466563

External links

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