The “Golden Greeks” from “Diggers” to Settlers: Greek Migration and Settlement during the Australian Gold Rush Era, 1850s–1890s
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Between the 1850s and 1890s, the gentle ripples of Australia’s early Greek presence surrendered to the first real wave of Greek migration. Gold was the initial stimulus. Greek seaman — particularly those on British vessels — jumped ship and left for the diggings with other “new chums”. Greeks dug, panned and sweated for the precious metal amongst bustling hopefuls from across the globe — the road to a multicultural Australia had been unintentionally initiated. Greek migration to, and settlement in Australia, reached a point of change during the gold rush era: the first collective Greek settlements appeared, family groups increased, occupational diversity began to emerge — together with what was to become the Greek café phenomenon — chain migration was stimulated, and eventually formal Greek communities were established. Gold encouraged and shaped the Australian colonies’ progress towards nationhood, it also secured, as this paper evidences, the Greek diaspora’s presence as part of the nation’s future.
All rights reserved © 2017, Modern Greek Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand. Reproduced with permission of the publisher.