Sri Lankan Australian

Sri Lankan Australian

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Sri Lankan Australian

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Sri Lankan Australian refers to people of Sri Lankan heritage living in Australia. This includes at least three Sri Lankan ethnic groups in Australia the Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamil and Burghers. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, there is no self-identifying "Sri Lankan Australian" group. Persons linked to Sri Lanka self-identify as mainly "Sinhalese Australian", "Tamil Australian" or "Burgher". Most Sri Lankan Australians (indeed, most Sri Lankans in general, see Demographics of Sri Lanka) are Sinhalese.


Early arrivals

Recorded Sri Lankan immigration to Australia started in 1816, with the transportation of Drum Major William O'Dean (a Sri Lankan Malay) and his wife Eve (a Sinhalese). Early immigrants from Sri Lanka (at that time known as Ceylon) were generally (unlike the O'Deans) absorbed into the Aboriginal population. Other early references of Sri Lankan migration date back to the 1870s when authorities in South Australia sought out the possibility of importing labour from Ceylon. The first Sinhalese from Sri Lanka arrived in 1870 to work in sugarcane plantations in Queensland. A community was believed to exist on Thursday Island in 1876. In 1882, a group of 500 left Colombo for Queensland, mostly in Mackay.

20th century

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