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Polish Australian


Polish Australian

Polish Australian
Total population
170,354 (by ancestry, 2011)
48,678 (by birth, 2011)
Regions with significant populations
Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia
Polish · Australian English
Christianity (Predominantly Catholic; Lutheran) Judaism, and no religion.[1]

A Polish Australian is an Australian person of full or partial Polish ancestry or a Polish citizen living in Australia.

People with Polish ancestry as a percentage of the population in Australia divided geographically by statistical local area, as of the 2011 census

In 2006 52,254 Australian residents declared they were born in Poland. Cities with the largest Polish populations were Melbourne (16,439), Sydney (12,514), Adelaide (5,859) and Perth (5,142).[2]

The Polish-born Australian resident population predominantly were Australian citizens (90.3%), Christian (82.4%) and used Polish at home (70.0%). Around 78% arrived in Australia before 1990.[3]

In addition, in 2006 163,802 Australian residents declared they had Polish ancestry, either alone or in combination with one other ancestry.[4]


  • History 1
  • Notable Polish Australians 2
    • Business 2.1
    • Entertainment 2.2
    • Politics and government 2.3
    • Science, engineering, medicine and academia 2.4
    • Sport 2.5
    • Other 2.6
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The first Pole known to have arrived in Australia was Joseph Potaski, who was sent there as a convict from Great Britain in 1803.

A prominent Pole, Mount Kosciuszko. He reached Melbourne on 28 May 1840. From 1840 to 1842 Strzelecki explored Tasmania (then known as Van Diemen's Land). Having travelled 11,000 kilometres (7,000 miles) through New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, examining the geology along the way Strzelecki returned to England where he was awarded in May 1846 the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society.

The first settlers from Poland arrived in South Australia in 1856 and settled in the Clare Valley region in a place later called Polish Hill River. The first mass migration happened in the late 1940s when large groups of displaced persons who could not return to a free Poland migrated to Australia after World War II, including soldiers from the Polish Independent Carpathian Brigade ("rats of Tobruk"). Between 1947 and 1954, the Poland-born population increased from 6,573 to 56,594 people.

In the early 1980s there was further Polish migration to Australia. The emergence of the Australian Institute of Polish Affairs (also known as AIPA) was strong public interest in the historic changes that swept Central Europe in 1989 and led to the collapse of communism.

Mount Kosciuszko, the highest mountain in Australia (not including its external territories),[5] was named by the Polish explorer Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki in 1840, in honour of the Polish and American national hero and hero of the American Revolutionary War General Tadeusz Kościuszko, because Strzelecki perceived resemblance to the Kościuszko Mound in Kraków.[6]

Notable Polish Australians



Politics and government

Science, engineering, medicine and academia




  1. ^ Department of Immigration & Citizenship: Media - Publications: Statistics - Community Information Summaries
  2. ^ of Birth of Person (full classification list) by Sex&producttype=Census Tables&method=Place of Usual Residence&areacode=0 ABS Census - Country of Birth, 2006
  3. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006 Census Ethnic Media Package
  4. ^ ABS Census - ethnicity
  5. ^ "Kosciuszko National Park". Australian Alps National Parks. Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  6. ^ "Australian Geographical Name Derivations". 8 April 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  7. ^ Cantelo, Sigourney (2012-11-06). "Our fair ladies: how to maintain pale skin".  

External links

  • Polish Community Council of Australia
  • An article on the use of the Polish language by Polish Australians, specifically those in Melbourne:
    • Fitzgerald, M. and Debski, R. (2006). Internet Use of Polish by Polish Melburnians: Implications for Maintenance and Teaching. Language Learning and Technology, 10(1), 87-109. Retrieved 10 August 2006 from .
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