The first known Chilean to arrive in Australia was the former President of Chile, General Ramon Freire, who came in 1838 as a political exile. The number of Chilean migrants to Australia remained small up until the late 1960s. Economic and political uncertainty in Chile in the early 1970s led to an increase in Chilean migrants, many of whom were educated and from a high social class. When Pinochet became the leader of Chile in 1973, the number of Chileans in Australia grew rapidly. The Australian government at the time (under the leadership of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam) assisted Chilean immigrants who had fled from Chile due to the Pinochet regime.
In more recent times, most Chileans have come to Australia under the Family Migration Stream. Most Chileans moving to Australia come due to economic rather than political reasons. The Chilean community in Australia has formed a few groups and associations, including groups focused on human rights issues in Chile, as well as sporting and social groups.