Since Croatia was once part of the former Yugoslavia, separate census data about the Croatia-born community in Australia was not captured before 1996. Nonetheless, the first group of Croatian immigrants came during the gold rush era. Some Croatians decided to remain in Australia and work in different areas of society after their time working on the goldfields. During the 1920s, many Croatians worked in the fruit growing industry. Indeed, the Victorian suburb of Mildura became known as ‘little Medjugorje’, named after an agricultural region close to the border of Croatia where many of the workers in Mildura were born.
Following World War II, a large number of Croatians were considered displaced persons. Some migrated to Australia and were assisted by previous settlers. Similarly, between the 1960s and 1970s, many Croatians fled due to high unemployment and deteriorating economic conditions in former Yugoslavia. Australia received a number of Croatian refugees as a result of the conflicts in Yugoslavia in the 1990s. However, the total number of arrivals during this time period (many of whom were of a higher socioeconomic group) did not significantly alter the social makeup of the Croatia-born population in Australia.
Migration from Croatia has been in decline since the early 2000s. Nonetheless, the Croatia-born community in Australia maintains their cultural ties through the support of various Croatian clubs, sporting clubs and associations. For many, the Catholic church also provides a support network.