Hungarian Culture

Hungarians in Australia

The Hungarian community has been present in Australia since times. During the pre-WWI period, there were few Hungarians who selected Australia as their destination. Many were Hungarian officers and ex-soldiers who were attracted to Victoria’s goldfields. The collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after WWI saw a steady flow of Hungarian migrants, many of which were professionals or sponsored by their families already residing in Australia.

In the lead up to WWII, approximately 800 Hungarian-Jews, most with professional occupations, fled Hungary for Australia. In the post-WWII period, Australia accepted another 5,000 Hungarian refugees, most of which were Christian. The Australian government also offered settlement assistance to roughly 14,000 Hungarian refugees after the Soviet repression of the Hungarian Revolution (1956). In the following decades, many Hungarian immigrants came as sponsored individuals from Hungary and from surrounding countries where Hungarians reside as sizeable minorities since the Treaty of Trianon (1920), such as the Vojvodina province of former Yugoslavia (see ‘ Interactions’ in Core Concepts).

Throughout their presence in Australia’s history, Hungarian migrants have made significant contributions to various aspects of Australian life, such as through science and the arts. In contemporary Australia, the size of the Hungarian community has slowly declined for various reasons such as the dwindling number of the older generation of migrants, the re-emigration of some Hungarians to other countries, and preferences to migrate to other parts of Europe rather than Australia. The Hungarian community in Australia maintain Hungarian customs and traditions through a number of organisations as well as passing down the Hungarian language to younger generations.

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