Kenyan Culture

Kenyans in Australia

Kenya was known as ‘British East Africa’ in the late 19th century due to its colonial connections to the British Empire. The early Kenya-born migrants to Australia were of European background and arrived from the British colony of Kenya in the post-WWII period. This migration was sparked further by the Mau Mau Uprising (1953-1960), which led many Kenya-born settlers of European and Asian backgrounds to migrate abroad. Today, the Kenyan diaspora is quite extensive. Most Kenyans abroad, including those in Australia, maintain a strong connection to their Kenyan identity and home country.


Today, the majority of Kenyan residents have arrived recently; 65.1% of the current Kenya-born population in Australia arrived between 2001 and 2016. The Kenyan community in Australia is diverse. For example, the 2016 census recorded that the ancestry of the Kenya-born population was 21.5% Kenyan, 18.1% Indian, 14.6% English, African (so described, 10.3%) and 35.5% identified with some other ancestry. There is also a variety of languages spoken at home: 36.7% speaking English, 27.6% speaking Swahili, 11.1% speaking Gujarati, 6.6.% speaking Dinka and 17.0% speaking some other language. The religious affiliation of the Kenya-born population in Australia is diverse, with 17.9% identifying as Catholic, 14.9% identifying as Anglican, 11.8% identifying as Hindu, 29.9% identifying with ‘Other’, and 11.2% identifying as having no religion.


The Kenya-born population in Australia is highly qualified, with approximately 43% having a university degree or higher. Of those who are employed, 50.2% are in a skilled managerial, professional or trade occupation. The Kenyan community is supported by various programs and organisations, such as the SBS African language program. It is common for the community to come together to celebrate Jamhuri Day (Kenyan Independence) in December.

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