Lebanese Culture

Lebanese in Australia

Primary Author
Nina Evason,

Lebanese migration to Australia occurred in the three main waves. The first occurred from 1880 to 1947 when many Maronite, Melkite and Christians migrated. They were classified as a Turk due to Lebanon being a province of the Ottoman Empire at that time. Subsequent migration was steady until an influx occurred surrounding the Arab-Israeli War in 1967 and the general political and economical uncertainty of the country. Progressively, over the ten years between 1966 and 1976, the Lebanon-born community in Australia grew from 10,688 to 33,424 people.

In 1975, Lebanon’s civil war began and the Australian Government eased entry restrictions to allow those already in Australia to sponsor their families back in Lebanon. This resulted in the third and largest influx from Lebanon. The population surged between 1976 and 1981. As the political situation steadied, migration has reduced and has been relatively marginal since.

According to the 2011 census, almost 70% of Australia’s residents who were born in Lebanon arrived before 1991. As such, the majority of Lebanese in Australia are well established and have been permanent residents for decades. This is reflected in the ages of (those born in Lebanon) – only 6.8% are under 25 years of age. It is important to note that those Lebanese who have been settled and acculturated to Australia for decades may have different understanding of cultural customs to people born and living in Lebanon today. Furthermore, what constitutes Lebanese tradition varies and blurs with every generation; those of Lebanese descent may not absolutely reflect profile described above.

As of 2011, over 70% of the Lebanon-born population lives in New South Wales. Almost half are Christian (predominantly Catholic or ), and roughly 45% are Muslim.

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