Russian Culture

Russians in Australia

The first Russian settler to arrive in Australia came in 1804 as a convict. However, there was relatively minimal Russian migration until the late 18th and early 19th century. Major waves of Russian arrivals then coincided with key political periods and uprisings in Russia (e.g. the Bolshevik Revolution). A third influx occurred during the hostilities of the post-war period (1947-1952) as many Russians left refugee camps throughout Europe. 


The largest number of arrivals occurred from 1990 onwards, surrounding the time of the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). During this period, arrivals increased dramatically. According to the 2011 census, roughly 70% of Russian-born people in Australia have arrived since. However, it is important to note that not all people who identify as Russian were born there. There were many ethnic Russians living in other republics of the former Soviet Union who arrived to Australia during the same time of political upheaval. As such, the Russian community in Australia includes many from Ukraine, Latvia, etc.


While 80% of the Russian community continues to speak Russian at home, they generally have a good understanding of English (83% speak it fluently). Many Russian-born people are employed in professional fields. Over 75% of those over the age of 15 having some form of higher non-school qualification. Most Russians living in Australia are female (62.7%). 

Download this Cultural Profile

Too busy to read it right now?

You can download this cultural profile in an easy-to-read PDF format that can be printed out and accessed at any time.

  • Population
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Russian [official] (85.7%)
    Tatar (3.2%)
    Chechen (1.0%)
    Other (10.1%)
    [2010 census]
  • Religions
    Russian Orthodox Christianity (15-20%)
    Islam (10-15%)
    Other Christianity (2%)
    [2006 est.]
    Note: These estimates are of practicing worshipers only. Russia has large populations of non-practicing believers and non-believers.
  • Ethnicities
    Russian (77.7%)
    Tatar (3.7%)
    Ukrainian (1.4%)
    Bashkir (1.1%)
    Chuvash (1%)
    Chechen (1%)
    Other (10.2%)
    Unspecified (3.9%)
    [2010 census]
    Note: There are nearly 200 national and/or ethnic groups are represented in Russia.
  • Cultural Dimensions
  • Australians with Russian Ancestry
    85,657 [2016 census]
Russians in Australia
  • Population
    20,425 [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Russia. However, it should be that there are many people who were born in other republics of the former Soviet Union who also identify as Russian. According to the 2016 census, the number of Russian-speakers in Australia is 50,314.
  • Average Age
  • Gender
    Male (37.3%)
    Female (62.7%)
  • Religion
    Eastern Orthodox Christianity (42.3%)
    No Religion (26.3%)
    Judaism (12.7%)
    Other (14.1%)
    Not Stated (4.5%)
  • Ancestry
    Russian (79.3%)
    Jewish (5.9%)
    Ukrainian (1.7%)
    Other (10.9%)
    Not Stated (2.1%)
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Russian (79.8%)
    English (13.7%)
    Polish (1.2%)
    Greek (0.8%)
    Other (4.5%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 80.8% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (37.5%)
    Victoria (33.2%)
    Queensland (12.9%)
    South Australia (6.8%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (54.4%)
    2001-2006 (19.8%)
    2007-2011 (21.6%)
Country Flag Country Russia