The first Swede to visit Australia was a botanist by the name of Daniel Solander, who arrived in 1770 on the first voyage with Captain James Cook. The gold rush period in the 1850s attracted large numbers of Swedes. Many worked in the goldfields but eventually stayed longer term by setting up farms or small businesses. By 1901, it was estimated that there were 6,000 Swedes in Australia, most of whom were engaged in commerce. The start of a regular Swedish shipping line from 1907 onwards further developed the trade relationship between Australia and Sweden. This relationship continues today, as the two countries have strong business and trade links.
The number of Swedes in Australia declined by the mid-1900s. The community was boosted by migration promoted through assisted passage during the 1950s, which led to the almost doubling of the community's size by the 1980s. While the number of people moving to Australia from other Scandinavian countries has diminished, the Sweden-born population continues to grow. Of the Sweden-born population, 57.6% are employed in a skilled managerial, professional or trade occupation. Moreover, 67.3% have some form of higher non-school qualifications (such as a tertiary degree or trade). There are various Swedish and Scandinavian associations across the country as well as festivals that help promote Swedish culture.