Swedish Culture

Swedish in Australia

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.

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 2017 est.]
  • Languages
    Swedish (official)
    Official Minority Languages:
  • Religions
    Church of Sweden (Lutheran Christianity) (63%)
    Other (includes other branches of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism) (17%)
    [2016 est.]
  • Ethnicities
    Swedish (82.4%)
    Finnish (1.5%)
    Syrian (1.5%)
    Iraqi (1.3%)
    Polish (0.8%)
    Irani (0.7%)
    Sami (0.3%)
    Other (11.8%)
    Note: The Swedish Government reports ethnicity by country of birth
  • Cultural Dimensions
  • Australians with Swedish Ancestry
    40,214 [2016 census]
Swedish in Australia
  • Population
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Sweden.
  • Average Age
  • Gender
    Male (44.7%)
    Female (55.3%)
  • Religion
    Lutheran Christianity (26.5%)
    Anglican Christianity (5.6%)
    No religion (41.3)
    Not stated (5.5%)
  • Ancestry
    Swedish (83.1%)
    Australian (6.0%)
    Finnish (3.9%)
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Swedish (52.4%)
    English (41.3%)
    Finnish (0.6%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 97.6% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    New South Wales (33.6%)
    Queensland (24.1%)
    Victoria (21.0%)
    Western Australia (11.5%)
  • Arrival to Australia
    Prior to 2001 (58.0%)
    2001-2006 (16.9%)
    2007-2011 (21.5%)
Country https://dtbhzdanf36fd.cloudfront.net/countries/6/se.svg Flag Country Sweden