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Cooee7 Many Cultures


Multiculturalism and diversity are so important to Australia that each year we have a day set aside to celebrate and embrace our many cultures. It is called Harmony Day/Week. Learn more.

Multicultural diversity can apply to many aspects of our society. I am sure we would all agree that the experience and choice of so many different foods is wonderful.


That immigration is vital to Australia's growth and progress? There have been two large immigration events in Australia's past

  • Mid to late 1800's and the Gold Rush Era. Hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world flocked to Victoria, NSW and later WA to find a fortune in gold. While some struck it rich, most didn't. They went on to become important in building the towns, ports and transport that lay the foundations of our modern Australia. The wealth from gold and in modern times, iron ore and copper require large work forces. Immigrant labor has made Australia's wealth a reality. Learn more.


  • In 1949 the Australian Government launched a massive "populate or perish" immigration program to boost our population. Snowy Mountains Hydro electric project to generate electricity for the nation and to divert water to inland  farming  was the largest engineering project in the world at that time. Without the thousands of migrants who came to Australia to seek a new life after World War II, its completion would not have been possible. Learn more.


  • While the American Civil Rights movement is well known, not many Australians are aware that its First People were forced to struggle for their rights, mostly because of the White Australia Policy. They are not recognised in our Constitution. Eventually they received the right to vote in 1962. Learn more.

Cooee. Caio. Yasou. Nǐ hǎo. Hello. Our journey takes us to Melbourne Victoria. Considered by many to be the sporting capital of Australia. Melbourne has the largest number of overseas immigrants and is considered to be the Australia's multicultural centre with 35.8% of its population was born overseas (most commonly UK, Vietnam, Italy, China, New Zealand followed by India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, South Africa and Sudan.) Most commonly spoken languages are: English (68.1%), Chinese languages (3.6%), followed by Greek, Italian and Vietnamese.

From a purely historical perspective everyone in Australia has a migrant story to tell, including our First Peoples. Our history of accepting different cultures has not been a 'proud' one. Yet, in spite of some dark epochs Australian society today is far more welcoming that it has ever been in the past. Do you agree? Watch the videos (bottom) to learn more.

Let's explore the main immigrant trends in our past. (Click to enlarge images)

First peoples. Over 40,000 years ago our first peoples migrated to Australia from Asia using the land bridges formed by lower sea levels due to the Ice Age. They see themselves the traditional custodians of the land.


First white people. With the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 came convicts and free settlers. They were mainly from England, Ireland and the British Isles. Transportation of convicts ended in 1868 with over 164,000 convicts being sent to the Australian colonies.

Gold Rush Era. Gold was discovered in 1851 in NSW. Soon a massive immigrant rush began. Between 1851 and 1860, an estimated 300,000 people came to Australian colonies from England and Wales, with another 100,000 from Scotland and 84,000 from Ireland. Considerable numbers came from America, China and Germany. It was a golden era. Melbourne became a "boom" city as it was the first place of arrival from the ships. Many of our larger regional towns (Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine) were a response to the needs of commerce and trade  spurred on by gold.

"Blackbirding". Not all immigrants came of their free will. Like the convicts South Sea Islanders were captured and enslaved to labor in the Queensland cotton and sugar cane farms. Yes, that's right Australia had its own shameful slavery trade. Learn more.

White Australia Policy. When Australia formed a new Commonwealth government in 1901, it took over responsibility for immigration. The Immigration Restriction Act 1901, aimed at discouraging non-white migrants. It included a notorious dictation test of 50 words in a European language - immigration officials could choose any language they pleased - which applicants had to pass to emigrate to Australia. It officially ended in 1973. The post World War II immigrant influx paved the way to a more accepting multicultural view.

"Populate or Perish." The country’s first-ever immigration minister Arthur Calwell promoted the idea that Australia needed to “populate or perish".  Australia began accepting migrants from more than 30 European countries, including the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Spain and West Germany. But the largest national groups of arrivals after the British were the Italians and Greeks until the early 1970s.

Compassion V's Control. Humanitarian intakes saw the settlement of Lebanese and Cypriot people during the early 1970s; followed by a significant wave of Indochinese arrivals displaced by the Vietnamese and Cambodian conflicts. From the late 1990s, increasing numbers of asylum seekers fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Sri Lanka arrived in Australia by boat, mostly organised by people smugglers. Australia’s government cracked down on what it called “unauthorised” arrivals. It is worth noting that Australia has thrown open its doors to migrants, with over 100,000 new arrivals settling each year. Immigration continues to generate debate and strong emotions. To the left are the immigrant inflow numbers for 2016. What are your views?

Cooee7 ManyIntro Cooee7 ImmiOverview Cooee7 Population


  1. We are all immigrants. Some more recent than others. Select someone outside your class and interview them. You should aim to audio record the interview.
    • Your questions should seek to discover the origins (history) of their immigration to Australia.
    • You should also try to identify the unique (different) aspects of their culture in comparison to your own.
  2. Take a photo, to use in fotobabble.
  3. Present your findings using www.fotobabble.com
  4. Click the button to watch a fotobabble video tutorial

Fotobabble Tutorial


Cooee 7


  1. Covered all the content in this topic
  2. Made Fotobbble containing my interview.
  3. Created a new slide in my Cooee Portfolio and embedded or added a link to my fotobabble presentation.


  • Immigration
  • Multiculturalism


  • Interviewing
  • Presenting recollections in a digital format.
  • Presenting / recording an interview using fotobabble.com