A young man

The term ‘Arab Australians’ refers to a broad group of people whose origins are from diverse countries of the Arab world and who may share a common linguistic and cultural heritage. Their ancestry and identity may be traced to any of the various waves of immigrants who have settled in Australia from any of the 22 countries that constitute the Arab World.

They may be third or fourth generation Arab Australians who are descendants of the Lebanese, Egyptian or Syrian immigrants who arrived in Australia over 100 years ago. They may be second generation descendants of the post war immigrants arriving in the 1950s and 1960s from the Middle East, or they may be our more recently arrived settlers who have escaped war and conflict in Somalia, Sudan and Iraq.

The identity of Arab Australians, as with many immigrant communities, is complex and multifaceted. It is influenced by a range of factors, including their settlement experience in Australia and their own identification with, and attachment to, their country of origin, their religion, their distinct ethnicity (which for many may not be an Arab ethnicity) and their language. It is also important to keep in mind that identity is not static and it is subject to continuous change, especially for immigrants, whose identity transforms from that in their homeland and is affected by factors of cultural maintenance and change.

In other sections of this website we outline key factors of identity for Arab Australians and we provide profiles of the important indicators of cultural identity: language and communication, history and migration, religion, culture and traditions. In Arabic Clients, there is useful information and effective strategies for engaging people of Arabic speaking backgrounds, to support the factors that affect settlement and cultural change.

In this section, we provide community profiles based on the country of origin of the largest ancestral groups with heritage from the Arab world. The largest community groups now living in Victoria, Australia, with origins in the Arab world include those from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Somalia and Sudan and Syria. For each of these communities, there is great diversity in religious, ethnic and linguistic diversity and we provide you with these key differences in each community profile.

Further Reading & Materials