Australia is home to 5.3 million migrants, meaning that one quarter of Australians were born overseas, and a further 20% of Australians are children of migrants – making half our nation first or second-generation migrants! Malaysia-born migrants are our 9th largest migrant group (with the UK, New Zealand and China being our biggest).
Malaysians are also one of our oldest-settled migrant groups, first arriving in the Northern coast in the 18th Century. Sociologist Peta Stephenson has a wonderful study of Indigenous Australian Muslim “reverts” (converts) who have reclaimed this heritage by converting to Islam. Today, however, in Victoria, most Malaysia-born Australians are either Buddhist (28%), No Religion (16%) or Catholic (13%).
While most other non-English speaking groups tend to settle in the Western and outer suburbs of Melbourne, Malaysian-Australians are largely living in the inner city, one of the most affluent areas in our state. Generally speaking, Malay are one of our most upwardly mobile migrant groups, with second-generation migrants averaging greater educational and professional success in comparison to Anglo-Australians.
The photos below are from the Malaysian Street Festival, which was held over the weekend. The Festival showcased the rich cultural diversity of Melbourne’s Malaysian communities. The focus was on food, music and family activities (what I’ve previously termed “emblems of identity” or surface-level culture).
Photos by Zuleyka Zevallos.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics: First and Second-generation migrants in Australia: http://goo.gl/S4m5SU
- Short history of Malaysia-born in Australia: http://goo.gl/ijrUuY
- Australian Bureau of Statistics: Migrants and Malay population: http://goo.gl/wI0I9l
- Religion amongst Malaysian-Australians: http://goo.gl/F5IGYi (free PDF)
- Peta Stephenson’s research on Indigenous reverts: http://goo.gl/9r0kyr (free PDF)
- Socio-economic outcomes of second-generation migrants is part of my ongoing research. Also see Khoo et al. http://goo.gl/L1VjEl (free PDF but warning it’s a large file!)