1911 Australian census

The 1911 Australian census was the first national population census held in Australia. The day used for the census, was taken for the night between 2 and 3 April 1911. The total population of the Commonwealth of Australia was counted as 4,455,005 - an increase of 681,204 people, 18.05% over the 1901 "Federation" Census.[1][lower-alpha 1][2]

First commonwealth census
General information
CountryCommonwealth of Australia
Date taken3 April 1911 (1911-04-03)
Total population4,455,005
Percent change 18.05%
Most populous state or territoryNew South Wales (1,646,734)
Least populous state or territoryFederal Territory (1,714)

The Census Volumes II and III were published on 30 September 1914. At that time it was intended to issue shortly thereafter Volume 1.[3]

Collection method

The first Commonwealth Statistician was George Handley Knibbs. He began his career as a licensed surveyor in government service. On Monday 3 April 1911, census collectors set out all over Australia under mostly clear skies to begin gathering in Australia's first national census forms. They covered suburbs to rural towns and the outback. They travelled by bike or horse where they had the transport that was needed to cover large areas, however, most travelled by foot. Some in Northern Queensland had to find their way through a flooded landscape while others in South Australia had difficulties finding water and fodder for their horses due to droughts. They had distributed the forms prior to the census day.[4]

There was a permanent staff of the ‘Bureau of Census and Statistics’ which consisted of the Statistician (Knibbs) and many assistants, some young men working as clerks as well as a couple of messenger boys. A female typist had joined soon after. They worked in the old Rialto Building in Collins Street, Melbourne.[6]

Collectors had to supply their own transport and cover any associated costs such as fodder and petrol. They were paid according to their method of transport. Collectors on foot were paid ten shilling a day, those on bicycle fifteens shillings a day and those on horse 20 shillings a day. Police were used in the days immediately following the census to get travellers, swagmen and campers to provide their information. Train conductors and ships' captains were also used as collectors in the 1911 census and several subsequent censuses, to cover people travelling overnight on census night.[7]

Census questions

"For Every Person present in the Night from 2 to 3 April 1911, or returning on 3rd April (if not included elsewhere).[8]

  • Name in full (Underline Surname.)
  • Sex - {Write M for Male}, {Write F for Female}
  • Date of Birth: Day
  • If married, write M. If widowed, write W. If divorced, write D. If never married, write N. M.
  • Date of existing Marriage: Year.................
  • Number of Children (living and dead) from existing Marriage .....................
    • (a) Number of Children: (living and dead) from previous Marriage ...............
  • Relation to Head of Household
  • State if Blind or Deaf and Dumb ................
  • Country (or Australian State) where born
  • If a British subject by parentage. write P.
    • If a British subject by Naturalization. write N.
    • Race -
  • If born outside Commonwealth, state length of residence therein
    • (a) Date of Arrival in Commonwealth
  • Religion
  • Education
    • (a) At present receiving Education
  • Profession or Occupation
    (If engaged in more than one occupation. underline principal occupation.)
    • (a) State if Employer or Employee, &c
    • (b) If out of work, state period
    • (c) Occupation of Employer (if any).

Population and dwellings

Population counts for Australian states and territories had 4,455,005 and 19,939 full-Aboriginals (counted separately) for a total population of 4,474,944.[9]
Note: All figures are for the census usually resident population count.

States and TerritoriesMalesFemalesTotal
States
New South Wales857,698789,0361,646,734
Victoria655,591659,9601,315,551
Queensland329,506276,307605,813
South Australia207,358201,200408,558
Western Australia161,565120,549282,114
Tasmania97,59193,620191,211
Territories
Northern Territory2,7345763,310
Federal Territory9927221,714
Commonwealth of Australia2,313,035'2,141,9704,455,005
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics[lower-alpha 2][10][11]
States and TerritoriesMalesFemalesTotal
States
    New South Wales1,1528602,012
    Victoria10393196
    Queensland5,1453,5428,687
    South Australia8026371,439
    Western Australia3,4332,9366,369
    Tasmania213
Territories
    Northern Territory7434801,223
    Federal Territory5510
Commonwealth of Australia11,3858,55419,939
Source: ABS[12]

Birthplace

At the Census of 3 April 1911, each person was asked to state on a "personal" card, the "Country or Australian State where born," and to state on a "personal" card, the "Country or Australian State where born," and from the replies to this query, taken in conjunction with the other data furnished, the tables contained in Part II.[13]

Proportion of the overseas-born.[14]

  England (50.0%)
  Ireland (20.0%)
  Scotland (13.0%)
  Germany (5.0%)
  New Zealand (5.0%)
  China (3.0%)
  Wales (2.0%)
  Italy (1.0%)
  British India (1.0%)
Country of birth Population Percent
Australasia3,699,53883.62%
Australia3,667,67082.90%
New South Wales1,315,030-
Victoria1,181,787-
Queensland415,064-
South Australia394,768-
Western Australia114,550-
Tasmania193,770-
Northern Territory710-
Australia (undefined)51,991-
Totals, Overseas-born787,33517.10%
New Zealand31,8680.72%
Europe664,67115.02%
England346,0307.75%
Scotland93,083-
Isle of Man1,007-
Ireland139,434-
Wales12,175-
Other European British pos.2,378-
Austria-Hungary2,774-
Belgium339-
Denmark5,663-
France2,876-
Germany32,990-
Greece1,798-
Italy6,719-
Netherlands745-
Norway3,451-
Portugal173-
Russia4,456-
Spain658-
Sweden5,586-
Switzerland1,736-
Other European Countries600-
Asia36,4420.82%
China20,775-
Africa4,9580.11%
South Africa (undefined)2,525-
America11,2780.25%
United States of America6,642-
Canada2,944-
Polynesia3,4100.08%
Fiji852-
At sea4,2380.10%
Unspecified30,470-
Totals, Commonwealth4,455,005100.00%
Source: ABS[15]

Race

At the first Australian census in 1911 only those "aboriginal natives" living near European settlements were enumerated, and the main population tables included only those of half or less Aboriginal descent. Details of those "full-blood" Aborigines enumerated were included in separate tables.[16]

Race Population Percentage
European4,402,66298.83%
Totals, non-European52,3431.17%
Aboriginals (half)10,1130.23%
Asiatic38,6900.87%
     Chinese25,772-
     Hindus3,698-
     Japanese3,576-
African6930.01%
American890.00%
     American Indians51-
     West Indies (so described)35-
Polynesian2,7510.06%
     Polynesians (so described)2,197-
     Papuans375-
Indefinite70.00%
Commonwealth4,455,005100.00%
Full-Aboriginal (counted separately)*19,939-
Totals..4,474,944100.00%
Source:[17][18]

Religion

According to these figures it appears that of the 4,455,005 people in Australia on census day (3 April. 1911) 4,274,414 were Christians, 36,785 non-Christians, 14,673 are described as indefinite, 10,016 were of no religion, 83,003 objected to state to what faith, if any, they belonged, and the remaining 36,114 were unspecified.

Religion.1911 Census
NumberPercentage
Christian4,274,414 95.95%
    Church of England1,710,44338.4%
    Presbyterians558,336-
    Methodists547,806-
    Baptist97,074-
    Congregational74,046-
    Lutheran72,395-
    Church of Christ38,748-
    Salvation Army26,665-
    Seventh-day Adventist6,095-
    Unitarian2,175-
     Protestant (undefined)109,861-
    Roman; Catholic921,42520.7%
    Greek Catholic2,646-
     Catholic (undefined)75,379-
     Others31,320-
Non-Christian 36,785
    Hebrew17,287-
    Confucian5,194-
    Mohammedan3,908-
    Buddhist3,269-
    Pagan1,447-
     Others5,680-
Indefinite 14,673
    Freethinker3,254-
    Agnostic3,084-
     No Denomination2,688-
    Others5,647-
No Religion 10,016
    No Religion9,251-
    Atheist579-
    Others186-
Object to state83,003-
Unspecified36,114-
Grand total ..4,455,005100.00%
Source: ABS[19]

See also

Notes

  1. (Excluding the Dwellings occupied solely by Full-blooded Aboriginals).
  2. At the Census of 3 April 1911 (Full-blooded Aboriginals not included).

References

  1. Census of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1911, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  2. Census of The Commonwealth Of Australia, 1911. PART XIV.-SUMMARY TABLES
  3. VOLUME I. STATISTICIAN'S REPORT INCLUDING APPENDICES]
  4. Reflecting a Nation: - Stories from the 1911 - 2011 Census, July 2011
  5. Reflecting a Nation: Stories from the 2011 Census, July 2011
  6. Reflecting a Nation: - Stories from the 1911 - 2011 Census, July 2011
  7. Reflecting a Nation: - Stories from the 1911 - 2011 Census, July 2011
  8. SPECIMEN OF A FILLED IN PERSONAL CARD. COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. CENSUS, 3rd APRIL, 1911.
  9. Census of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1911, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  10. Census of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1911, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  11. Census of The Commonwealth Of Australia, 1911. PART XIV.-SUMMARY TABLES
  12. Census of The Commonwealth Of Australia, 1911. PART XIV.-SUMMARY TABLES
  13. Census of The Commonwealth Of Australia STATISTICIAN'S REPORT INCLUDING APPENDICES.
  14. Towards a super connected Australia - nbn (Page: 7)
  15. Census of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1911, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  16. Madden, Richard; Al-Yaman, Fadwa (2003). "How Statisticians Describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples" (PDF). 2003 Seminars on Health and Society: An Australian Indigenous Context. Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2006. Retrieved 25 June 2006.
  17. Pocket Compendium of Australian Statistics, Volumes 20-24
  18. PART VIII. NON.EUROPEAN RACES | Census of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1911
  19. Census of The Commonwealth Of Australia, 1911. PART XIV.-SUMMARY TABLES (Page: 2111) Religion.
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