Welsh Australians

Welsh Australians are citizens of Australia whose ancestry originates in Wales.

Welsh Australians
Awstraliaid Cymreig
Total population
  • 113,242–683,700 (by ancestry)[1]
  • 25,317 (by birth, 2006)[2]
English, Welsh
Christianity (mostly Anglicanism and Presbyterianism)
Related ethnic groups
Welsh, Scottish Australians, Irish Australians, English Australians, Welsh New Zealanders, Welsh Argentines, Welsh Americans, Welsh Canadians

Number of Welsh Australians

According to the 2006 Australian census 25,317 Australian residents were born in Wales,[2] while 113,242 (0.44%) claimed Welsh ancestry, either alone or with another ancestry.[1]

The name Jones, which is often considered distinctively Welsh, is one of most-common surnames in Australia, accounting for over 1% of Australians, which suggests a higher rate of Welsh ancestry than indicated by self-identification.

A 1996 study gives the total ethnic strength of Welsh Australians as 243,400. This is made up by 44,100 of un-mixed origin and 683,700 of mixed origin.[3] This would make the Welsh the fifth largest Anglo-Celtic group in Australia after the English, Irish, Scottish and Cornish.

Welsh emigration to Australia

It is believed that the eastern coast of Australia reminded Captain James Cook of the coast of South Wales (especially the Vale of Glamorgan coast, which he knew), hence the name he gave to it, "New South Wales". The first European colony in Australia was in New South Wales, beginning with the First Fleet of 1788. Welsh people numbered amongst these first settlers, and continued to arrive in the new colony through the British policy of penal transportation that was implemented for many criminal acts.

Mass emigration from Wales to Australia began in the nineteenth century with New South Wales and Victoria being popular destinations. Nineteenth-century Welsh settlers were mostly farmers, followed later by gold diggers and coal miners.

A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, and the Eureka Stockade rebellion in 1854 was an early expression of nationalist sentiment. Amongst its leaders was the Welsh-born Chartist John Basson Humffray, one of a significant group of immigrants that came over from Wales at this time.

List of notable Welsh Australians

Name Born-Died Notable for Connection with Australia Connection with Wales
Tony Abbott1957former prime ministerhas lived in Australia since he was three years oldborn in England and maternal grandmother was Welsh
James Atkin, Baron Atkin of Aberdovey (also known as Lord Atkin)18671944lawyer and judgeborn in Australiagrew up in Wales from age 4; always thought of himself as Welsh
John Beard1943artistlives in Australiaborn in Wales
Edgeworth David18581934geologist and explorer (discovered the Hunter Valley coalfield)spent most of his life in Australiaborn in Wales
Stella Donnelly1992MusicianMoved to Australia at age tenborn in Wales
Hughie Edwards19141982senior officer in the RAF, former governor of Western Australia, recipient of Victoria Cross, most highly decorated serviceman of WW2Born in AustraliaWelsh parents
Julia Gillard1961Former prime ministerMigrated to Australia at age fiveborn in Wales
Samuel Griffith18451920former premier of Queensland, chief justice of the High Court; principal author of the Constitution of Australiamigrated to Australia in 1853born in Wales
Rolf Harris1930artist, entertainer and convicted child sex offenderborn in Australia, lived in the United Kingdom since 1953Welsh parents
Billy Hughes18621952former prime ministermigrated to Australia 1884Welsh parents
Jean Jenkins1938former senatormigrated to Australia 1969Welsh parents and upbringing
Joseph Jenkins18181898diarist, poet and swagmanresident in Australia 1869-1894born in Wales
Andrew Johns1974Rugby League footballerborn in Australia, represented New South Wales and AustraliaWelsh grandfather
David Jones (merchant)17931873retailer and businessmanset up his business in Australiaborn in Wales
T. Harri Jones19211965poet and lecturermigrated to Australiaborn in Wales
John McCarthy1967Australian rules footballermigrated to Australiaborn in Wales
Dannii Minogue1971singer and entertainerborn in Australiamother born in Wales
Kylie Minogue1968singer and actressborn in Australiamother born in Wales
Alf Morgans18501933former premier of Western Australiamoved to Australia in 1896born in Wales
Thomas Price (South Australian politician)18521909former premier of South Australiamoved to Australia in 1883born in Wales
Naomi Watts1968actressmoved to Australia when she was 15lived in Wales between the ages of seven and 14; mother's parents Welsh
Rhys Williams1988professional soccer playerborn in and grew up in Australia; member of the Socceroos in 20092010Welsh grandparents on his father's side; played for the Welsh under-21 team[4][5]

See also


  1. "20680-Ancestry (full classification list) by Sex - Australia". 2006 census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original (Microsoft Excel download) on March 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-19.
  2. "20680-Country of Birth of Person (full classification list) by Sex - Australia" (Microsoft Excel download). 2006 census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
  3. James Jupp (1 October 2001). The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins. Cambridge University Press. p. 227. ISBN 978-0-521-80789-0.
  4. "Rhys Williams opts to play for Australia instead of Wales". Herald Sun. 2009-05-12. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  5. "Introducing Rhys Williams". Middlesbrough F.C. Archived from the original on 2007-09-20. Retrieved 2009-05-31.

Further reading

  • Lloyd, Lewis. (1988) Australians from Wales Caernarfon: Gwynedd Archives. ISBN 0-901337-47-1
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