History of immigration from Brazil

     Select a language:
Map of Brazil
Map date: 2013
As early as 1871, the Victorian census recorded 45 Brazilians in Victoria. In the 19th century Brazil-born numbers peaked at 52 in 1891. In the early 20th century there was a steady decline in immigration from Brazil, reaching an all-time low of only 22 Brazil-born Victorians in 1933.

The population remained fairly stable until 1947 when Brazil was excluded as a category in the Victorian census until the 1970s when migration from Latin America began on a large scale. Due to this gap it is difficult to gauge the significance of the figure of 212 Brazil-born in 1971. The Commonwealth refugee and humanitarian programs in the 1980s saw this number rise to 550 in 1991 but most Brazil-born Victorians have migrated for family and personal reasons. Migrants from Brazil are allowed dual citizenship so they retain strong ties to their homeland. Growth continued to the end of the 20th century due to the growing economic relationship between Australia and Brazil.

Today there are 2,015 Brazil-born Victorians, a further tripling of the population since 1991. Over 60% are Christian, mainly Catholic. More than half of those employed are engaged in managerial and professional roles, and more than 18% are employed in the intermediate clerical, sales and service industries. Portuguese is spoken at home by 73%, whilst 13% speak English. Significant numbers have settled in the local government areas of Port Phillip, Melbourne, Boroondara and Glen Eira. The main celebration each year is the Carnaval festival held four days before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The community is supported by a number of sporting and social clubs such as ABRISA, which amongst other activities, helps promote Brazilian cultural values, by stimulating community integration through social events.

© Museum Victoria Australia