Almost 12,000 Australians have Estonian ancestry

According to the 2021 Australian census, 11,598 Australians identified as having Estonian ancestry – this is a 21% increase compared with the previous census held in 2016.

All Australia’s states and territories increased their Estonian-Australian population, apart from Northern Territory, which had a slight decrease of six per cent.

The biggest percentage increase came from Western Australia with 34%, and the biggest actual increase was in New South Wales with an additional 685 people (19%).

One of the largest expat Estonian communities

Australia hosts the fifth largest Estonian community in the world. Among the Estonians currently living in Australia, the Sydney community is the liveliest one.

Estonian folk dancers, a group called Virmalised, in Sydney, Australia.

The first Estonians settled in Australia in 1853, and the first Estonian society was established in Melbourne in 1914. During the Second World War, Australia became one of the most important destinations for Estonians looking abroad for safety.

In the autumn of 1944, just before the second Soviet occupation, approximately 70,000 Estonians fled the country – first to Germany and Sweden, and subsequently to the US, Canada, the UK and Australia. Around 7,000 Estonians ended up “Down Under”. Estonian houses were set up in Sydney, Thirlmere, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Sydney Estonian House.

The Estonian community in Australia is now one of the largest abroad – along with those in Finland, Sweden, Canada, the US and the UK.

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