The Armenian community in Australia is estimated to be 50,000 people who primarily reside in Sydney and Melbourne. In both Sydney and Melbourne, communities have established a number of organisations that cater for the educational, cultural, sport and welfare needs of the community.
The first Armenians migrated to Australia from Asia in the 1850s, during the gold rush and later from their homeland due to political upheaval and other tragic events such as the 1896 massacres, the 1915 Armenian Genocide and the Second World War.
However, the majority came to Australia in the 1960s and 1970s, from the Middle-East starting with the Armenians of Egypt after Nasser came to power. Then, from Cyprus after the Turkish occupation of the island, later from Lebanon and Syria due to civil unrest and from Iran as a result of the country’s political upheaval.
In the early 1990s, a small number migrated to Australia to escape the hardships in Armenia caused by the combination of the collapse of Soviet Union, the devastating Armenian earthquake of 1988 and the Azerbaijani aggression in Nagorno Karabakh.
The Sydney Armenian community numbers at about 40,000 people and has cultural centres, three day schools, a weekly newspaper and churches. The Melbourne Armenian community, numbering upward of 10,00, has cultural centres, a Saturday language school and a church.
The Armenian-Australian community’s contribution to aspects of Australian life outweighs its size. The community takes pride in the significant contributions that have been recoreded in politics, business, academia, sports and culture.
Armenia-Australia Government Relations
Australia recognised The Republic Armenia on 26 December 1991 and person-to-person governmental links have been steadily increasing since the diplomatic relations were established on 15 January 1992.
In July 2000, the Armenian Minister for Sport and Culture Mr Roland Sharoyan visited Sydney during the 2000 Olympic Games. This was reciprocated in September 2003, when The Hon Mr Philip Ruddock MP visited Armenia in his former capacity as Australian Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.
More recently then-Armenian Foreign Minister, H.E. Mr Vartan Oskanian, visited Australia in October of 2005 and in November that same year, The Hon Mr Joe Hockey MP, Minister for Human Services, visited Armenia.