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General History

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History > General History

submitted by Greek Australian History on 21.09.2014

Greek Language and Culture in Australia

ANASTASIOS TAMIS

The Greek emigration and settlement circle in Oceania comprised four important stages: the stage of exodus of approximately 300,000 Hellenes from their ancestral residences (1829-1974), the painful and agonizing stage of settlement in Australia and New Zealand during the PIE- and post-WWII period, the stage of their socio economic and cultural interaction during the years 1975-1995, and the stage of consolidation and citizenship that followed.' During this period, Greek and Cypriot settlers arriving as migrants to Australia, were progressively transformed into citizens enhancing their social presence, consolidating their economic and cultural contribution, and overcoming the post War restrictive immigration policies and attitudes.

Usage of Greek in Australia commenced as early as 1850 and was defined by the immigration and settlement of Greek migrants from Greece and Cyprus, as well other regions of the historic diaspora, including, Asia Minor, Romania, Egypt and Middle Eastern countries.

By the turn of the nineteenth century Greek settlers had already established in the major cities and Australian institutions for the preservation of their ethnolinguistic identity, namely Greek Orthodox churches, communities, and schools of language and religious instruction, thereby facilitating networks for language loyalty for the pre- and post-War waves of Greek immigrants arriving in large numbers until 1974.

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