|Regions with significant populations|
|Sydney (72% of Lebanese-born Australian residents) and Melbourne|
|Australian English, Lebanese Arabic, Standard Arabic, French, Armenian|
|Majority: Christian: Maronite Catholic, Orthodox, Melkite Catholic, Protestant (55%), Minority: Islam: Shia Islam, Sunni Islam, Alawite (37%), Jewish and Druze (8%) No Religion, Atheism Agnosticism, Deist|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Lebanese British, Lebanese Americans, Lebanese Canadians|
|Part of a series of articles on|
Lebanese Australians refers to citizens or permanent residents of Australia of Lebanese ancestry. The population is diverse, having a large Christian religious base, being mostly Maronite Catholics and Greek Orthodox, while also having a large Muslim group of both the Shia and Sunni branches of Islam, which also includes a large Non Religious minority.
Lebanon, in both its modern-day form as the Lebanese state (declared in 1920, granted independence in 1943) and its historical form as the region of the Lebanon, has been a source of migrants to Australia for over two centuries. Some 203,139 Australians claim Lebanese ancestry, either alone or in combination with another ancestry. According to 2011 estimates, 76,459 Lebanese-born people in Australia, with 72% of all people with Lebanese ancestry living in Sydney,
In New South Wales, the Western Sydney suburbs of Bankstown, Lakemba, Auburn, Granville, Parramatta, Punchbowl, Greenacre, Merrylands, Liverpool, Arncliffe and Bexley. As in Victoria are the Northern Melbourne suburbs of Broadmeadows, Coburg, Brunswick, Fawkner and Altona.
As part of a large scale emigration in the 1870s, numerous Lebanese migrated in great numbers out of Lebanon to various destinations. Most emigrated to The United Kingdom, Brazil, Argentina and other Latin American nations, particularly Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador. Many also went to the United States, Canada, and others to Australia, primarily to the eastern states, and most to New South Wales in particular.
Thus, Australia's Lebanese population is one of the older established non-English speaking minorities in the country (though many Lebanese people now speak English, to a greater or lesser extent).
In the 1890s, there were increasing numbers of Lebanese immigrants to Australia, part of the mass emigration from the area of the Lebanon that would become the modern Lebanese state, and also from the Anti-Lebanon mountains region of what would become Syria.
Under the White Australia policy of the nineteenth century (and with Lebanon being located in the Middle East, geographically known as South West Asia) Lebanese migrants were classified as Asians and came within the scope of the White Australia policy which intentionally restricted non-white immigration to Australia. Lebanese migrants, like others deemed non-white by Australian law, were excluded from citizenship, the right to vote and employment, and were treated as enemy aliens during World War I and World War II. In 1897 Lebanese store keepers and businesses were accused of fraud by state border Customs officers during Queensland customs prosecution cases.
Prior to 1918, Lebanese immigrants to Australia were not habitually distinguished from Turks because the area of modern Lebanon was a province of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. Administration then passed to the French Mandate for several decades, which ruled it together with what would become Syria, its neighbour. Hence, for that period, the Lebanese were not distinguished from Syrians.
By 1947, there were 2000 Lebanese-born in Australia, almost all Christian. The Lebanese born population numbered 5000 in 1971. Following the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975-1990, This wave of migrants were often poor and for the first time, over half of them were Muslim. This influx of new migrants changed the character of the established Lebanese community in Australia significantly, especially in Sydney where 70% of the Lebanese-born population were concentrated.
Christian Maronite and Orthodox Lebanese Christians that settled in Australia over the last two centuries were able to gain some influence within Australian politics. In late 1975, unrest in Lebanon caused a group of influential Maronite Australians to approach Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and his immigration minister, Michael MacKellar regarding the resettling of Lebanese civilians with their Australian relatives. Immediate access to Australia could not be granted under normal immigration categories, thus the Lebanese people were categorised as refugees. This was not in the traditional sense as the Lebanese people were not fleeing from persecution but escaping from internal conflict between Muslim and Christian groups. This action was known as the "Lebanon Concession".
Between 1975-1990, more than 30,000 civil war refugees arrived in Australia. Most immigrants were Muslim Lebanese from deprived rural areas who learned of Australia's Lebanon Concession and decided to seek a better life. They were Sunnis from northern Lebanon and Shias from southern Lebanon as Christian and Muslim Lebanese were unwilling to leave the capital city, Beirut. Immigrants of the Lebanese Concession primarily settled in south-west Sydney; Sunnis in Lakemba and Shias in Arncliffe.
Lebanese in Sydney have followed a distinctive occupational pattern characterised by high levels of self-employment, particularly in petty commercial activities such as hawking and shopkeeping. In 1901, '80 per cent of Lebanese in NSW were concentrated in commercial occupations' – in 1947, little had changed, as 60 per cent of Lebanese were 'either employers or self-employed'. Even in the 1991 census, Lebanese men and women were 'noticeably over-represented as self-employed'.  The Lebanese in Melbourne have opened restaurants and groceries and Middle Eastern shops and Lebanese bars on Sydney Road which is sometimes called "Little Lebanon".
Following the trials for a series of gang rape attacks in Sydney in 2000 by a group of Lebanese Muslims, the Lebanese Muslim Australian community came under significant scrutiny by the media in addition to a more general anti-Muslim backlash after the September 11 attacks in 2001. Community concern and divisiveness continued in the wake of the 2005 Cronulla riots in Sydney. In 2014, a series of documentaries on Lebanese Australians was presented by SBS under the title Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl.
In November 2016, Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton said that it was a mistake of a previous Liberal administration to have brought out Lebanese Muslim immigrants. Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop said Mr Dutton was making a specific point about those charged with terrorism offences. "He made it quite clear that he respects and appreciates the contribution that the Lebanese community make in Australia".
Key events and organisations
There are now many Lebanese-Australian business groups, businesses and events aimed primarily at engaging the large Lebanese community in Australia and strengthening ties between Australia and Lebanon.
The peak business body is the Australian Lebanese Chamber of Commerce, with associations in both Sydney and Melbourne.
Most Lebanese people today live outside Lebanon and the prolonged emigration of Lebanese Christians due to religious persecution for the last two centuries (leading to their depletion in Lebanon itself), today, an estimated 54% of Lebanese in Lebanon are Muslim (having become the majority in the last three decades). Of the Lebanese outside Lebanon, known also as the Lebanese diaspora which numbers from 8 to possibly 14 million, the vast majority are Christian (between 70%-80%).
Lebanese Australians have a moderate rate of return migration to Lebanon. In December 2001, the Department of Foreign Affairs estimated that there were 30,000 Australian citizen residents in Lebanon.
Notable Lebanese Australians
|Name||Born – Died||Notable for||Connection with Australia||Connection with Lebanon|
|Faddy Zouky||1968||The Honorary Lebanese Consul General to Tasmania, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Executive Director of Zouki Group and President of ALCCI||migrated to Australia||born in Lebanon|
|Houssam Abiad||1976||Entrepreneur and Deputy Lord Mayor City of Adelaide||born in Australia||parents born Lebanon|
|Matthew Abood||1986||freestyle swimmer||Born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Alexander Alam||1896–1983||member of the New South Wales Legislative Council||born in Australia||parents born Lebanon|
|Kim Antonios Hayes||1958||Actor, Vocalist||Born in Australia||Lebanese Descent|
|Zita Antonios||1955||Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner||Born in Australia||Lebanese Descent|
|Sheik Ali||1927||Heavyweight champion wrestler||migrated to Australia in 1951||Born in Sebhel, Lebanon.|
|Joseph Assaf||1945||Multicultural Businessman||has Australian Citizenship||born in Lebanon|
|Mireille Astore||1961||Artist and writer||emigrated to Australia||born in Lebanon|
|George Ayoub||1963||Test match rugby referee, member of the Super Rugby panel for Television Match Officials||Born in Sydney, Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Alex Chidiac||1999||Professional women's soccer player for Melbourne City and the Matilda's||Born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|David Basheer||1966||Sports Presenter and Commentator||born Australia||Mother born in Lebanon|
|Max Basheer||1927||Former administrator with the South Australian National Football League||born in Australia||parents born Lebanon|
|David Bayssari||1970||Former Balmain Tigers NRL Player & Lebanon Rugby League Head Coach||Born in Australia||Parents born in Lebanon|
|Marie Bashir||1930||Governor of New South Wales||born in Australia||parents born in Lebanon|
|Steve Bracks||1954||Former Premier of Victoria||born in Australia||paternal grandfather born in Lebanon|
|Michael Cheika||1967||Head coach of the Wallabies and the New South Wales Waratahs||born in Australia||Parents born in Lebanon|
|Samier Dandan||President of Lebanese Muslim Association||born in Australia||of Lebanese descent|
|Firass Dirani||1984||Actor||born in Australia||of Lebanese descent|
|Sam Doumany||1937||Former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice in Queensland|
|Khalil Eideh||1954||CEO of Bluestar Logistics and member of the Victorian Legislative Council||born in Lebanon (Tripoli)|
|Hazem El Masri||1976||Canterbury Bulldogs Rugby league player||migrated to Australia as child||born Lebanon|
|Nazih Elasmar||1954||member of the Victorian Legislative Council||migrated to Australia||born Lebanon|
|Benny Elias||1963||Former National Rugby League player||migrated to Australia as a child||born Lebanon|
|Joe Reaiche||1958||Former National Rugby League Sydney Roosters player||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Ahmad Elrich||1981||International soccer player||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Tarek Elrich||1987||Newcastle United Jets soccer player||born Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Ahmed Fahour||1966||Banker, former CEO of Citibank, former CEO of NAB's operations, and current CEO of Australia Post||Born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Robbie Farah||1984||South Sydney Rabbitohs Rugby league player||born in Australia||father emigrated from Lebanon c. 1960|
|Buddy Farah||1978||FIFA agent - Ex soccer player||born in Australia||of Lebanese descent|
|Faydee||1987||Pop / R&B singer, songwriter||born in Australia||of Lebanese descent|
|Joe Hachem||1966||2005 World Series of Poker champion||migrated to Australia as child||born in Lebanon|
|Milham "Mil" Hanna||1966||former Australian rules footballer with Carlton||grew up in Australia||born Lebanon|
|Joe Hasham||1948||actor||emigrated to Australia as infant||born in Lebanon|
|Bachar Houli||1988||Australian Rules Football player||born in Australia||parents born in Lebanon|
|Sabrina Houssami||1986||2006 Australian representative at Miss World||born in Australia||Lebanese father|
|Tamara Jaber||1982||Singer||born in Australia||Lebanese father|
|Jessica Kahawaty||1988||Beauty pageant contestant who came third in Miss World 2012 when representing Australia||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Bob Katter, Sr.||1918–1990||member for Federal Division of Kennedy 1966-1990||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Bob Katter||1945||member for Federal Division of Kennedy 1993||born Australia||Lebanese descent, son of Katter, Sr.|
|Safwan Khalil||1986||Olympic champion in taekwando||emigrated to Australia as an infant||Parents from Lebanon|
|Paul Khoury||1993||TV personality and voice talent||Born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Tim Mannah||1988||Parramatta Eels Rugby league player||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Josh Mansour||1990||Penrith Panthers Rugby league player||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|David Malouf||1934||writer||born in Australia||father Lebanese|
|Daryl Melham||1954||member of the Australian House of Representatives||born in Australia||father migrated from Lebanon|
|Cesar Melhem||1965||Victorian state secretary of Australian Workers' Union||migrated to Australia||born in Lebanon|
|Andrew Nabbout||1998||soccer player for Melbourne Victory||Grandparents from Lebanon & offered a spot in the Lebanon national football team|
|Fehmi Naji||1928||Grand Mufti of Australia||born in Lebanon|
|Paul Nakad||1975||actor and hip hop artist||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Brendan Nasser||1964||Test Match rugby player, member of the winning Australian squad at the 1991 Rugby World Cup||Born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Jacques Nasser||1947||Former CEO of Ford Motors||raised in Australia||born Lebanon|
|Eddie Obeid||1943||Corrupt former Member of the NSW Legislative Council, former Minister for Fisheries and Mineral Resources||working in Australia||born Matrit (also spelt Metrit) Bsharri District|
|Barbara Perry, née Abood||1964||NSW parliamentarian||born in Australia||parents born Lebanon|
|Roger Rasheed||1969||international tennis coach and former player||born in Australia||father migrated from Lebanon|
|Daniella Rahme||1990||TV host, actress and model||Born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Michael Reda||1972||International soccer player||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Travis Robinson||1987||International rugby league footballer||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Reece Robinson||1987||International rugby league footballer||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Joseph Saba||1940||Fashion designer||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Natalie Saleeba||1978||Television actress||Born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Sir Nicholas Shehadie||1926||Lord Mayor of Sydney (1973–1975) and member of Australian Rugby Union Hall of Fame||born in Australia||of Lebanese descent|
|John Symond||1947||Founder and Managing Director of Aussie Group||born in Australia||parents born Lebanon|
|Keysar Trad||1967||Muslim community spokesman||migrated to Australia||born in Lebanon|
|Salim Wardeh||1968||Minister of Culture in Lebanon||has Australian citizenship|
|Petra Yared||1979||Australian television actor||born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
|Doris Younane||1963||Actress||born in Australia||Parents born Lebanon|
|Susie Youssef||1984||Comedian, Writer, Actor||Born in Australia||Lebanese descent|
- List of Lebanese people in Australia
- Arab Australians
- Assyrian Australians
- Egyptian Australians
- Syrian Australians
- Jewish Australians
- Maltese Australians
- "The People of Australia – Statistics from the 2016 Census" (PDF). Australian Government.
- "3416.0 - Perspectives on Migrants, 2007: Birthplace and Religion". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 25 February 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- "El Australie - a history of Lebanese migration to Australia". Hindsight - ABC Radio National. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 3 February 2008. Archived from the original on 10 January 2019.
- "History of immigration from Lebanon". Origins:Immigrant Communities in Victoria. Museum of Victoria. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- Monsour, Anne (2005). "Chapter 10. Religion Matters: The experience of Syrian/Lebanese Christians in Australia from the 1880s to 1947". Humanities Research Journal (online version). Australian National University E Press. XII (1, 2005: Bigotry and Religion in Australia, 1865–1950). ISSN 1834-8491. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- This was a common enough practice in Australian immigration information — for example, the UK and Ireland were not statistically separated until as late as 1996).
- Humphrey, Michael (2004). "Lebanese identities: between cities, nations and trans-nations". Arab Studies Quarterly. Association of Arab-American University Graduates (Winter): 8. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- "Little Lebanon in Melbourne". reviewstream.com. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- "... For Being Lebanese". Four Corners (TV program). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 16 September 2002. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- jackson, Liz (13 March 2006). "Riot and Revenge (Program transcript)". Four Corners (TV program). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2 January 2010. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl at SBS On Demand, 3 July 2014. Retrieved 7 July 2014
- Davidson, Helen (18 November 2016). "Australia is paying for Malcolm Fraser's immigration mistakes, says Peter Dutton". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
- Peters, Daniel (23 November 2016). "'Spot on': Lebanese MP agrees with Peter Dutton that most terror suspects are Lebanese-Muslims - as it's revealed he 'smashed' colleagues who disagreed". Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
- "Julie Bishop defends Peter Dutton's comments on Lebanese immigration". Nine.com.au. 23 November 2016. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
- Lebanese Film Festival: www.lebanesefilmfestival.com.au
- Bassil promises to ease citizenship for expatriates
- "Country Profile: Lebanon". FCO. 3 April 2007. Archived from the original on 6 February 2008.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
- "Australian Communities: Lebanese Australians". racismnoway.com.au. 19 January 2006. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- "Estimates of Australian Citizens Living Overseas as at December 2001" (PDF). Southern Cross Group (DFAT data). 14 February 2001. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- "Govt to foot Lebanon evacuation bill". ABC News. 22 July 2006. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- Kazzi, Antoine. Brilliant Faces. Sydney: El-Telegraph, 2009. (ISBN 9780646519135) page 83. This project that describes the achievements of 300 notable Arab Australians was funded by the Australian Government.
- McWhirter, Erin (6 February 2010). "Underbelly's Firass Dirani - the day I met John Ibrahim, the King of the Cross". heraldsun.com.au. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
- "Anthony Alexander Alam - Political Leader". Australian Lebanese Historical Society. 2002. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2008.
- "Tamara Jaber Biography". Take 40. 2008. Archived from the original on 3 August 2008. Retrieved 20 July 2008.
- Australian Lebanese Historical Society
- Lebanese-Australian Embassy
- United Australian Lebanese movement
- World Lebanese Cultural Union (WLCU) Geographic-Regional Council (GRC) for Australia and New Zealand
- Anne Monsour and Paul Convy - Australian Lebanese Historical Society (2008). "Lebanese". Dictionary of Sydney. Retrieved 4 October 2015. (History of Lebanese in Sydney)