Brief history of Ethiopians in Australia



Second generation Ethiopian-Australian Fasika Ayallew takes part in the reality television singing competition The Voice Australia.


An unprecedented funeral event is held for the late Archpriest Mezemir Birru following his death after serving the Holy Saviour Ethiopian Orthodox Church for 16 years.


Ethiopian born 14-year-old TJ Krause appears on the Australian reality TV show Australia’s Got Talent playing drums and dancing.


A company by the name of Teff Australia is established aiming to grow the ancient Ethiopian grain known as Teff in order to provide the grain for local consumption. In 2017, a Goulburn Valley farmer James Rovers was reported to have harvested the biggest crop of Teff ever grown in Australia as demand for the grain skyrocketed along with the new health craze for plant based super-foods.


Second generation Ethiopian-Australian Soli Tesema takes part in the reality television singing competition The Voice Australia. Watch the video below.


 An Ethiopian jazz band by the name of The JAzmaris is established introducing Ethiopian music to Australians and performing on stages across the country including in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. The band has immensely talented Ethiopian saxophone, keyboard, guitar and drum players among its members who have performed alongside Aster Aweke, Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, Bitshat Seyoum, Tesegaye Ecshetu and many more on stages in Australia.


 Australia’s National Broadcaster, the ABC, aires a news story about a 16-year-old Ethiopian born refugee who built his own aircraft in the family garage using scrap metal. The news story said Solomon Tesfaye had dreams to design, build and fly his own aeroplanes. Watch the video below.


Athlete Haile Gebrselassie takes part in the inaugural Great Australian Run. The Ethiopian athletics legend won the race held in Melbourne in a time of 42 min 40 sec. Haile was given a very worm welcome by hundreds of Ethiopians living in Australia.


In recognising the growth of Ethiopians in Australia, SBS Radio (Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service), starts broadcasting in Amharic as part of its broadcast family of 74 languages.


Ethiopian-born Contortionist Sosina Wogayehu becomes the first graduate of the National Institute of Circus Arts and was offered a permanent position with Circus Oz — Australia's premier contemporary circus company. Sosina started working for Circus Oz in 2002 and continued to work for them for the subsequent 7 years. In 2004, she was nominated for Young Australian of the Year award and she was one of the finalists from the state of Victoria.


Thousands of Ethiopians living in Australia welcome Ethiopian athletes that came to take part in the 2000 Summer Olympics held in Sydney. A large and lively contingent of local Ethiopians adorned the Sydney Homebush Stadium cheering the Ethiopian athletes on. With 4 gold, 1 silver and 3 bronze medals, the athletes finished the Games ranking 20th in the world.


The number of Ethiopians in Australia grows steadily with Victoria becoming home to the largest population of Ethiopians in the country. In the first few years of this decade, various community associations were created including an Ethiopian Orthodox Church and a community organisation. The first Ethiopian restaurant in Melbourne also opened its doors in 1996.


The first known Ethiopians in Australia start coming to the country for the purposes of attaining higher education – with the earliest migrants arriving during the 1970s. And in May 1968, ‪Emperor Haileselassie‬ embarked on an official visit to various states of Australia including ‪‎Canberra and Victoria‬. The video below shows the Emperor’s visit to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on 14 May 1968.


A small group of Ethiopian athletes comes to Melbourne to participate in the cycling event of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. The team led by athlete Geremew Denboba arrived in Melbourne after an exhausting 7-day flight from Addis Ababa, and it was the first time ever that Ethiopia participated in the Olympics.