Geographic Origins

The Federative Republic of Brazil is the largest nation in South America. It is bordered to the east by the South Atlantic Ocean and to the north-west and south-west by French Guiana, Surinam, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay.

History of Immigration and Settlement

During the nineteenth century, some Brazilians arrived in Australia aboard English ships which docked at Rio de Janeiro on the way to Australia. However, in 1901 only 105 Brazil-born people resided in Australia.

Brazilians began arriving in Australia in the late 1960s and early 1970s. They have mainly migrated for family and personal reasons. A number have come under family migration schemes, while others have come to fill Australian labour shortages. When Brazil’s government abandoned its constitution between 1964 and 1985 a few Brazilians came to Australia under refugee and humanitarian programs.

A larger scale Brazilian migration occured from Latin America under the Australian Government's assisted migration program during late 1960 and the early 1970s.

significant numbers of Brazilians migrated to Australia in the 1980s under the Humanitarian Program. This resulted from the military dictatorship in Brazil. 

From the early 2000s migration from Brazil has increased and its composition has changed. The first immigrants were from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Most new arrivals are now well-educated, from middle to higher socio-economic backgrounds.

A number of immigrants are also students, who come to learn English in a country with a climate similar to their own.


The 1986 census recorded 63 Brazilian-born South Australians. Fifty-five South Australians said they were of Brazilian descent. This disparity may be attributed to Brazil’s diverse population. Sixty per cent of Brazilians are of German, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish descent.

According to the 1991 census there were 116 Brazilian-born South Australians. 174 people said that their mothers were born in Brazil, and 176 that their fathers were.

The 1996 census recorded 114 Brazilian-born South Australians.

The 2001 census recorded 129 Brazilian-born South Australians, while 117 people said that they were of Brazilian descent.

The 2006 census recorded 211 Brazilian-born South Australians, while 225 people said that they were of Brazilian descent.

The 2011 census recorded 473 Brazilian-born South Australians, while 419 people said that they were of Brazilian descent.

The 2016 census recorded 870 Brazilian-born South Australians, while 704 people said that they were of Brazilian descent.

By Migration Museum

This article is part of the From Many Places project documenting the diverse cultural groups in South Australia. It is a project started by the Migration Museum in 1992 and continued in partnership today. 

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Courtesy of/Photographer:Bit Scribbly Design

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