Geographic Origins

The Republic of Peru is on the west coast of South America, on the South Pacific Ocean. It is bordered by Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia and Chile.

History of Immigration and Settlement

In the late 1960s and early 1970s the Australian government actively recruited single Peruvians through that country’s newspapers, and offered assisted immigration to suitable applicants. Some had economic or personal reasons for wishing to leave Peru, while others came to Australia as refugees. In the late 1960s Peru began to have financial problems, which many blamed on the increasing political and business interests of the United States of America. In 1968 military leaders seized government and formed a junta. By the mid-1970s there was growing dissatisfaction in Peru because members of the armed forces filled all major political positions, leaving civilians with little voice in the government.

Political and economic problems continued in Peru throughout the 1980s.  In 1980 a civilian government was elected in Peru, but it was slow to act on the country’s economic ills. Since then, political unrest and uncertainty have been enhanced by fighting between the government and Shining Path, a leftist guerrilla group that has sought control of the country. Despite attempts to alleviate Peru’s economic distress by reducing payments on its foreign debt in the late 1980s, its financial problems have continued. Inflation, widespread poverty and unemployment have caused discontent and prompted emigration.

There has been regular migration from Peru to Australia since 1986.  Since 2005, migration has numbered a few hundred each year.

For details about Peruvian community activities and organisations, consult the Latin American entry.


The 1986 census recorded that there were 57 Peruvian-born South Australians.

According to the 1991 census there were 77 Peruvian-born South Australians. Eighty-nine people said their mothers were born in Peru, and 75 that their fathers were.

According to the 1996 census there were 103 Peruvian-born South Australians, this represented 2.2 per cent of the national distribution of 4889 persons.

The 2001 census recorded 124 Peruvian-born South Australians, while 113 people said that they were of Peruvian descent.

The 2006 census recorded 175 Peruvian-born South Australians, while 189 people said that they were of Peruvian descent.

The 2011 census recorded 290 Peruvian-born South Australians, while 268 people said that they were of Peruvian descent.

The 2016 census recorded 335 Peruvian-born South Australians, while 373 people said that they were of Peruvian 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

Migration Museum

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