Australians, colloquially referred to as "Aussies", are the citizens, nationals and individuals associated with the country of Australia. This connection may be residential, legal, historical or cultural. For most Australians, several (or all) of these connections exist and are collectively the source of their being Australian. Australian law does not provide for a racial or ethnic component of nationality, instead relying on citizenship as a legal status.
|Regions with significant populations|
|Papua New Guinea||10,000|
|Australian English · Australian Aboriginal languages · Other minority languages|
|52% Christian (Catholicism, Anglicanism and other denominations)|
8% Various non-Christian religions
|Related ethnic groups|
|New Zealanders, Aboriginal Australians|
Between 1788 and the Second World War, the vast majority of settlers and immigrants came from the British Isles (principally England, Ireland and Scotland), although there was significant immigration from China and Germany during the 19th century. Many early British settlements were penal colonies to house transported convicts. Immigration of "free settlers" increased exponentially from the 1850s, following a series of gold rushes. In the decades immediately following the Second World War, Australia received a large wave of immigration from across Europe, with many more immigrants arriving from Southern and Eastern Europe than in previous decades.
Since the end of the White Australia policy in 1973, Australia has pursued an official policy of multiculturalism and has the world's eighth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 30 percent of the population in 2019. A large and continuing wave of immigration to Australia from across the world has continued into the 21st century, with Asia now being the largest source of immigrants. A smaller proportion are descended from Australia's indigenous peoples, comprising Aboriginal Australians, Aboriginal Tasmanians and Torres Strait Islanders.
The development of a separate Australian identity and national character began in the 19th century, linked with the anti-transportation and nativist movements and the Eureka Rebellion during the colonial period and culminated in the federation of the Australian colonies in 1901. The primary language is Australian English. While strongly influenced by Anglo-Celtic origins, the culture of Australia has also been shaped by multi-ethnic migration that has influenced all aspects of Australian life, including business, arts, cuisine, sense of humour and sporting tastes.