Tongan Australians

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Tongan Australians
Total population
  • 25,096 (by ancestry, 2011)[1]
  • 10,560 (by birth, 2011).[2]
Regions with significant populations
Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne
English, Tongan
Related ethnic groups

Tongan Australians are Australians who are of ethnic Tongan descent or Tonga-born people.


According to the 2011 Australian census 10,560 Australians were born in Tonga, while 25,096 claimed Tongan ancestry.[2] In 2006, 18,426 claimed Tongan ancestry, either alone or with another ancestry.[1]


Tongans were historically subject to the White Australia policy. In 1948, Akanesi Carrick – a cousin of Queen Sālote – and her two children were deported from Australia because of their race, despite being married to a British subject, Stewart Carrick.[3] A Tongan man was deported from Australia in January 1975 because he had entered the country by "posing as a Maori". A decade later, another Tongan man sued the Australian Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs for racial discrimination, alleging the department was targeting Pacific Islanders in its administration of immigration law.[4]


Tongan migrants to Australia have tended to make their homes in the "arrival city" suburbs of Sydney's west. This pattern began in the 1970s, intensified in the 1980s, and continues today.[5] As of 2011, over 60% of Tongan-born Australians live in the state of New South Wales.[6]

The 2006 Australian census recorded that the majority of the Tongan Australians (4920 people) live in New South Wales, followed by Victoria (with 1190 people) and Queensland (1090).[7]

Despite there being relatively few Australians of Tongan descent, Tongan Australians have excelled in the football codes of Rugby league and Rugby Union as evidenced by the list of notable Tongan Australians which include:

Notable Tongan Australians[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "20680-Ancestry (full classification list) by Sex - Australia" (Microsoft Excel download). 2006 census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 23 January 2013. Total responses: 25,451,383 for total count of persons: 19,855,288.
  2. ^ a b "Migration, Australia, 2011-12 and 2012-13" (XLS). Australian Bureau of Statistics. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 16 May 2013. (table 9.1 of downloadable XL file: "Estimated resident population, Country of birth, State/territory, Age and sex - 30 June 2011")
  3. ^ "Wife from Tonga and children to go". Daily News. 9 April 1948.
  4. ^ Hamer, Paul (27 August 2015). "'Unsophisticated and unsuited'". National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  5. ^ "Pacific destiny on different shore". Sydney Morning Herald.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Community Information Summary - Tonga-born" (pdf download). 2006 census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 23 January 2013.