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A brief history of Spanish influence in Australia


The links between Australia and Spain are actually stronger than you may think.

While approximately 15,000km and 24 hours flying time may separate our two nations, the links between Australia and Spain are actually stronger than you may think

La Española Olive Oil is so proud to have a firm presence on Australian Coles supermarkets shelves, so we thought there was no better time to dedicating an entire blog to the bond between Spain and Australia, where it all began and how far it’s come!

The beginning of Spanish immigration into Australia

Slow Spanish migration into Australia actually began during the 1850’s, and the first Spanish restaurant actually opened in Melbourne in 1860! That’s over 150 years of Mediterranean culinary influence!

After the end of the Second World War in 1945, Australia was one of few countries that opened its doors to immigrants from all over, who were looking to make a fresh start in the “lucky country”. 

The reasons were varied. Australia had a very small population in comparison to other established countries and was suffering serious labour shortages, and the idea from the government in power at the time was “populate or perish”. So, an extensive immigration program was announced. People from all over, in particular Europe, fled their war-torn surrounds and made the long boat trip to Australia - and in a short amount of time Australia’s population literally doubled. 

In spite of this, by 1947 the Spanish-born migrants living in the state of Victoria only numbered 252, with most immigrants hailing from Eastern Europe. 

The Spanish boom begins

Even though numbers of Spaniards living in Australia remained low in the years following World War II, there was a huge increase in the 1950’s and 1960’s

This increase was mutually-beneficial. Spanish immigrants worked hard to establish themselves in their communities and Australian industry flourished. 

As a result, in less than 100 years, Australia has become one of the most multi-cultural countries in the world that is a melting pot of different cultures and ways of life - and Spanish influence is a firm fixture. 

Spanish food and produce is big business in Australia nowadays, and whether you live in a metropolitan or regional area, the odds are you have some wonderful Spanish food at your fingertips - olive oil included!

Not only did Spaniards benefit from a new start in Australia, but Australia has continued to benefit from Spanish influence in their communities. It’s safe to say, we have a bond distance cannot break.