SOUTH AUSTRALIA WAS ON THE WAY TO BEING MULTICULTURAL FROM ITS START as a colony in a multi-tribal and thus multicultural Aboriginal land.
Germans were among the first settlers to come out with the South Australian Company ships in 1836 and most of them settled at Kingscote on Kangaroo Island. The German influence would grow with the arrival of the Lutheran refugees in 1838 with Pastor August Kavel, sponsored by the South Australian Company chairman George Fife Angas.
Angas represents the strong Scottish influence on the colony in commerce and politics. Thomas Elder and Robert Barr Smith are prominent examples, who made their initial wealth wealth from the 1840s copper boom that attracted Cornish miners. In opening the outback for their huge pastoral properties, Elder and Smith relied on “the Afghans” who were actually came from a cultural mix on the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East.
One of the most influential groups – despite their small number – was the Jewish community. One premier and eight mayors/lord mayors of the City of Adelaide have been Jewish.
The Irish influence only gradually ascended. Its main early impact was the arrival of 606 Irish orphan girls between 1848 and 1850 under Earl Grey’s pauper immigration scheme.
European immigration in the 20th Century would have profound effect on South Australian lifestyle, especially from the Greeks and Italians in regard to food. This has to be filtered down to specific areas such as the island of Ikaria to properly define, for instance, aspects of the Greek influence. Port Pirie attracted a large section of its population from Italy – specifically from the southern Puglian city of Molfetta.
Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai later influences took their turn to impact South Australian eating.
South Australia is now home to people from more than 200 countries, and about 230,000 South Australians speak languages other than English at home.