Fact sheets

Australian Communities: Vietnamese Australians

Refugees from the war in Vietnam were the first large group of Asian immigrants to settle in Australia after the end of the White Australia policy in 1973. Because of their plight they were initially sympathetically received by the Anglo-European Australians. As their numbers increased this turned to apprehension which in time became acceptance.

The greatest proportion of Vietnamese Australians live in Sydney with strong vibrant communities in Sydney’s west and south west although many second generation now live throughout greater Sydney. The social mix of the refugees included people from all professions and walks of life in Vietnam which is reflected in today’s Vietnamese Australian communities.

Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is a narrow S-shaped country extending 1,650 kilometres along a north–south axis bounded by China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, and the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea to the east and south.

Vietnam’s climate is tropical in the south, monsoonal in the north with a hot, rainy season from May to September and a warm, dry season from October to March. The terrain is diverse with low, flat deltas in the south and north, central highlands, and mountains in the far north and northwest. Vietnam is densely populated with over 92 million people in an area less than half the size of New South Wales.