Children from the Ethiopian community.
Image: Rodney Start
Source: Museum Victoria
Question: What is the Horn of Africa?
Answer: The Horn of Africa is a common name for the large peninsula at the eastern edge of the African continent and the group of countries found there – Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djubati. The Horn is home to around 100 million people who speak a wide range of languages and practise several different faiths.
At the time of the 2006 census, Victoria was home to almost 7000 people born in Horn of Africa countries. Among them were 3104 from Ethiopia, 2626 from Somalia and 1215 from Eritrea. Although culturally and linguistically very diverse, these communities share the support of organisations like the Horn of Africa Communities’ Network, and have some characteristics in common. For example, there are concentrations of each of these groups in Melbourne’s inner-west. Furthermore, they are all fast-growing communities, with the majority of individuals having arrived in the period since 1991.
At this time a devastating series of conflicts within and around the Horn of Africa countries led to largescale emigration from the peninsula. Many refugees from the Horn were accepted under Australia’s humanitarian migration program, and settled here.
Ethiopia is the largest of the Horn of Africa nations. The contribution of the Ethiopian community to Victoria’s cultural life will be celebrated at the Immigration Museum’s Ethiopian Festival, which will be held on Sunday 18 April, 2010. It will feature music and dancing by local Ethiopians, along with food demonstrations and special talks.