Abu Nasser with his prized Holden in 1968.
Source: Museum Victoria Palestinian Community Photographic Collection
The number of Palestinians who have migrated to Australia has been difficult to assess through official records. The majority of Palestinians arrived on passports issued by the countries to which they were displaced. Many families divided by war held passports from different countries.
The consequences of the 1967 war led many Palestinians to migrate beyond the Arab world. Significant numbers of Palestinians arrived in Australia, propelled by their experiences of discrimination and economic hardship as a stateless people.
Further waves of immigration occurred at the beginning of the Lebanese civil war in 1975 and after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The last major wave came in the aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991.
It is difficult to estimate the number of Palestinian migrants before 2001, when the Australian census for the first time collected information on ancestry. It revealed that about 7000 people listed their ancestry as Palestinian. Speaking Arabic and born in many lands, Palestinians in Australia sometimes feel they are an ‘invisible’ national group.