Bahri Bregu’s mixed business in Fremantle, Western Australia, 1951.
Source: Laura Hougaz
Albanian migration in the wake of World War II is intimately connected with the turbulent political, social and economic conditions of the homelands: Albania, Kosova, Macedonia and Montenegro. Following the war, the establishment of a Stalinist dictatorship in Albania and a centralised communist regime in former Yugoslavia had profound and deeply tragic consequences.
A small number of refugees from Albania, and especially Albanians from the Prespa region in south-western Macedonia, were resettled in Australia. Sharing a common dialect – Toskë, one of the major southern Albanian dialects – and a long history of intermarriage and cultural exchange with Albanians from the Korçë region, they found a ready sense of community and solidarity with the early kurbetxhi in Victoria and elsewhere in Australia.
With mass migration to Australia during the 1960s and 1970s, the Prespa Albanians and those from the nearby villages of Këshavë and Ostrec formed a large proportion of the Albanian community in Australia, numbering 5,401 in 1991. The majority of these mostly Muslim Albanians settled in Victoria, principally in Melbourne’s industrial, working-class suburbs of Dandenong, Footscray, Yarraville, Altona, St Albans, Preston, Thomastown and Lalor.