The vast majority of Argentinians first came to Victoria in the 1970s, during a period of political and economic crisis in their homeland. Under military rule between 1955 and 1973, the country suffered rising inflation, increasing unemployment and political instability. The return of Juan Domingo Peron in 1973, after 18 years in exile, did little to improve the situation.
The political conditions in Argentina further declined in 1976 with a return to military rule under General Jorge Videla. Under the repressive new regime 9,000 people were tortured, abducted or murdered. Continuing economic difficulties and high levels of unemployment saw record levels of Argentinians emigrate.
More than 80% of Argentinians arriving in Australia during this period were assisted immigrants
. Many initially stayed in temporary hostels in NSW and Victoria, such as the Broadmeadows Migrant Hostel.
The Argentinian community in Victoria increased six-fold in the 1970s, and by 1981, 2,811 Argentinians called Victoria home. Twenty five years later, their number had increased to 3,502.
Most of the Argentina-born Victorians now live in Melbourne. They work in a variety of professions including information technology, transport, manufacturing and entertainment. Nearly 70% are Catholic, and almost three-quarters speak Spanish at home. The Argentine Social Circle helps to maintain a connection to origins and traditions such as fiestas and Latin dance.