During the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the Romanian community in Victoria was relatively small. In 1891, 27 Romania-born Victorians were recorded, 22 of them men. Thirty years later the population had only increased to 91, including a larger number of women. By the end of World War II the community comprised just 191 people.
In the post-war years Romanians joined the large influx of European migrants to Australia. Initially they immigrated under the International Refugee
Organization scheme; the installation of a communist government in 1947 prompted thousands more to immigrate. By 1954 the community in Victoria had increased five-fold to 1,060.
From the 1970s to early 1990s Romania endured a repressive government, financial mismanagement and national economic difficulties. Emigration was restricted, but many Romanians fled illegally and sought asylum. The community in Victoria more than doubled from 2,075 in 1981 to 4,806 in 1996.
In 2006, the census
showed that Victoria was home to the largest Romania-born population in Australia with a total of 5,183 individuals. The majority of Romania-born Victorians work as professionals (28%) and tradespeople (15%), primarily within the manufacturing, wholesale and retail industries. The professional achievements of many within the Romanian community reflect a higher level of post-school qualifications than that for Victoria as a whole.
Predominantly situated in metropolitan Melbourne, the community is largely Romanian Orthodox. The religion, language and culture of the community are supported by the Australian Romanian Community Welfare Health and Services Association of Victoria in addition to Romanian language radio and television broadcasts.