from the area known as Serbia settled in Victoria in the 19th century. In the 1901 census
, just three men from Serbia were recorded.
After World War I, the Kingdom of Serbia united with other Balkan territories to form the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenians. The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was formally named in 1929. Yugoslavia was occupied by the Axis powers and temporarily dismantled during World War II, and large numbers of people fled. Yugoslavs were amongst the large numbers who came to Victoria between 1948 and 1955 from Displaced Persons
camps in Europe. Many who came to Australia at this time were opposed to the newly-formed communist regime in Yugoslavia. By 1954 there were 6,118 immigrants
from Yugoslavia living in Victoria.
The worsening economic situation in Yugoslavia, including high unemployment in the 1960s and 1970s, caused more Yugoslavia-born people to immigrate to Victoria. Many people had been working temporarily in Western Europe, especially Germany, before immigrating to Australia. Between 1961 and 1971, the Yugoslavia-born population in Victoria increase nearly three-fold to 49,755 people.
After the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1992, Serbia and Montenegro were proclaimed as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1996, when people born in Serbia and Montenegro were first counted separately in the Australian census
, there were 4,133 living in Victoria. By 2001 the census
recorded 19,643 people born in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – an increase that may reflect a different definition of the country rather than a large influx of immigrants
. In 2003 the country was formally renamed Serbia and Montenegro as a state union. The 2006 census
recorded 7,052 Victorians born in Serbia and Montenegro. In the same year Serbia and Montenegro formally split into separate states, but the census
still counted them as a union. In 2008, the Kosovo assembly declared Kosovo independent of Serbia. The 2011 census
counted 7,383 Victorians born in Serbia, whilst 518 were counted for Montenegro and 538 for Kosovo.
Most members of the Victorian community live in the western and south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Of those in employment 34% work in professional roles and 20% are labourers and tradespersons. While 46% of the population were Serbian Orthodox, 15% were Eastern Orthodox. Today Serbian is by far the most common language spoken at home within the community, which is supported by a range of ethno-specific organisations.