How Did Italian Immigrants Influence Australian Culture

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Like any migrating minority group, Italian migrants experienced enormous adjustments integrating into Australia, their host country. This was felt largely because of cultural and language differences. As Italians represent a sizable percentage of the population to comparable immigration numbers (In 2011 4.6% of the Australian population identified themselves as being of Italian decent) their impact to Australian culture may be one of the most visible, particularly in the areas of entertaining and cuisine. Although both Melbourne society and the Italians were changed by the group’s migration, the migrants themselves experienced sudden culture shock, while broader Australian society experienced a slower adoption of Italian cultural habits.…show more content…
Australians have adopted and adapted Italian cuisine with fervour. Melbourne supermarket delicatessen shelves are filled with commonly adopted Italian ingredients; prosciutto, salami, mozzarella, olives, and chargrilled vegetables. Italian vegetable dishes such as zucchini, squash and rocket doused with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and breads such as ciabatta and focaccia and risotto are now commonplace on Australian menus. Al fresco dining (an Italian custom and expression) only became popular in Melbourne after post-war Italian migration. Pasta and coffee (especially in Melbourne) are consumed in large quantities. (50 years ago, Australians consumed 0.6 kg of coffee each year on average, now they consume 2.9kg per capita ) The ubiquitous pizza has become an Australian staple. The average Australian eats pizza once a month totalling over 264 million pizzas a year and there are over 3500 independent pizza shops and 3,000 chain pizza shops in Australia . Even the famously Australian vegemite has become less widely consumed nationally than pasta . It is not only the change of food that impacted Melbourne’s culture. Attitudes toward children in Australia pervious to post WW2 migration were often that they should be ‘seen and not heard’. The Italians (and Greeks) however, saw them as having a central role in the family and being an…show more content…
One neighbour found himself marginalised in a predominantly Anglo-Saxon community in Hughesdale. School yard taunts such as ‘Daygo’, ‘Wog’ and ‘Aiyatai’ were common. Many migrant children retaliated physically. He explained that before the instigation of Multiculturalism by Al Grassby in the 1970s Italian migrants in Melbourne received the strong cultural pressures to ‘Forget your culture – do not speak Italian, think Italian or behave Italian!’ His teacher admonished him for speaking Italian at home and marked him harshly in the classroom. Not until his mother acquiesced to the teacher’s demands that all his family exclusively speak English at home did she reward him with better assessments. Unbeknown to the teacher the family continued to speak Italian

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