Geographic Origins

Taiwan, formerly known as Formosa, is an island off the Chinese coast in the South China Sea. It was a Dutch and Spanish colony, before being annexed by China in 1683 and ceded to Japan in 1895. Taiwan was claimed by the Republic of China in 1945.

History of Immigration and Settlement

The indigenous people of Taiwan make up roughly 2 per cent of the population. Most Taiwanese are Mandarin-speaking Chinese, who have either lived on the island for generations, or were among the 1.5 million people who fled the mainland after the Chinese Communist Party victory in 1949. To this day Chinese communists and nationalists consider Taiwan a province of China.

For history of immigration and settlement, community activities and bibliography consult the Chinese entry.


The 1986 census recorded 88 Taiwanese-born South Australians.

The 1991 census recorded that 302 South Australians were born in Taiwan. 309 people said that their mothers were Taiwanese-born, and 284 that their fathers were.

According to the 1996 census there were 470 Taiwanese-born South Australians, this represented 2.4 per cent of the national total of 19,574 persons.

The 2001 census recorded 502 Taiwanese-born South Australians, while 90 people said that they were of Taiwanese descent.

The 2006 census recorded 615 Taiwanese-born South Australians, while 146 people said that they were of Taiwanese descent.

The 2011 census recorded 933 Taiwanese-born South Australians, while 237 people said that they were of Taiwanese descent.

The 2016 census recorded 1,704 Taiwanese-born South Australians, while 697 people said that they were of Taiwanese descent.

Catherine Manning's picture
Catherine Manning says:

Thanks for sharing your story Ronan,
Internal migration (within Australia) is something that we could certainly do more on.

Ronan Gao's picture
Ronan Gao says:

I was born in South Australia in 2001, but I've been living in New South
Wales since 2006. I'm 1/4-Taiwanese and 3/4 Chinese. My maternal grandmother was born in Victoria in 1944 in a WWII internment camp, and my Taiwanese ancestry comes from her.

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Jupp, J (ed.), The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins, Second Edition, (Cambridge University Press, 2001)