© 2018

Italians in Australia

History, Memory, Identity


Part of the Palgrave Studies in Migration History book series (PSMH)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Francesco Ricatti
    Pages 1-15
  3. Francesco Ricatti
    Pages 17-34
  4. Francesco Ricatti
    Pages 35-51
  5. Francesco Ricatti
    Pages 75-97
  6. Francesco Ricatti
    Pages 131-139
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 141-147

About this book


This book provides a concise and innovative history of Italian migration to Australia over the past 150 years. It focuses on crucial aspects of the migratory experience, including work and socio-economic mobility, disorientation and reorientation, gender and sexual identities, racism, sexism, family life, aged care, language, religion, politics, and ethnic media. The history of Italians in Australia is re-framed through key theoretical concepts, including transculturation, transnationalism, decoloniality, and intersectionality. This book challenges common assumptions about the Italian-Australian community, including the idea that migrants are ‘stuck’ in the past, and the tendency to assess migrants’ worth according to their socio-economic success and their alleged contribution to the Nation. It focuses instead on the complex, intense, inventive, dynamic, and resilient strategies developed by migrants within complex transcultural and transnational contexts. In doing so, this book provides a new way of rethinking and remembering the history of Italians in Australia.


Transnational Migrant Post-war Sugar plantations Financial crisis Memory Community Class Race Gender Health Age

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of Languages, Literatures, Cultures and LinguisticsMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

About the authors

Francesco Ricatti is Cassamarca Senior Lecturer in Italian Studies at Monash University, Australia, and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Creative Humanities at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. 

Bibliographic information


“Francesco Ricatti’s comprehensive study offers a fresh and lucid understanding of the interrelation of core issues and processes affecting settlement and governance of immigration strategies for Italian arrivals in Australia during the past one hundred and fifty years. … Ricatti offers challenging new perspectives that greatly enrich and deepen our awareness and understanding of transnational and transcultural practices in synthesizing Italian–Australian migration history over a 150-year trajectory.” (Diana Glenn, Australian Book Review, Issue 418, January-February, 2020)

“Italians in Australia is unique also because of its critical use of decolonial, transcultural, and intersectional frames, especially its careful and intertwined consideration of race, class, gender, sexuality and age. … This is a brief but engaging and important text for migration history in Australia and beyond. Italians in Australia cleverly draws together diverse disciplinary works to form a transcultural approach to the history of Italians in Australia.” (Alexandra Dellios, Australian Historical Studies, Vol. 50 (2), 2019)

“This project is inspired as much by the desire to honor the stories of migrants and their families as it is by the need for scholars of the past to contribute to changing social and political responses to migration in present-day Australia. This slim volume has already made its presence felt.” (John J. Kinder, H-Net Reviews Humanities and Social Sciences,, April, 2019)