The first confirmed Swiss citizen to arrive in Australia was Johann Waeber, a painter engaged by Captain James Cook as an illustrator for Cook’s third voyage to Australia.
The first Swiss migrants arrived in Australia during the early 19th century, with Victoria attracting the largest number. A notable figure was Sophie de Montmollin from Neuchâtel, married to Charles Joseph La Trobe, who was superintendent of Port Phillip and then lieutenant governor of the colony of Victoria.
Larger numbers arrived during the gold-rush in the mid-1850s particularly from Ticino, an Italian-speaking district of Switzerland. In 1891, there were 2555 Swiss-born in Australia.
The 2016 Census recorded 12,128 Switzerland-born people in Australia. New South Wales had the largest number with 3,855 followed by Queensland (2,770), Victoria (2,478) and Western Australia (1,836). 31,567 Australians claimed Swiss ancestry.
The Swiss Steinbocks have enjoyed great success, being crowned Division 2 champions in both the Harmony Cup and World 9s.
If you are of Swiss descent and keen to represent Switzerland, please join the Team Switzerland Facebook group.
Swiss Club of Victoria
Claude Alain Staub
Head Coach, Team Switzerland