The Urdu-Speaking Community in Australia

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The Urdu-Speaking Community in Australia

Urdu is a word of Turkish origin. The language, however, is similar to Hindi, and developed following the Muslim domination of Northern India. During that time a large number of Persian, Turkish and Arabic words entered the language via the military camps and market places.

Australia's Urdu-speakers are drawn largely from Pakistan and India.

Arrival and Settlement

Pakistanis began migrating to Australia in the 1960s but most came in the late 1970s and '80s. They have a much longer tradition in Australian history, however and one that can be traced back to the mid 1860s.

As described in The Australian People, edited by James Jupp, the story of Pakistani migration to Australia begins with the so-called Afghan camel men who made a vital contribution to exploration, development and transport across Australia's isolated areas.

Their descendants have devoted considerable time and effort to the establishment of a strong network of cultural and religious organisations throughout Australia.

The history of Indian immigration to Australia goes back to around 1800 when a small number of labourers were brought into the country for contract work.

But by the 1900s, the community had expanded and become more diverse with many of its members having moved into small business. Many of these migrants came from the Punjab region.

In the late 1960s, as the influence of the White Australia Policy started to wane, restrictive migration policies against non-Europeans were relaxed and many Indian and Pakistani doctors, teachers and other professionals entered Australia.

Urdu is flourishing in many parts of the world. It's the official language of Pakistan and is closely associated with the poetry, life and emotions of ordinary people.

Community Contacts

There are many organisations serving Australia's Urdu-speaking commuity. Here is a list of some of them.


UMMA (United Muslim Migrants Association)

72 George Street
Doncaster East VIC 3150
Phone/Fax: 03 9842 6491

PAAI (Pakistan Australia Association) Incorporated

7 Eurora Court
Taylors Lakes VIC 3038
Phone 03 9390 2213

PAF(Pakistan Australian Friendship Society)

P. O. Box 443
St. Albans VIC 3021
Phone 03 9390 9162
New South Wales

Urdu Society of Australia
4/19 Woodcourt St.,
Marrickville NSW 2204

Pakistan Association of Australia

2/3 Lakemba St,
Lakemba NSW 2195
Phone 0401 053 748


Pakistan Australia Friendship Association

5-Dennes Place,
Lyons ACT 2606
Phone 0417 248 689

Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia,

Chairperson: Randolph Alwis
PO Box 344 Curtin, ACT 2605
Phone:02 6282 5755
Fax: 02 6282 5734

Australia India Council
PO Box E8
QueenVictoria Terrace
ACT 2600
Phone 02 6261 3928

Special Events Calendar

SBS Radio's Urdu Language Program presents special coverage of these and other community events throughout the year.
They include Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Festival of Eid ul Fitr, Festival of Eid ul Udha and Seeratunnabi.
January 26
Australia Day


August 14
Pakistan Independence Day

November 9
Allama Iqbal Day, to honour a favourite Pakistani poet.

The following festivals are also acknowledged but their dates are subject to the Lunar Calendar.

September 11
Death Anniversary of Jinnah, founder of Pakistan
December 25
Anniversary of the Birth of Jinnah. Christmas

 Urdu Society of Australia

Urdu Society of Australia is working to perserv and promote Urdu language in Australia.

Its activities are:

  • Urdu Society holds monthly meetings for Urdu writers & poets

  • Urdu Society holds Annual Internation Poetry Sitting Session (Mushaira)

  • Urdu Society is planning to start pilot Urdu teaching classes

  • Urdu Society works with local council libraries to have Urdu book section there.

Official addresses a follows
Urdu Society of Australia inc
PO Box no 6521 Lakemba Bussiness Centre
NSW 2195
Contact : Abbas Gilani
General Secrtary
Urdu society of Australia


Tariq Mahmood Mirza 
Public Relation Officer
Urdu society of Australia

 Organisation Body





Dr Kausar Jamal




Dr Shabbir Haider

Sr Vice President

(02) 42 971 555

Abbas Gilani

General Secretary



Arshad Saeed

Public Officer



Tariq Mahmood Mirza

Public Relation Officer



Naseem Haider

Joint Secretary



Farhat Iqbal




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