We have an advertising relationship with some of the stores we link to on this site. Your prices are not affected!

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

The indigenous inhabitants of Australia were hunter/gatherers with a wide selection of fauna and flora available from the tropical north to the cooler temperate regions in the south.

There was an abundance of seafood in coastal regions, the ever present kangaroo and many native nuts, berries and fruit. It was a healthy and sustainable diet.

Europeans (British) were the next settlers who started to arrive in the latter part of the 18th. century. They ate food that was being consumed in Britain at the time, meat such as beef and lamb, local seafood and a variety of common European vegetables. They began to plant  grains, primarily wheat to make bread, barley etc for alcohol (beer). Apart from the very early days of settlement when food was scarce there was no attempt to use native ingredients.

This European diet remained the staple for food consumption until the middle of the 20th.century. From the middle of the 19th. century some Chinese food started to make a presence due to the number of Chinese that had emigrated during the "gold rush" days of the mid 1800's. 

The next noticeable impact came after the second world war when immigrants, mainly from Italy and Greece started to arrive bringing with them their culinary traditions. It was not until the end of the Vietnam conflict when, refugees from there began to arrive that Australia welcomed and integrated Asians from a wide variety of countries. This more "open door" policy also attracted immigrants from the Middle East in particular Lebanon.

Today Australia is a true multicultural society and the food consumed, at home and in restaurants reflects what is eaten day to day. In many homes the previous northern European diet has been replaced by a mixture of Asian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Latin American (Mexican) food.

Australian native food is now readily available from niche suppliers and kangaroo meat is available from most supermarkets and is growing in popularity for it's low fat content, though is not mainstream by any means.

If you are interested in learning about or buying Australian native foods visit our Online Buying Guide.

Food Tours and Travel - Australia