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Adelaide The Multicultural City

Adelaide: The Multicultural City

Cultural diversity refers to the variety of cultures, traditions, languages, and belief systems that exist in a society. It’s what makes our world so vibrant and interesting, and it’s something we should celebrate and embrace. 

In this article, we’ll discuss Adelaide’s cultural diversity and how it affects the city. Prepare yourself for a journey that will enrich your understanding of Adelaide’s multiculturality! 

Does Adelaide have a diverse culture?

Adelaide has a diverse culture. The SA government notes that South Australians are initially from over 200 countries. 

Additionally, the residents of Adelaide have links to more than 100 belief systems.

Why is multiculturalism important? 

Why is multiculturalism important

Multiculturalism is essential in a community because it promotes respect, recognition, open-mindedness, peace, and empowerment among diverse groups. 

In addition to this, Sociologist Dr. Caleb Rosado states the following positive acts are crucial aspects of a multicultural society.

  • Recognizing that there are several diverse cultures
  • Respecting the differences between these cultures
  • Acknowledging the legitimacy of these cultures’ expressions and contributions to society
  • Valuing and encouraging the input of other cultures
  • Empowering individuals from different cultures so that they may be fully aware and critical of their prejudices
  • Celebrating (rather than tolerating), cultural dissimilarities 

These positive effects help eliminate negative stereotypes and encourage camaraderie through tension-free insight-sharing and interaction. 

Multiculturalism also leads to progress. When various cultures interchange viewpoints and ideas: innovations, economic growth, and more occupational opportunities arise. 

A Brief History of How South Australia Became Multicultural 

A Brief History of How South Australia Became Multicultural

Before colonizers arrived in South Australia, the region was already a hub of diverse cultures. Pre-colonized South Australia was home to multi-tribal Aboriginals who had varying belief systems.

Then in 1788, the first European settlement was established in the country. And when the British colonizers arrived, South Australia’s doors opened to the world.


German cultural influences also started to spread in the South Australian region in 1836. The arrival of trade ships and Lutheran refugees made this happen. 

The copper boom in 1846 also attracted miners, businessmen, and politicians of different ethnicities. During this period, Scottish, Irish Jewish, Middle Eastern, Greek, and Italian influences began to shape the culture and lifestyle of Adelaide.


Travelers from China, Vietnam, and Thailand reached the shores of South Australia around this time, too. 

And in the 20th century, South Australia became one of the most culturally diverse places in the world, with countless residents coming from both the East and West.

Adelaide’s Aboriginal Culture

Adelaide’s Aboriginal Culture

The Kaurna People are the first settlers to inhabit the lands of Adelaide. Their land cultivation technique is one of the main reasons Adelaide’s soil has the capacity to sustain healthy plant growth. 

Adelaide’s waterways were also developed by this Aboriginal group. They mastered their environment and lived off it. 


Their connection to the environment was also deep. The Kaurna People’s culture focused on the importance of spiritually connecting with nature and the entire universe.

The British colonization almost resulted in the destruction of the Kaurna People’s culture. Thankfully, their way of life survived, and nowadays, their heritage, culture, and history are treasured and celebrated by all of Adelaide.

Trivia: Several places in the Fleurieu Peninsula and Adelaide bear names from the Kaurna language, Kaurna Warra. 

Examples of these Kaurna-derived place names include Aldinga, Cowandilla, Munno Para, and Morialta.

The Ancestries of Adelaide

The Ancestries of Adelaide

In 2021, the Australian Bureau of Statistics took a Census of Population and Housing. One of the data they collected was the percentage of ancestries that make up Adelaide.

Ancestry refers to an individual’s cultural and ethnic heritage, tracing back three generations. 

Here are the 10 largest ancestries according to the statistics of the 2021 census.

  1. English – 36.8%
  2. Australian – 30.2 %
  3. Scottish – 8.2%
  4. Italian – 6.8%
  5. Irish – 7.6%
  6. German – 6.7%
  7. Chinese – 4.1%
  8. Indian – 3%
  9. Greek – 2.7%
  10. Vietnamese – 1.6%

The census also shows how the ancestries increased and decreased from 2016 to 2021. This is the data presented by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

  1. English – 2% Increase
  2. Irish – 0.6% Increase
  3. Scottish – 0.6% Increase
  4. Australian – 0.8% Decrease
  5. Chinese – 1.2% Decrease
  6. Indian – 0.9% Increase
  7. Vietnamese – 0.7% Increase
  8. German – 0.2% Increase
  9. Italian – 0.2% Increase
  10. Greek – 0.2% Increase

Trivia: From 2011 to 2021, over 1 million Adelaideans declared that their ancestry is English.

The Languages of Adelaide

The Languages of Adelaide

The number of languages spoken in a society is also a great indicator of a place’s diversified culture. In Adelaide, more than 20 languages are used. 

The main language that’s spoken is English with 74.8% of Adelaide’s population using it.

Aside from English, these are also spoken in Adelaide:

  • Mandarin – 2.2%
  • Italian – 1.6%
  • Greek – 1.5%
  • Vietnamese 1.5%
  • Hindi – 0.7%
  • Cantonese – 0.7%
  •  Filipino – 0.7%
  • German – 0.5%

When it comes to language and multiculturality, though, it’s not all about the numbers. The Depart of Education states that culture directly affects language, and the words we use reflect this relationship.


Linguistics professor, Ingrid Piller, suggests that Aussie slang is a great example of a language directly shaped by diverse cultures. 

According to her, the everyday English Australians use is no longer British but a combination of languages from different cultures.

The terms below are examples given by Prof. Piller:

  • Roufi and yardi (roof and yard) – a combination of Greek and American English
  • Yalah (hurry up) – an Arabic term that’s now always used in Australia
  • Greeklish – a portmanteau of Greek and English

Trivia: In Australia, 1 in 5 people speaks a language other than English. Additionally, over 200 languages are spoken in the entire country!

The Religions of Adelaide

The Religions of Adelaide

Over 30 religions are present in Adelaide. These belief systems were introduced mainly by colonizers, traders, and immigrants.

According to the 2021 census, the religions in Adelaide with the most followers are the ones below.

  • Roman Catholic – 16.4%
  • Anglican – 7%
  • Uniting Church – 3.9%
  • Islam -2.8%
  • Christianity (not further defined) – 2.7%
  • Hinduism – 2.7%
  • Greek Orthodox – 2.4%
  • Buddhism – 2.3%
  • Lutheran – 1.6%
  • Baptist – 1.6%

Trivia: Hinduism is the fastest-growing religion not just in Adelaide but also in the entire country. 

In 1996, there were over 67,000 Hindus only in Australia. Currently, there are more than 684,000 Hindus living in the country.

Areas in Adelaide that Reflect Its Multiculturality

Areas in Adelaide that Reflect Its Multiculturality

The beauty of Adelaide’s multiculturality can also be seen in the city’s most captivating spots. If you want to experience cultural diversity while witnessing scenic views, these are the places you should visit.

Adelaide Chinatown

Location18 Moonta St, Adelaide SA 5000
Opening HoursOpen Daily for 24 Hours 

The cultural hub and trade center known as Adelaide Chinatown was founded in 1847 by Chinese laborers from Singapore. Today, it’s a bustling shopping district that offers the best of Asia, including its remarkably rich and colorful culture and goods.

The Adelaide Chinatown is situated on Moonta Street inside the Adelaide Central Market. The entrance to this cultural wonderland is a colorful paifang, a stunning arching gateway symbolizing the dreams of Chinese people during the feudal era. 


For us, the paifang also represents the things you’ll see inside Adelaide Chinatown. 

From the mouthwatering food to the mystifying artifacts, everything in this area captures Asia’s most treasured gems.

Our favorite spot here has to be the busy and invigorating Chinatown Plaza. Every time we visit this vibrant area, upbeat music is played while tourists and locals shop for high-quality goodies like Asian treats and handmade crafts.

Tip: We strongly recommend visiting this place during the Chinese New Year. On this special holiday, Adelaide Chinatown’s energy is amplified with parties happening on almost every corner.

Kingston Park Coastal Reserve

Kingston Park Coastal Reserve
Photo courtesy of City of Holdfast Bay
LocationBurnham Rd, Kingston Park SA 5049
Opening HoursOpen Daily for 24 Hours 

With a cliffside view of the sapphire ocean and tree-shaded picnic zones, the Kingston Park Coastal Reserve is a ravishing getaway site. It’s also a highly-protected reserve where you can learn more about the Kaurna People’s Aboriginal way of life. 

The John Dowie Rock sculpture that celebrates the Aboriginals’ Dreaming Stories is also found on a cliff here. It’s an outstanding and historically-significant work of art detailing the unique belief systems of Adelaide’s original settlers.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Our team’s other go-to spot here is the sacred Tjilbruke Spring site. For those who don’t know, Tjilbruke was a member of the Kaurna People who played a heavy role in the Kaurna Dreaming story.

The Tjilbruke Spring Site to this day still remains a highly sanctified place for the Kaurna People. We suggest visiting this must-see freshwater lagoon, as its beauty and seemingly mystical aura make it one of the most enchanting tourist sites in Adelaide.

Tip: This reserve is a sanctuary for native animals and local plant life that are essential to Adelaide’s biodiversity. 

Please do not commit acts (smoking, littering, etc.) that might endanger them.

South Australian Museum

LocationNorth Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Opening HoursOpen Daily – 10 am to 5 pm

If you’re looking for a place that holds artifacts from Adelaide’s cultural past and present, the South Australian Museum is where you should go. 

The South Australian Museum has five floors full of Aboriginal relics and historical remnants. It also has artifacts that came from other parts of the world. 

From a variety of ancient Australian weapons to century-old scriptures, this museum will teach you a lot about life in Adelaide before other settlers came. 

Moreover, visiting this place is also a fascinating and enlightening way to support the Aboriginals. A sum of the profit they earn from exhibits, through the Australian Government’s Indigenous Repatriation Program, is donated to Aboriginal organizations.

You can also show your appreciation and respect for Adelaide’s diverse and rich culture by posting photos on social media that show the museum’s artifacts. 

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind backdrop, you’ll love posing in front of the walls where Aboriginal artworks are painted. And the best part is the South Australian Museum’s admission is free.

Tip: The best time to visit the South Australian Museum is around 10 am to 12 pm. This is the museum’s off-peak hours, and we think it’s easier to navigate the less crowded it is.

FAQs about Adelaide’s Diverse Culture

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