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Australia

(last updated: 08.09.2015)
 

The Estonian Embassy in Canberra was opened in February of 2015.

Ambassador Andres Unga presented his credentials to Governor-General Quentin Bryce on March 28, 2013. Ambassador Unga is also accredited to New Zealand.

Estonia has four honorary consuls in Australia: Anu Ethel van Hattem in Perth (consular area: Western Australia), Dr. Delaney Michael Skerrett in Brisbane (Queensland), Peter Thomas Sexton in Hobart (Tasmania) and Jaak Oks in Adelaide (South Australia).

 

Visits

 

To Australia
November 2011 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet
April 2009 Foreign Minister Urmas Paet
March 2008 A delegation of the Riigikogu and Speaker of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma
April 2000 A delegation of the Riigikogu and Speaker of the Riigikogu Toomas Savi

 

To Estonia
October 2013 President of the Australian Senate John Hogg's visit
April 2002 Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock's private visit
May 2000 Minister of Environment Senator Robert Hill's private visit

 

Agreements

The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Estonia and the Government of Australia Relating to Working Holiday Visas was concluded on 20.05.2005.

Economic Relations

 

Estonia - Australia trade has fluctuated widely in recent years, particularly Estonia’s exports to Australia. All the while, the balance sheet has been very strongly positive for Estonia throughout.

The main export article in 2013 was wood and wood products (about 60%), machinery and equipment – 19.5% and medical and instrumentation – 5.4%.

The majority of imports in 2013 were gems and precious metals – 72.5%, followed by chemical products – 13.2% and alcoholic beverages – 4.7%.


Estonian – Australian trade in 2008 – 2014 (in millions of EUR)

Year Export Import
2008 9.0 1.4
2009 8.7 1.8
2010 24.3 0.9
2011 24.2 8.0
2012 22.4 2.3
2013 23.1 7.7

Source: Statistical Office of Estonia

INVESTMENTS

Australian companies have made relatively few direct investments in Estonia. According to the Bank of Estonia, as of June 30, 2014, Australian direct investments in Estonia totalled 3.3 million euros. The mainly areas of investment were in real estate and financial and insurance activities.

As of the same date, Estonian investments in Australia totalled 7.6 million euros. The main area of investment was in finance and insurance activities.

Cultural Relations

Estonian culture has been introduced in Australia by many Estonian artists and musicians, including the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste, Camerata Tallinn, Ellerhein choir, pianists Tanel Joamets and Toomas Vana, composer Arvo Pärt – honorary doctor of Sydney University – the Pärnu theatre "Endla", the Tallinn University of Technology Men’s Choir, conductor Neeme Järvi and the oratorio "Jonah's Mission", and others.

At the end of December in 2012, the 24th Estonian Days in Australia took place in Sydney. The main performers at the Estonian Days were Kaire Vilgats, Jaagup Kreem, Taavi Langi, and a troupe from the Estonian National Pupper Theatre.

On November 1-13, 2012 an exhibition entitled “forEST” in which Estonian jewelry artists Linda al-Assi, Anni Kagovere, Merle Kasonen, and Maarja Niinemägi took part, was displayed at the Gaffa Gallery in Sydney.

In 2003, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Arvo Volmer, Olari Elts and Kristjan Järvi (for a total of 12 concerts). Arvo Volmer has been the music director of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra since 2004. In the summer of 2010, his production of Puccini’s opera “The Girl of the Golden West” debuted at the Sydney Opera House. In 2012, he conducted two operas there – Verdi’s “Aida” and Puccini’s “Turando”.

Erkki-Sven Tüür performed a concert in Sydney on November 19, 2011.

Estonians in Australia

Culture historian Valdemar Vilder, who lives in Sydney, discovered that three Estonian sailors were on board one of the first European vessels to visit Australia back in 1697. Barent Jans from Tallinn and Martinus Stypen and Christian Clajus from Tartu served under Captain Willem de Valminagh.

Records show that the first Estonians settled in Australia in 1853. The first Estonian Society was established in Melbourne in 1914. People settled primarily around Sydney, where two Estonian societies (that later merged) were established in the 1920s. The first displaced persons of World War II arrived in 1947 (142 Estonians).

Number of persons born in Estonia residing in Australia

Census year Number
1933 997
1947 1102
1954 6549
1986 3895
1991 3381
1996 2828
2001 2391
2006 1933

 

According to the 1986 census, there were 6334 residents of Estonian ancestry in Australia, in 1996 the number was 7537, and 2006 census reported the number as 8232. Australia has the sixth largest Estonian community after Finland, Russia, Sweden, Canada, and the USA. Sir Arvi Parbo, the mining magnate, is one of the most well-known Estonians in Australia.

The largest Estonian communities are in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne, which also have Estonian community houses. In Thirlmere, which is located near Sydney, there is an Estonian village that was established in 1924. Estonian culture days have been held in Australia on 13 occasions during the period 1954-1986. In 1988, the world Estonian festival ESTO '88 was held in Australia. "Forest universities" (“Metsaülikoolid”) have been held yearly since 1971. Estonians have one regularly published newspaper in Australia - "Meie Kodu" (“Our Home”). The Estonian Archives in Australia, located in Sydney, were established in 1952 and hold the vast majority of all printed Estonian works that were published outside of Estonia following World War II.

 

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