People are always surprised when I mention that gypsies have been living in Australia for more than 200 years. In fact, the great Australian poet, Henry Lawson (anglicised from Larsen), had a mother with gypsy background. Current estimates put the number of people with gypsy heritage at 25,000. Three clans are represented here: English Romanies, or Romanichal (the first was most likely Lazarus Scamp, deported for ‘stealing’ a sheep in 1780), Kalderash (traditionally metalworkers from Europe, from 1898 on), and Roma from Eastern Europe after 1945 (more here). So why don’t they do what gypsies are supposed to do, according to the racist caricatures common in Europe? I mean abduct children, play piano accordions on the streets, pick pockets, beg, smuggle engage in prostitution, and so on. The fact is that the vast majority of gypsies don’t do any of that, especially here. It is more likely that you simply won’t notice an Australian of gypsy background, since he or she will be doing whatever the rest of us immigrants do.

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