Gypsies in Australia

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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8 thoughts on “Gypsies in Australia

    1. What an odd comment, Deane. Melting-pot? It’s not a cooking class.

      By the way, you should read Lenin’s and Mao’s observations on fostering ethnic minorities. It became standard policy in communist countries.

      1. Yeah, I’d heard that Stalin was really into “fostering” the Jew in the USSR. Within reason, of course. I mean, it is one thing to give a free pass from Siberia to some of the Jewish socialist leaders, but quite another thing altogether to accept Svetlana’s stubborn Jew-loving fetish. Comrade Joseph saw this for what it was! Just a stage of youthful rebellion! But tell me: did he send more than one of her fiancees to the gulag? No. And I think history will, accordingly, remember him kindly for this.

      2. But naturally. To the faithful Calvinist Marxist, even the slightest doubt concerning the rectitude of actually existing socialism is a grave sin.

        Or how did you put it? I paraphrase slightly: “Stalin wasn’t responsible for millions of death during the Red Terror, but those millions deserved to die, anyway!”

  1. More to the point, Soviet communism gave linguistic minorities considerable freedom – schooling and publications in their own languages, districts and republics where the minority language had official status, positive discrimination in admission to education and so on. This was in contrast to the strong pressures for Russification exerted in Tsarist times. One could note that Welsh only became an official language in Britain in 1965 (and the campaigns against the use of Spanish in the US).

    1. Another example is the Sorbian people in the eastern part of Germany, as well as adjoining parts of Poland and Czechoslovakia. Hitler had decided that Sorbian was a dialect of German and denied them any recognition whatsoever. Only with the establishment of the DDR (in response to the declaration of West Germany) was Sorbian recognised as a distinct language, schools and literary institutes were established, and so on.

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