Maltese community profile

Information about the Maltese community in Victoria including where they live and when they arrived, languages spoken, English language proficiency, religions and significant dates.

These profiles are of Victorian communities, using the best available data we have from the 2021 Australian Census.

The Census defines ancestry as the cultural or ethnic group you most identify with.

We acknowledge that the profiles are not definitive. There are limitations and challenges in assigning ancestry or ethnicity to a specific ‘community’, especially as defined by geographical borders.


The Maltese community remained very low during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Victoria. This was mainly due to the White Australia Policy (Immigration Restriction Act 1901) and the introduction of a quota system during World War I.

Following World War II, the Maltese community grew significantly as people were offered assisted migration to Australia. Many of these Maltese migrants were semi–skilled or unskilled workers seeking refuge from poor socioeconomic conditions. During this period, many Maltese–born people settled in Melbourne, Victoria.

The Maltese community continued to grow significantly in the 1950s through to the 1970s. During this period, most of the Maltese community arrived and settled in Victoria. From the mid–1970s, there was a decline in arrivals and far fewer Maltese people were migrating to Australia. This gradual decline continued throughout the 2000s as the Maltese community aged and many Maltese began returning to their homeland.

Maltese community

The Maltese community in Victoria is the largest in Australia. There are 81,542 people in Victoria who have Maltese ancestry, of which 16,844 were born in Malta.

The gender breakdown for the Maltese community is:

  • male: 40,517 (49.7%)
  • female: 41,025 (50.3%).

Most of the Maltese community is older, with the largest cohorts aged 65 years and over (18.0%) and 45–54 (14.5%).

Insights for communication and engagement

The following are some key insights from the data when communicating and engaging with the Maltese community:

  • The Maltese community is well established with many people arriving from 1951–1960 and 1961–1970.
  • The community has high levels of English language proficiency and may therefore, understand information or resources in English. It is worth noting there are still many in the community who may require in–language information, resources or in-person support, particularly more recent arrivals and older people.
  • Write in plain language. Use plain words, short sentences, headings, lists and other design elements to make information clear).
  • Print and radio channels can be helpful for reaching the Maltese community who live in Victoria.
  • For place–based activities, the north–western and western suburbs are where the majority of the community lives.

For more insights about communicating with multicultural audiences read the:

Better practice guide for multicultural communications
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Better practice guide for multicultural communications - accessible version
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Many people in the Maltese community live in Melbourne’s north–western and western suburbs.

The City of Melton is home to one of the largest Maltese communities in Victoria with 11,636 people. The City of Brimbank is next with 10,095 people.

The following 10 local government areas have the largest Maltese communities.

Local government areaPopulation
Hobsons Bay3,967
Moonee Valley3,278
Greater Geelong2,340

Malta-born population

The statistics below focus on people living in Victoria who were born in Malta. This will be referred to as the ‘Malta–born population’.


The top languages spoken by the Malta–born population in Victoria are:

  • Maltese (9,114)
  • English (7,228).

English language proficiency

The Malta–born population in Victoria has high levels of English language proficiency:

  • 50.2% of the population say they speak English ‘very well’ or ‘well’.
  • Only 5.9% say they speak English ‘not well’ or ‘not at all’.
  • 42.9% of the population speak English only.


The Malta–born population identify with the following religions:

  • Catholicism (89.6%)
  • Christianity (0.9%)
  • Jehovah’s Witness (0.6%)
  • no religion (5.3%).

Years of arrival

Most of the Malta-born population in Victoria arrived from 1951-1960 and 1961-1970. Only 0.4% arrived between 2016 and 2021.

Year of arrivalNumber of arrivalsPercentage


In Maltese culture, names usually follow the order: [Given name] [Surname]. Most children are given their father’s surname. However, in recent times that has changed and some children now take on hyphenated surnames from both parents.

It is also common in Maltese culture to have nicknames, especially in smaller communities or within families. These nicknames come from one's personal characteristics, or an abbreviation of the person's name.

Significant dates

The following are some key dates of significance:

  • St Paul’s Shipwreck – 10 February
  • St Joseph’s Day – 19 March
  • Freedom Day – 31 March
  • Labour Day – 1 May
  • Victory Day – 8 September
  • Independence Day – 21 September.

Sources of information

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021 Census Country of birth QuickStats
  • SBS Cultural Atlas
  • Melbourne Museum
  • Encyclopedia of Melbourne (School of Historical Studies at the University of Melbourne, in association with the University of Melbourne's eScholarship Research Centre).