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Although a number of Laotian students came to Melbourne under the auspices of the Colombo Plan, the first significant immigration followed the communist take-over of Laos in December 1975. Most of the migrants were lowland Lao, but there were also a few from the Hmong, the hill tribes who provided the backbone of the anti-communist struggle, as well as ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese. Lao immigrants have settled around former migrant hostels in Nunawading, Springvale and Sunshine but the centre of community life is the Buddhist temple in South Clayton where Lao monks have been in residence for many years.

Justin Corfield