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Known in the 19th century as Afghans, Pakistanis first came to Australia in small numbers as camel-drivers during the 1880s. They opened up vast tracts of the countryside, traversing country Victoria as hawkers well into the 20th century. Others ventured into small businesses and intermarried with the host society. During the 1970s a second wave immigrated and are now located in greatest numbers in Dandenong and Springvale. Mostly of educated, middle-class families, the majority are Muslim and are affiliated with the larger ethnically diverse Islamic community and associated mosques. A small percentage of recent arrivals are Christian by birth and affiliation. Muslim and Christian groups are fluent in English as well as Urdu, having started numerous friendship and social groups, which serve as an extension of the traditional family. Many families have successfully combined traditionally strong family values with a Western lifestyle. There are currently about 5000 Pakistanis in Melbourne.

Abe W. Ata