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Among the more recent of Australia's immigrant groups, the first Turkish assisted immigrants arrived at Essendon Airport on 15 November 1968 under a scheme that ended in 1974. The subsequent small number of arrivals came through family reunion or as independent immigrants.

Over 90% of Victoria's 14 000 Turkish-born live in Melbourne. Originally clustered in the inner and southern suburbs (Brunswick, Collingwood, Fitzroy, Footscray, Melbourne, Richmond, Moorabbin and Mordialloc), the community has more recently expanded into the outer north and west (Broadmeadows, Coburg, Sunshine and Whittlesea) as well as Waverley and Springvale.

More than 20 organisations promote a variety of cultural and religious activities among this highly concentrated community, which is marked by low levels of marrying 'out' and a high level of language maintenance. The community supports Turkish-language newspapers including Gunes (The Sun, 1977) and The Turkish Report (1992) and regular programs on the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) and community radio. Several state primary schools offer Turkish bilingual programs, and the language is also among the most popular in Saturday classes offered by the Victorian School of Languages. Undergraduate programs in Turkish, developed to meet the demand for qualified interpreters, were offered from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s by Deakin University and RMIT.

Shurlee Swain