Estonia and Australia
Australia first recognised Estonia on 22 September 1921, after Estonia's acceptance into the League of Nations. From 1919-1935, Estonia’s interests in Australia were represented by the Finnish Consulate (in 1922 H. Tanner, a Finn, was named deputy honorary consul in Sydney). In 1935 Estonia appointed its own honorary consul; the work of the consulate was interrupted in 1940 and its records were given to the Swedish Consulate for storage (today they have been returned to Estonia).
Australia was among the first countries to re-recognise Estonia's independence on 27 August 1991, while diplomatic relations were restored on 21 November 1991.
The first Estonian Ambassador to Australia Peeter Miller presented his credentials to the Governor-General His Excellency Major General Michael Jeffery on 30 November 2007. The new Estonian Ambassador to Australia is Andres Rundu, who resides in Tallinn. The Consulate General of the Republic of Estonia in Sydney was officially opened by Foreign Minister Urmas Paet on 21 November 2011. The consul general is Triinu Rajasalu.
Estonia is represented in Australia by its honorary consuls Anu van Hattem, Honorary Consul in Perth in Western Australia, and Villiam Tõnisson, Honorary Consul in Brisbane.
Concerning political matters, Australia is represented in Estonia by the Embassy of the Commonwealth of Australia in Stockholm. Australian ambassadors to Estonia have been Ambassador Robert Stuart Merrillees until 1996, Ambassador Judith Patricia Pead from 1996-1998, Ambassador Stephen Christopher Brady from 1999-2002, Ambassador Richard Rowe from 2003-2007, and Ambassador Howard Craig Brown from 2007-2010. The new Australian Ambassador Paul Wesley Stephens presented his credentials to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves on 19 February 2010. Visa and immigration matters are covered by Australia's Embassy in Berlin. Australia also has an honorary consul in Estonia, Mati Peekmaa (residing in Tallinn).
|November 2011||Foreign Minister Urmas Paet|
|April 2009||Foreign Minister Urmas Paet|
|March 2008||A delegation of the Riigikogu and Speaker of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma|
|April 2000||A delegation of the Riigikogu and Speaker of the Riigikogu Toomas Savi|
|April 2002||Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock's private visit|
|May 2000||Minister of Environment Senator Robert Hill's private visit|
The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Estonia and the Government of Australia Relating to Working Holiday Visas was concluded on 20.05.2005.
Goods exchange with Australia has been unstable over the past few years, especially in terms of Estonia’s exports to Australia. However, the balance has always been positive for Estonia. Primary export articles are wood and wood products (about 2/3 of exports), machinery and equipment, prepared foods, and measuring equipment. Imports mainly consist of machinery and equipment, alcoholic beverages, and measuring equipment.
ent made up 70.2%, prepared foods 14.4%, and optical, photo and medical devices 6.8%.
Estonian – Australian trade in 2004 – 2011 (in millions EUR)
|2011/ 9 months||19.3||7.0||12.3|
Source: Statistical Office of Estonia
Australian companies have made relatively few direct investments in Estonia. According to the Bank of Estonia, as of 30 June 2011 Australian direct investments in Estonia totalled 3.9 million euros. As of the same date, Estonian investments in Australia totalled 0.9 million euros.
Estonian culture has been introduced in Australia by many Estonian artists and musicians, including the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste, Camerata Tallinn, Ellerhein choir, pianists Tanel Joamets and Toomas Vana, composer Arvo Pärt – honorary doctor of Sydney University – the Pärnu theatre "Endla", the Tallinn University of Technology Men’s Choir, conductor Neeme Järvi and the oratorio "Jonah's Mission", and others. The most recent major cultural event to take place was the Erkki-Sven Tüür concert in Sydney on 19 November 2011.
In 2003 the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Arvo Volmer, Olari Elts and Kristjan Järvi (for a total of 12 concerts). Arvo Volmer has been the music director of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra since 2004. In the summer of 2010 his production of Puccini’s opera “The Girl of the Golden West” debuted at the Sydney Opera.
The Jõgeva folklore group “Jõgevahe pere” performed in Australia in December of 2005 and January of 2006. The group R.A.A.A.M. performed their show “Külmetava kunstniku portree” (“Portrait of the Freezing Artist”), about the life of K. Mägi, in Australia in February of 2007.
In 2009 Endel Jõgi-Rivers gave a performance at the KUMU art museum; he has earned a reputation as Australia’s best fusion guitarist. In addition to multiple music events, many Australian films have also been seen during the Black Night Film Festival.
In 2000, the 27th Summer Olympics and the 11th Special Olympics took place in Sydney, where Erki Nool won the gold medal in the decathlon and Indrek Pertelson and Aleksei Budõlin won bronze medals in judo. At the Special Olympics, Sirly Tiik won one gold medal and two bronze medals in track and field, Marge Kõrkjas won a silver medal in freestyle swimming, and Janne Mugame won a silver medal in the backstroke.
Estonians in Australia
Culture historian Valdemar Vilder, who lives in Sydney, discovered that three Estonian sailors were on board one of the first European vessels to visit Australia back in 1697. Barent Jans from Tallinn and Martinus Stypen and Christian Clajus from Tartu served under Captain Willem de Valminagh.
Records show that the first Estonians settled in Australia in 1853. The first Estonian Society was established in Melbourne in 1914. People settled primarily around Sydney, where two Estonian societies (that later merged) were established in the 1920s. The first displaced persons of World War II arrived in 1947 (142 Estonians).
Number of persons born in Estonia residing in Australia
(9322 Latvians, 4591 Lithuanians)
According to the 1986 census, there were 6 334 residents of Estonian ancestry in Australia, in 1996 the number was 7 537, and 2006 census reported the number as 8 232. Australia has the sixth largest Estonian community after Finland, Russia, Sweden, Canada, and the USA. Sir Arvi Parbo, the mining magnate, is one of the most well-known Estonians in Australia.
The largest Estonian communities are in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne, which also have Estonian community houses. In Thirlmere, which is located near Sydney, there is an Estonian village that was established in 1924. Estonian culture days have been held in Australia on 13 occasions during the period 1954-1986. In 1988, the world Estonian festival ESTO'88 was organised in Australia. "Forest universities" (“Metsaülikoolid”) have been held yearly since 1971. Estonians have one regularly published newspaper in Australia - "Meie Kodu" (“Our Home”). The Estonian Archives in Australia, located in Sydney, were established in 1952 and hold the vast majority of all printed Estonian works that were published outside of Estonia following World War II.
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