Maltese Identity in Australia - What Future?
Author: Dr. Barry York
The Third Generation
Perhaps the future really rests with the third generation, some of whom are now in their teens. Professor Frank Jones, of the Australian National University, published a descriptive overview of the 1986 Australian census findings on ancestry and estimated the strength of the Maltese-Australian third generation at about 9,500. The extent of Maltese identity among the third generation is yet to be tested but I have the impression, just from talking to others with an interest in this subject, that the third generation may be more receptive than their parents to certain features of Maltese culture. For the second-generation Maltese-Australians, it was not always easy to grow up displaying a Maltese identity of any kind. Peer pressure, as much as the institutionalised prejudices arising from the philosophy of assimilationism, made it much easier to pretend to be a dinky-di Anglo- or Celtic-Australian. In Melbourne, where I grew up, it was more acceptable to support Aussie Rules football than soccer, for example. Of course, there was no shortage of soccer teams because there was no shortage of settlers from overseas in the suburb of Brunswick, where I grew up, and in Northcote, where I went to high school.