History of ALHSV

Background

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The Lebanese presence in has been achieved through three successive waves: the first from around 1880 to the 1920s, the second from 1947 to 1975, and the third from 1976, which marked the beginning of the Civil War in Lebanon, to the present. The period following the Civil War has seen a reduction in Lebanese migration to Australia and a significant rise in the number of short-term return visits to Lebanon. This reflects release of the pent-up demand for a return to Lebanon after the Civil War.

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Occupations and Education

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Significant differences may be perceived in the occupational pathways of each of the three waves. The occupational path of the first group moved over a long period, through the stages of hawking, shop-keeping, working in manufacturing industries, through to professional and managerial positions. The pathway of second wave immigrants was marked by movement from working in manufacturing industries to ownership of small businesses, then to larger businesses in the service sector.

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Lebanese Community Organizations

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The last ten years have witnessed a consolidation and increase in the number and diversity of organisations that serve the Lebanese community. These include churches and mosques, educational and welfare bodies, village associations, political organisations, media outlets, and cultural and sporting bodies. Some of these organisations are solely or predominantly for Lebanese Australians while others serve the wider Arabic community.

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The last ten years have brought about considerable changes in the range of media available to Arabic speakers, including Lebanese, in Australia. The four major Lebanese newspapers are published in Sydney with small sections dedicated to Melbourne community news and advertising. The oldest Arabic newspaper is the El Telegraph, which is politically neutral. Al Bairak started as a Lebanese leftist paper and although its prime motivation is commercial, it still retains something of its original orientation.

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A number of continuities may be discerned in the Lebanese community in Australia over the 10 years since the end of the Civil War. First, there is continuing extreme diversity in the Lebanese community as illustrated by the proliferation of community organisations of many types and the problems experienced by the ALA to perform its umbrella role for the whole community.

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