Introduction / History The Central Thais are a people group from Thailand and are a part of the people from Thailand living in Australia.
The first famous person from Thailand to come to Australia was Butra Mahintra who was sent by King Rama the sixth in the early 1920s to buy racehorses. Australian connections with royalty from Thailand further came about in 1927 when Prince Purachatra led a group of people to look at agriculture and infrastructure in Australia.
A few more people from Thailand came in the early 1950s when students from Thailand and other parts of Asia came to study in Australia. They were allowed to stay temporarily with exceptions, like those who married Australians. After that, most of the new people from Thailand were students also, as well as marriage partners of Australians and those doing military training through sponsorship.
In the 1980s the number of students from Thailand increased a lot because of Thailand becoming wealthier and also because of the prestige of studying abroad.
What are their lives like? Most of the newcomers from Thailand in 1996-97 immigrated under the Preferential Family category and this included marriage partners and children of people living in Australia. Many of them work in professional, clerical, sales and other jobs. Buddhism is the main religion with them. They have Wats which are temples and these are very important to the Thai people who use them spiritually and also culturally. Many live in Melbourne in the state of Victoria.
Most Thais live in Sydney. Besides Thai, they speak Australian English. Thai Town is a neighborhood in Sydney and also has restaurants and grocery stores. Many Thai festivals are celebrated there.