Shepparton is home for many people from a wide variety of nationalities. One in ten people now living in Shepparton were born overseas.
Albanian migrants were one of the earliest groups to arrive and settle. They began arriving nearly 100 years ago, and now there are over 3000 people in our community who can lay claim to having an Albanian heritage.
The Albanian community is one of Shepparton’s strongest and most established multicultural communities, and the oldest formally recognised Albanian communities in Australia.
Albanians from the Korce region began arriving in Shepparton in the mid 1920s. Albanian migration to Australia before World War II consisted almost entirely of young single men journeying to different parts of the country in search of work. As seasonal labourers, some Albanians found work on farms in rural areas such as Shepparton and in time, they were able to pool sufficient resources to buy small farms of their own.
Albanians in Shepparton maintained their distinct cultural heritage and language by building, in the 1960s, the first mosque in Victoria, and by organising Albanian community events, many of which continue today.
The second wave of migration took place in the mid 1990s. The vast majority of the second wave of migrants were also from Korce, with many arriving because of their long established family contacts in Shepparton.
Since World War II, some Albanian migrants have come from Macedonia or Kosovo, but more than 90% still originate from Korce and its surrounding villages.
While most of the original Albanian migrants worked on the land, they have now moved into all fields of professional, business, and community service life, with all retaining their family and community links with Shepparton.