Between 1901 and the beginning of World War II, approximately 700,000 new settlers arrived and Australia’s population grew to around seven million. Among these new settlers were young Albanian and Bosnian Muslims whose European heritage made them more compatible with the White Australia Policy. Travel documents and personal declarations are held in the National Archives of Australia, and reveal that they were mainly under 30 years of age, and were from unskilled jobs, such as ploughmen and farmers.
The earliest record of immigrants from the Balkans region (which includes both Albanians and Bosnians) comes in 1854 from the Ballarat, Victoria goldfields. The 1933 Australian census suggests that there were over 7000 Yugoslav (Balkan) born people in Australia. This figure however, makes no distinction between Muslim and non-Muslim, and in 1921 we know that there were fewer than 3,000 Muslims living in Australia. However, throughout the 1920’s more than 1000 Albanian men migrated to Australia. Many worked in the farming and sugar industries in North Queensland. Mareeba, near Cairns, is home to one of the oldest surviving continually used mosques in Queensland, built by Albanian farmers. Some of the Albanian community in the Mareeba area are now fifth and sixth generation Australians.
In Western Australia, Albanians settled as farmers in the wheat and sheep areas of York and Northam or as market gardeners nearer to Freemantle, and sent for their fiancés or brides to join them. For Eid festivities, the men and their families would drive down to the Perth Mosque, founded in 1905, and join together with the small community of Muslims from Pakistan, Malaysia, Bosnia and elsewhere.
The first mosque in America was built by Albanian Muslims in 1915 in Maine. By 1919, they had established another mosque in Connecticut.