BLUF

It’s still a sub-culture, but vegetarianism as a lifestyle choice has been in Australia for almost two hundred years.

Summary

While Australia's vegetarian movement dates back almost as far as the arrival of Europeans, the global roots of vegetarianism go back many thousands of years. Australia's First Nations people had traditionally consumed a plant-based diet of approximately 30 to 90 per cent of their total food intake, depending on where they lived. As a cultural or religious choice, vegetarianism was first introduced to Australia by the Swedenborgians who arrived here in the 1830s. Other religious groups who practised vegetarianism soon followed. At this time, meat was a central part of every European Australian's meal, thanks to an abundance of sheep. However, by the 1930s, it was no longer just the religious pushing vegetarianism. The free-body culture movement, or Freikörperkultur, was making its way into Australia, and Australian swimmer and Hollywood film star Annette Kellerman enthusiastically advocated vegetarianism. When the counterculture movement hit Australia in the 1960s and 70s, there was a large swing towards vegetarian food. And unlike many other 70s trends, vegetarianism has stuck around.