The Swiss began to arrive in Australia just a few years after the founding of the first settlement in the Sydney area in 1788. The first major wave of Swiss immigrants started in 1839 when Charles Joseph La Trobe was appointed Superintendant and subsequently Lieutenant Governor of Victoria. He had married a Swiss woman, Sophie de Montmollin, who accompanied him to Australia. Through his contacts many wine growers from the Neuchâtel region and the Bernese Three Lakes Region began to emigrate, helping to make Victoria an important wine growing region. During the 19th century gold rush some 2,000 prospectors emigrated to Australia from the canton of Ticino.
Towards the end of the 19th century, Australia became more attractive to traders and artisans from German-speaking Switzerland In the second half of the 20th century emigration was at a more individual level. Many of the new arrivals settled in Sydney and Melbourne.
Switzerland opened a consulate in Sydney in 1855 and the following year in Melbourne. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were initiated in 1961, when Switzerland opened an embassy in Australia.
The Australian embassy in Berlin is also accredited to Switzerland. The Australian Consulate General is located in Geneva. In 2012 an honorary consulate was established in Zurich.
Entry in the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (de, fr. it)