Although Afghans without camels are reported to have reached Australia as early as 1838, in the latter part of the 19th century several thousand men from Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Kashmir, Sind, Rajasthan, Egypt, Persia, Turkey and Punjab, but collectively known as "Afghans", were recruited during initial British development of the Australian Outback, especially for the operation of camel trains in desert areas. The first Afghan cameleers arrived in Melbourne in June 1860, when three men arrived with a shipment of 24 camels for the Burke and Wills expedition. They continued to work in the arid interior of the continent from the 1860s to the 1930s, until finally being superseded by the development of railways and motorised road transport. The Afghans played an important supportive role in the exploration and economic development of the interior through carting water, food and materials to remote pastoral stations and mining settlements, as well as for the construction of the Overland Telegraph, and the Port Augusta to Alice Springs railway. They also had an important role in establishing the Muslim faith in Australia.
Prior to 1979, approximately 149 Afghans came to Australia for educational purposes. During the 1980s Soviet–Afghan War and the 1990s civil war, over 7,000 Afghans arrived in Australia. The Afghan Australian community has produced a sizable number of individuals notable in many fields, including law, medicine, engineering, teaching and business.
In Sydney, the largest portion of Afghan Australians reside in the LGAs of City of Ryde (North Ryde, Macquarie Park, Marsfield, and Top Ryde), The Hills Shire (Castle Hill, Cherrybrook, and Kellyville), Blacktown (Glenwood, Parklea, Stanhope Gardens and Bella Vista) and Sutherland Shire (Miranda). Ethnic Hazaras are believed to reside in suburbs such as Auburn and Merrylands.
In Melbourne the majority of Afghans live in Greater Dandenong and Casey. The recent arrival of Afghan asylum seekers by boat has changed the demography of the Afghan Australian community in a significant way. Once only a tiny minority, Hazaras are now more common among the Afghan Australian community in all major cities and small country towns such as Shepparton, Mildura and Swan Hill in Victoria and Griffith in NSW.
Smaller communities of Afghans are also found in Brisbane and Perth. Australian residents at the time of the 2006 Census who were born in Afghanistan arrived mostly in the 1990s (7,707) and since 2000 (8,554). Very few had arrived before 1979 (149). 9,356 (56%) had acquired Australian citizenship.
In Sydney there are several mosques to which Afghans gather, one located in North Ryde, New South Wales and another located in Blacktown, New South Wales.[dubious ] The Blacktown Mosque is going under reconstruction and will possibly close, due to the small Afghan population in the area. The Mosque may most likely move to Kellyville.
In Sydney there are two Saturday schools for Afghan Australian youths:
- Esteqlal Afghan Saturday School located at Castle Hill Library.
- Top Ryde Persian Saturday School located at Ryde Public School.
Most Afghan Australians are fluent in English and their native Afghan languages (see Languages of Afghanistan).
Islam is the declared religion of most Afghan Australians. Additionally, there is a small minority of Christians.  The Afghans have a long history in Australia. They built many mosques for worship in Australia and the first mosque was also built by the Afghan cameleers in the 19th century. Also, on the 3rdrd of May 2014, the largest Afghan mosque was inaugurated in Blacktown, Sydney.
- Kubra Ali
- Saad Mohseni
- Yalda Hakim
- Hussain Sadiqi
- Mustafa Amini
- Amin Saikal
- Mahmoud Saikal
- Rasul Amin
- Nazir Dawar
- Sayar Dehsabzi
- Afghan (Australia) - Muslim camel drivers who worked in outback Australia from the 1860s to the 1930s
- Hazara Australians
- "2016 QuickStats Country of Birth". quickstats.censusdata.abs.gov.au. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
- "2914.0.55.002 2006 Census Ethnic Media Package" (Excel download). Census Dictionary, 2006 (cat.no 2901.0). Australian Bureau of Statistics. 27 June 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2008.
- "20680-Country of Birth of Person (full classification list) by Sex - Australia" (Microsoft Excel download). 2006 census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2 June 2008. Total count of persons: 19,855,288.
- "20680-Ancestry (full classification list) by Sex - Australia" (Microsoft Excel download). 2006 census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2 June 2008. Total responses: 25,451,383 for total count of persons: 19,855,288.
- Flinders Range Research - The Afghan Camelmen
- australia.gov.au > About Australia > Australian Stories > Afghan cameleers in Australia Archived 15 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 8 May 2014.
- "Opening ceremony of Afghan's Blacktown mosque". SBS Your Language. Retrieved 16 March 2020.