Muslims in Australia have a long and varied history that is thought to predate European settlement. Some of Australia’s earliest visitors were Muslim, from the east Indonesian archipelago. Muslims from Indonesia have been coming to Australia for many years, they made contact with indigenous Australians as early as the 16th and 17th centuries.
Evidence of these early visitors can be found in the similarity of certain words that occur in the language of the Macassarese and of the coastal Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal cave paintings depict the traditional Makassar vessels or ‘prau” and a number of Macassan artefacts have been found in Aboriginal settlements on the west and north coasts of Australia. Marriages between Indigenous people and Macassarese are believed to have taken place, and Macassan grave sites have been found along the coastline.