More Brazilians calling Gold Coast home, bringing splashes of Carnaval, music, culture – ABC News

They are a small but surging community, with a tangible presence.  

In 2011, just 740 Brazilians were living on the Gold Coast, according to available census data.

That jumped to about 2,000 within five years — one of the fastest growth rates of any nationality.

While the pandemic put a pause on that growth, it’s likely even more Brazilians will decide to call the Gold Coast home as borders reopen.

So why have so many made the move?

three men in black shirts smiling

Rodrigo Ferraz, Daniel Oliveira and Gustavo Cominese helped bring Carnaval to the Gold Coast.(ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale)

‘Far from home’

Daniel Oliveira moved to Australia from São Paulo — a city of 12 million people — more than a decade ago.

“São Paulo is a place where you can find everything, everywhere. Anytime of day or night, you can find food, music, party,” he said.

Mr Oliveira said he organised this year’s Carnaval celebration for the Gold Coast’s Brazilian community to “share the love, the good vibes, the good music that we have”.

woman dancing in bright colours

A samba dancer at the 2022 Carnaval on the Gold Coast.(ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale)

“We’re really far from home,” he said.

“When we put all this together and bring many different kinds of music that we have in Brazil to here, and the community comes to enjoy that and celebrate with us, I think they go home fulfilled and they don’t have that longing anymore.

“Even though we bring a lot here, it’s still not Brazil.”

‘It’s safe in Australia’

Gustavo Cominese works as a career counsellor, helping travelling Brazilians to find work and education opportunities on the Gold Coast.

two young women smiling

Alexia, left, with a friend, says she feels safe in Australia. (ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale)

“During the years, the number of Brazilian students coming to the Gold Coast has increased,” he said.

“The people, it’s very similar, people are very friendly.”

Alexia, who grew up in the Amazon region, has lived on the Gold Coast for three years.

“I do feel like it’s safe here in Australia and I just find we have way more opportunities in Australia,” she said.

man with silver hat

The Brazilian population’s growth rate on the Gold Coast is among the fastest of any nationality.(ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale)

“This is a country [that] pretty much makes me feel like I am in Brazil sometimes because we have a big community.”

She hopes to have her veterinarian qualifications recognised in Australia.

Mr Cominese said other factors, including the city’s three universities and multiple English-language schools, made the Gold Coast an attractive option for Brazilians thinking of moving.

“The Gold Coast is an amazing destination if you want to come to Australia and study English, get into education, and expand your knowledge and skills,” he said.

a woman in feathered headdress and sparkly leotard in a street parade

Many young Brazilian people move to the Gold Coast for the beach culture and education.(ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale)

‘We’re a strong community’

Talyta Rodrigues said she moved to the Gold Coast to start a family with her husband.

“We [Brazilians] are really friendly people, we love to help each other, we love to party,” she said.

Ms Rodrigues said the community stayed in touch using groups on Facebook.

two women hugging

Carnaval celebrations on the Gold Coast have grown over the years.(ABC Gold Coast: Dominic Cansdale)

Mr Oliveira said, although the pandemic had curbed many social activities, the tight-knit community had found ways to evolve across the city.

“We’re a pretty strong community … you can go to different places, meet different people, and they are all in a way linked to each other,” he said.