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  • Irish Australians have played a long and enduring part in Australia's history. Many came to Australia in the eighteenth century as settlers or as convicts, and contributed to Australia's development in many different areas. In the late 19th century about a third of the population in Australia was Irish. There is no definitive figure of the total number of Australians with an Irish background. At the 2011 Census, 2,087,800 residents identified themselves as having Irish ancestry either alone or in combination with another ancestry. This nominated ancestry was third behind English and Australian in terms of the largest number of responses and represents 10.4% of the total population of Australia. However this figure does not include Australians with an Irish background who chose to nominate themselves as 'Australian' or other ancestries. The Australian Embassy in Dublin states that up to 30 percent of the population claim some degree of Irish ancestry. Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke has said: "... apart from Ireland, Australia is more Irish than any other country.