Person: Selim Azar

Selim Azar




Arrival In Australia:

Years Lived In Brisbane:

Date Of Naturalization:

Year Of Birth:

Place Of Death:

Date Of Death:

Residential Address

  • Type of Location: General Store/Residence
    Address: 77 Grey Street, South Brisbane
  • Type of Location: Family residence
    Address: 15 Manning Street, South Brisbane


  • Marriage Date: 18/10/1906
    Birthplace of spouse: Zahle, Syria/Lebanon
    Heritage of spouse: Syrian/Lebanese
    Place of marriage: Brisbane


When he applied for naturalization in 1907, Salim Azar had lived in Australia for 18 years. After spending about six years in New South Wales, he came to Brisbane in about 1897 and South Brisbane was his definitive home. Initially working as a hawker, after he married Regina Lutvey in 1906, they bought a store in Grey Street South Brisbane which they operated for many years.
Despite being described as a person of ‘good character’ who was ‘temperate in his habits’ and ‘a desirable citizen of the state’, Salim was refused naturalization. It is clear from his application, Salim understood Syrians were excluded from naturalization. However, although he stated Constantinople as his birthplace, it was reported he was actually a Syrian. As to whether he was a coloured person, he was described as ‘the ordinary colour of the Syrian, but not what I would ‘term a coloured man’. In a second application in October 1908, Salim stated his birthplace as Constantinople, European Turkey. After inquiries regarding the progress of his application from the Hon. J. G. Apel MLA, Minister for Works and also Colonel, the Hon. J F.G Foxton C. M. G, Parliament House Melbourne, his application was granted in 1909.
An educated person, Salim was literate in both English and Arabic and traded under the name Harry Dann. In 1901 he acted as an interpreter at a trail involving Syrians at the South Brisbane Court.
Salim and Regina had five children. They were given both and English and Arabic name. Pearley died aged three in 1910 when she was ‘run over and killed by a horse drawn milk cart’ (King, p. 85). The newspaper reported that it was her twin sister, Violet who had been knocked down by the cart.
Salim and Regina’s two sons both served in the Australian armed forces in World War Two. Both survived the war, but Joseph’s injuries limited his ability to work (King p. 86).


NAA: A659, 1943/1/6000, Azar, Salim – Naturalization
Carmel King, A New Beginning (Brisbane: Author, 1994), pp. 85-87.
‘Knocked Down by a Cart.’ Brisbane Courier, 19 August 1910, p. 4. , viewed 6 Aug 2021,
1943 ‘Honour Roll’, Courier-Mail (Brisbane), 2 February 1943, p. 4. , viewed 6 Aug 2021,