In days gone by French was the dominant foreign language taught in Australian schools. After all it was the official ‘diplomatic language’ and thus on all our passports.
As time progressed and immigration increased we saw Italian emerge. German came back as people became more detached from WW2 and re-embraced the heritage resulting from large 19th century influxes of Germans to South Australia. Likewise as Japan increased its importance as a trading partner Japanese became a leader in popularity, helped along by introducing Japanese as an option at primary schools.
Time marches on and we see the rise of interest in the language of our largest neighbour, Indonesia and then the worlds most prevalent language Mandarin.
This graphic neatly illustrates popularity overall and each state’s preferences.