Saturday, 4 June 2016

Congratulations SA. From Lithuania 1936

In 1936, the Prime Minister of Lithuania, J. Tubelis wrote a congratulary letter to the Hon. R.L Butler, Premier of South Australia on the State centenary. National flags from around the world accompanied the messages of congratulations.

As part of the celebrations, the Centenary Executive Committee of South Australia contacted the State, Federal and British governments to obtain official reques
ts for flags to be sent to the state. These messages were read publicly as each flag was presented to the South Australian Governor and Premier.
As "a colourful and significant gesture of world goodwill", the messages provide a snapshot of international diplomacy in 1936, shortly before World War II would change this political landscape forever.

From State Records of South Australia
SRSA Ref: GRG24/145/1/27

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Pulgis Andiusis, noted writer

18.III. 1907 – 19.XII.1970

Pulgis (Fulgencijus) Andriušis wasorn in Lithuania in the village of Gaidžiai, near Tauragnai in the district of Utena. 
He was a noted writer, literary critic and translator of books and plays.  Andriušis’ short stories are written in an eastern Lithuanian dialect. They abound with descriptions of nature and of peasant life, which is closely tied to nature.  He wrote with humour but without malice of everyday village life, a life he would have experience in his youth. 

In Kaunas he studied literature at the University of Kaunas and also art at the School of Art.  He learned many foreign languages during the course of his studies and his extensive travels in Western Europe and North Africa.

Andriušis began his writing career by contributing articles (as book reviews, drama critiques and essays) to various periodicals.  He continued this throughout his life writing for Australian Lithuanian newspapers and American publications.

He translated two French novels into Lithuanian: namely, R. Dorgeles’ Less Croix de obis and C. Ferere’s La bataille. One of his best translations is the Lithuanian edition of Servants’ Don Quixote, 1943.

From 1944-49 he lived in refugee camps in West Germany. In 1949 he immigrated to Australia with his wife and three children and settled in Adelaide.  His two-year Government contract was with the NSW Railways where he cleaned carriages.  Completing this, in Adelaide he worked in the telegram home office at the then GPO. His all male office attendants couldn’t pronounce his name Pulgis - so they called him Andy instead.

In 1968 he toured the U.S. and Canada, with other Lithuanian writers reciting his works.
Pulgis reciting some of his work
Cover of his Esperanto book

Pulgis published works.

1.       Ir vis dėlto juokimės! (Let us laugh, nevertheless). Feljetonai iš DP camp Gunzenhausen, 1946  Humorous short story

2.       Siuntinėlis iš Amerikos. (A package from America) Donauwörth, 1947 m. Humorous short story.

3.       Anoj pusėj ežero. Lyrinės apysakos. Gunzenhausen, 1947 m., Boston, 1953 m.,

4.       Esperanto kalbos vadovėlis su trumpu žodynėliu. Dilingen–Donau, 1947 m.

5.       Ispanų kalbos gramatika, d. 1, Nürttingen, 1947 m.

6.       Vabalų vestuvės (Insect wedding) Schweinfurt, 1948 m. 2 ed. 1995 m. A children’s story.

7.       Sudiev, kvietkeli“. (Good-by, little flower) Adelaide, 1951 m. A short story - Awarded a prize by the emigrant Lithuanian Writers Association.

8.       Tipelis“. Tipelis (The character).Boston. A humorous novel.

9.       Rojaus vartai (The gate of paradise). London, 1960. Awarded the prize of the emigrant Lithuanian Writers Association.

10.   Daina iš kito galo. (A song sung backwards) London, 1962 m. A feuilleton collection

11.   Blezdingėlės prie Torenso: Lietuvių įsikūrimas Pietų Australijoje 1947–1962 m. Edited with  V. Radzevičius

12.   Purienos po vandeniu (Marsh marigolds under water) London, 1963 m. Short Stories.

13.   Rinktiniai raštai t. 1. Autobiografiniai memuarai. Lyrinės apysakos, Boston, 1968 m.

14.   Rinktiniai Raštai (Outline of selected writings - includes the draft autobiography Septinton įleidus). 1962

15.   Anoj pusėj ežero (On the other side of the lake). Collection of short stories.  This is one of his outstanding lyrical works, awarded the Lithuanian Red Cross prize.

To commemorate 100 years since his birth in 1907, the Friends of the Lithuanian Club Library group in Sydney organised a literary afternoon on 18th November 2007. Mrs Elena Jonaitis introduced the writer and his works to the audience.   You can read more about this event here

You can read a story in English here, romance on a bus,

Andriusis card from a Esperanto conference

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Baltic Convention, Adelaide 1968

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the proclamation of Independence of the Baltic counties in 1918, a Baltic week was held throughout Australia from 1st to 8th of June 1968.  Functions arranged for that week included Remembrance Services and concerts, exhibitions of Art and crafts, Baltic food display and tasking and social evening.

The Baltic convention was held on the 1st June in Adelaide as part of Baltic Week.  Held at Latvian house the convention was attended by 98 delegates (35 Estonians, 35 Latvians and 28 Lithuanians) representing communities in Adelaide Melbourne and Sydney.
Mr A Krausas (Lithuanian member from Melbourne) summed up the aims,
To strengthen the resistance and ties of the Baltic nations in their fight for freedom, culture is the best weapon.

Being without our countries and armies, the only way we ca strive for freedom is through cultural media. 
All three of us working together will have a better chance to be heard and our voices of protest will be stronger.  All of us are suffering the same cruel fate and our countries are smothered by the communist regime.  We must try and save our cultural heritage, so that it does not fade, but make it flourish and grow stronger and more meaningful than ever.

To achieve this we must;
Try to send as many young people as possible to gain higher education.

Try to translate classics and other noteworthy works into each other’s language.
Try to have a chair for Baltic Studies in at least one Australian university.

Parents should teach their children to be proud of their nationality, let the children have a dual nationality, let them assimilate the best to each culture.
Items discussed were how the communities could work together to promote the history and traditions of their countries.  Discussions mentioned the formation of a Baltic Art Association even a of a Baltic arts and crafts museum. 

The convention notes were collated and printed in a booklet.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Lithuanian Armed Forces Day

23 November Kariuomines Diena
Lithuania Armed Forces Day

While the Returned Soldiers Association Ramovė was active in Adelaide, each year the members would gather to commemorate Lithuanian Armed Forces Day on 23rd of November.
Lithuanian Armed Forces Day is commemorated on the 23rd of November the date that the Lithuanian army was initiated in 1918. 

An exert from an article written by Vladas Radzevicius (date unknown) reiterates what was written in the Melbourne Catholic newsletter, ‘Tėviškės Aidai’;

We bow our heads to remember the soldiers who gave their lives for their homeland, so that we may be free. 

We bow our heads that one day we will hear the historic cry, ourageous without fear like our father and forefathers, let us pause before the enemy’s path, let us increase our pace for our mother land, and for the Lithuanian State.

On that day, the time worn soldiers would dress in their best suits, nothing less than tie and jacket.  They stood in straight lines as they once must have as soldiers, watched as a wreath of leaves was placed by the statue that stands at Lithuanian House, to commemorate those who died for the homeland. 
They stood proud and tall as the Lithuanian flag was hoisted and sang the Lithuanian anthem with respect and reverence as only those can, who know the price of freedom.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

World Lithuanian Games – Chicago 1983

As Lithuania was occupied until 1991, exiled Lithuanian communities around the world would endeavour to connect in different ways.  One of these was through sport.  Unable to meet in Lithuania at first, the first World Lithuanian Games were held in Canada in 1978. The games were organised by future Lithuanian president, Vladas Adamkus.

It was a way of uniting the youth and instilling a spirit of national pride.  In 1983, Chicago hosted the games.
The World Lithuanian Days and sport festival was held in Chicago from 25 June to 4 July 1983. A team from Australia was selected to participate and represent all the Lithuanians in Australia.

Antanas Laukaitis was the touring party leader, Treasurer and junior boys basketball coach, Don Atkinson, Men’s section leader Jurgis Karpavicius, women’s section leader Marija Atkinson, coordinator of travel and men’s volleyball coach, Jerry Belkus and Public Relations Nita Wallis.

From Adelaide went;

Eddie Taparauskas and Men’s basketball Manager, Jonas Ignatavičius guard, Petras Urnevičius (basketball), Ramunė Grigonis (basketball), Vanesa Kalninš (basketball), Aleksas Talanskas (basketball).
Mens volleyball
Algis Laurinaitis

Women’s Volleyball
Alius Daniškevičius (Assistant coach)
Dale Laurinaitis
Mile Daniškevičius
Wendy Paulauskas
Robyn Paulauskas
Laima Visockis

Table tennis: Vilija Bone, Ona Bone, Harry Bone

Other sports: Aleksas Merūnas (Manager)
Athletics: Mikas Talanskas (athlectics)
Swimming: Irena Petkunas, Rikardas Baškus

Detroit won gold in the finals against the Australian All-Star team.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Our parish priest

Father Juozas Nikodemas PETRAITIS MIC

Born on July 16th 1922 in Milgaudžius village in the Tauragė region to Juozapas and Marija.  He came from a farming family, the eldest child of four.  Juozas was active in the local church, and at about the age of 10 decided he wanted to be a priest.  He studied at Gaurės primary school, Tauragė High school and the Telšiai seminary.   During the war he moved to the Kaunas seminary.  He was drafted in the Red Army in 1941.   He fled into Germany with his mother, sister and two brothers.  They remained in DP camps, he was able to continue his studies at Eichstatte Seminary.  Following the end of the war, he travelled to Rome to continue his seminary studies.  He studied at the Gregorium and Angelicum University. 
In 1946 he joined the Marian fathers and continued his studies in America, Marina Hills Marion Seminary not far from Chicago.  He was ordained on Ascension Thursday 22 May, 1952 at St Raimund Cathedral.  In 1953 he moved to St Gabriel the Archangel Lithuanian parish, in Milwaukee.  Juozas wanted to further his studies, which he did at Jesuit University of Marquette.  In 1956 he served as parish priest  at St Peters in Kenosha, where he obtained US citizenship.

He served as Chicago as provincial secretary of his order. 
In 1963 he was sent to Argentina, where he learnt Spanish.  He worked at Lithuanian parish of Santa Fe then in 1967 transferred to Aušros Vartos parish in Avellaneda Buenos Aires where he worked for 17 years.

When Adelaide priest, Father Spurgis became ill, Juozas came to Adelaide initially for three months.  He returned to Argentina but was again summoned to help in Adelaide. 
From July 1984, he became the Adelaide priest.  During his time here he also became the Spanish migrant chaplain having learnt Spanish in Argentina.

Father Petraitis served the Adelaide Lithuanian community until the age of 91 when he moved into a nursing home.  He was able to recite the Rosary prayer in five languages, Lithuanian, Latin, German, Spanish and English.  He also spoke passable Italian and Portuguese.
He returned home to Lithuania just once in 1994, for a six week visit.

Ilsekis ramybeje.  

Monday, 21 March 2016

Bicentenary gift to Australia

Artist Ieva Pocius with the statue
Australian Lithuanian Community Bicentenary gift to Australia

A memorial to represent Australia’s welcoming and providing a good life to the migrants.  What will remain to represent Lithuanian life in Australia.  The idea of donating a sculpture by an Australian Lithuanian sculptor was first raised by Dr Ben Vingilis in 1984 and formerly adopted by the Australian Lithuanian Federal Council in 1986.

A committee was established to raise funds and to call for expression of interstate form sculptors.
The artist chosen was Ieva Pocius, well known Adelaide sculptor.  Her piece was based on Eglė the Queen of Serpents which is considered one of the best-known Lithuanian fairy tales. The twelve foot bronze statue stands on a large piece of granite located at Glebe Park, corner of Ballumbir and Akuna Streets, Canberra.
The statue was unveiled by Hon Ros Kelly, M.P Member for Canberra, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel.

Artist: Ieva Pocius
Casted by Bruce Sutherland

Technical advice: Rimas Kabaila and engineer Romas Katauskas
Chairman of the organising committee: Victor Martisius

Artistic Advisor: Eva Kubbos
Publicity: Juras Kovalskis

Finance: Dr Ben Vingilis
Fundraising committee: Augis Zamoiskis (Adelaide)

The story

A young girl named Eglė discovers a serpent in her clothes after bathing with her two sisters. Speaking in a human voice, the serpent agrees to go away only after Eglė pledges herself to him in exchange for his leaving the clothes, not realising the possible consequences. Three days pass, and thousands of serpents come for the bride, but are tricked by her relatives each time. A goose, a sheep and a cow are given instead but the cuckoo warns about the deceit. Enraged serpents return for a final time and take Eglė with them to the bottom of the sea to their master.

Instead of seeing a serpent, Eglė meets her bridegroom Žilvinas, a handsome human - the Serpent Prince. They live together happily and bear four children, until Eglė decides to visit home and her husband denies her permission. In order to be allowed to visit home, Eglė is required to fulfil three impossible tasks: to spin a never-ending tuft of silk, wear down a pair of iron shoes and to bake a pie with no utensils. After she gets advice from the sorceress and succeeds, Žilvinas reluctantly lets Eglė and the children go.

After meeting the long lost family members, Eglė's relatives do not wish to let them back to the sea and decide to kill Žilvinas. His sons are are threatened and beaten by their uncles, in order to try to disclose how to summon their father; however, they remain silent and do not betray him. Finally, a frightened daughter discloses it:"Žilvinas, dear Žilvinas, If you are alive – may the sea foam milk. If you are dead – may the sea foam beblood…"

The twelve brothers call Žilvinas the Serpent from the sea and kill him using scythes.

The worried Eglė calls her husband, but unfortunately only foam of blood comes from the sea. When Eglė discovers that her beloved is dead, as a punishment for betrayal she turns her children and herself into trees - the sons into strong trees, an oak, an ash and a birch, whereas the daughter was turned into a quaking aspen. Finally, Eglė transformed herself into a spruce.