Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Šaruno Marciulionio Basketball Academy

Basketball to a Lithuanian is known as the second religion.  Australian Lithuanians also embraced the love of this sport, so much so that when a youth basketball team from Šaruno Marciulionio Basketball Academy came to Australia in 1990 it was a big deal. 

A boy’s youth team arrived in Adelaide on 11 March with their sponsors and Zita Mačiulionyte, Šarunas’ sister.  They arrived to Adelaide heat, maybe not hot for those who grew up here but coming from Lithuania the 35 degrees would have been felt.  Aged between 16-18 years the team played several games in Adelaide against the SA Sports Institute.  The first game was won by the Lithuanians by 4 points, 71-67. The second game held on the 13th at Seymour College which they won, 90-79.  The third and final game began poorly for the Lithuanians, being 14 points behind before they scored.  They pulled together and again managed to win 78-69.  The Lithuanians played a friendly match against Adelaide Vytis again winning.  Following the game, the players returned to Lithuanian house for a meal and camaraderie with the Adelaide community members.
On the 15th, Adelaide bid goodbye to the team as they caught a bus to Sydney. 
I can remember the tshirts and pendants given out by the players, orange and black featuring an eagle. Like the one below for the Academy’s opening in Vilnius.  The Academy is still running.

Š. Marčiulionis is one of the best Lithuanian basketball players of all time. He was a first player to go to the NBA from the Soviet Union, and one of the first European players to enter the NBA. Šarūnas is a cavalier of the 1st, 3rd and 4th Order of Vytautas the Great, and Order of the Badge of Honour.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Kaminskas poet from Kaunas

Kazys Kaminskas amongst other things was a poet.  He married and raised a family in Adelaide after arriving heer after WWII.  His poetry was often printed in the Adelaide Catholic newsletter.

Forced to leave one’s homeland would have broken many hearts and ending up under a foreign land, different language, culture, landscape was too different for some. His poems often mentioned his beloved homeland, his childhood memories of growing up near the banks of the river Nemunas and his parents.  His book is titled ‘Po svetimu dangum’ ‘Under foreign skies’ published in Adelaide in 1981. 
Tėvynėje liko lyg sapnas praeitis:
Jau pradingo jaunystės dienos ir laimė,
Beliko tik svajoniu žiedai,
O mano gimtąjį kaimą
Aplanko tik ilgesio sapnai.

As fate unfolded, he actually passed away in Lithuania, fortunate to see his beloved homeland free once again. He once wrote in a poem about death, ‘Mano kūno pelenis svetiname krašte’ (my ashes will be in a foreign land).  I think he would be happy they weren't.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Clothes and Shoes to Germany

In 1954, the Adelaide Lithuanian community was still sending clothes and shoes back to Germany.  Destined for Father Vaclovas Šarka in Hamburg, the boxes were to be distributed to Lithuanians residing in Germany, but who do not reside in cities and do not receive BALF packages (United Lithuanian Relief Fund of America (Bendras Amerikos Lietuvių Fondas A Šalpos)  (BALFAS).  These Lithuanians often live far from the larger Lithuanian communities in DP camps and are hard to reach and sometimes forgotten.

Father Šarka wrote to the community thanking them for their generous contribution and that material from Australia lessens their need and strengthen their spirit.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Literature Afternoons

First Adelaide Literature evening was held on the 30th May 1954 in the Catholic Cathedral hall in Wakefield Street.

The session were conducted by Pulgis Andriušis, Pranas Pušdešris, Leonas Pakalnis from work that had not been published before.
The first half featured serious reading from B. Brazdžionis poetry.  The second half was a selection of humourist readings.  A  pianist, M. Martinkienė provided some musical interlude.  It was organised by the Lietuvių Mokyklos Tevių Komitetas (Lithuanian School Parents Committee).

After this, weekly literature afternoons were held, organised by the ALB on Sundays after lunch.  It featured readings, discussions and a musical hour.   These were held in St Joseph’s church hall.
Topics included a talk by Antanas Rukštelė on Lithuanian press and the path to independence.  Jonas Lapšys gave a talk on Lithuanian shipping, Stasys Čibiras spoke on leased property acquisition in Australia, Dr Šešokas spoke on consumption and its treatment.  Father Jatulis spoke about the Australian Aborigines.

Monday, 18 July 2016

A blazing flag

Flags afire
Burning a country's flag is seen as a hostile action, displaying disrespect to the country.  It is often at demonstrations that this is done, giving the occasion a dramatic show.

In 1972, Adelaide Lithuanians burnt a Russian flag on the steps of Lithuanian House.  As the flames three feet high engulfed the flag, Lithuanians sang the Lithuanian National Anthem.   The flag burning came at the end of a city demonstration by Lithuanians in tribute to Romas Kalanta who burnt himself to death in Kaunas in opposition to Russian occupation. 
About 600 people packed into 150 cars for the motorcade demonstration through the city streets. Most cars carried banners decrying Russian opposition.

On the steps of Lithuanian House, Zita Bielskis, Rasa Kubilius and Jura Vitkunas poured petrol over the flag while Linas Varnas set fire to it.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Annual Marian Procession

An annual Marian procession is led by Adelaide Archbishop in honour of St. Mary.  Held each May, a procession from Rostrevor College oval of Catholic priests and church members would walk to the Catholic seminary at Rostrevor. 
Lithuanian members would dress in their traditional National costumes, singing hymns and carrying the hand made banner of Mary. The banner when not in use hangs in the St Casimir chapel by the baptistery. 

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