Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Balys Dičiūnas

Balys Dičiūnas

ALB Adelaide Committee vice-president, Lithuanian Caritas vice president, Lituania choir patron and an active member of almost every other Lithuanian group in Adelaide.
He was one for the first to organise the Young Christian group and assisted in their summer camps.

His truck was a real asset to the community, one which Balys was extremely generous in using it for the community’s needs.  Travels to and from scout camps, when the school needed a Christmas tree, Balys found one, cut it down and transported it to the school.   His time and truck were donated for free.

He was well known for his putting his head down and working hard.  He worked tirelessly on the Adelaide Lithuanian Church’s Christies beach property, building fences, sports area, levelling the site, creating a garden and path and planting the lawn.

Article on Balys Dičiūnas as he celebrated his 50th Birthday (Teviskes Aidai 24 Gruodzio 1958.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

In memory of Romas Kalanta

Romas Kalanta (February 22, 1953 – May 15, 1972) was a Lithuanian high school student known for his public self-immolation protesting Soviet regime in Lithuania. Kalanta's death provoked the largest post-war riots in Lithuania and inspired similar self-immolations.
Kalanta became a symbol of the Lithuanian resistance throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

At noon on May 14, 1972, Kalanta poured 3 litres of petrol on himself and set himself on fire in the square adjoining the Laisvės Alėja in front of the Kaunas Musical Theatre, where in 1940 the People's Seimas declared establishment of the Lithuanian SSR and petitioned the Soviet Union to admit Lithuania as one of the soviet socialist republics.  He died about 14 hours later in a hospital.  Before the suicide, Kalanta left his notebook with a brief note on a bench. Its content became known only after the declaration of independence in 1990 and opening up of secret KGB archives. The note read "blame only the regime for my death.

After his death rumours spread that a few of his classmates formed a patriot group, and that they held a lottery to determine which of them would have to carry out the mission. The official Soviet propaganda claimed that Kalanta was mentally ill.

In 1982, an advertisement was inserted into the Advertiser by  V. Stalba, a member of the Adelaide Lithuanian community.

Kalanta Romas: In memory of Romas Kalanta who 10 years ago, died in Kaunas Lithuania, in protest of Soviet Russia’s oppression of all human rights of his people.  Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed and will always be remembered.

The Adelaide Lithuanian community produced a small brass plaque in Kalanta's honour, which was blessed by the priest in a ceremony that brought together many members of the community. The plaque is located in the Adelaide Lithuanian Museum. The plaque can be seen in the photograph above.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Flying Officer Karpys

Antanas was born on 2 Jan 1938 in Taraugė.  He arrived with his parents Domas and Kaze and brothers Tomas and Victoras.  They arrived at Sydney on the Protea 25 March 1949.  

Antanas enlisted in the RAAF, and was attached to the 76th Squadron, as a Flying Officer.

Flying Officer Antanas Karpys, was killed instantly when his Mirage crashed during aerobatic manoeuvres near the base on 29 September 1967, aged just 29 years.
The Mirage jet crashed 60 feet from the married quarters at Williamtown Air Base, disintegrating into what searchers described as "a million pieces".

Karpys was doing a series of solo stunts at 500 feet when the jet broke up on its 500 up on third roll, brushing trees and TV aerials on houses in the quarters where he had lived.

The RAAF inquiry team searched the crash area for pieces of the $2.4 million aircraft, which cut a swathe 80 yards by 700 yards north east of the base.  Since their introduction to the RAAF in 1964, five Mirage aircraft have crashed and two pilots, including Flying Officer Karpys, killed. Another Mirage crashed at the end of the month, but fortunately the pilot was ejected from the plane and survived. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Record launch for Vaskas

On 3 August 1969, at the St Casimir church hall, Genovaitė launched her USA produced record. It was the first record launch for the Adelaide Lithuanian community and 120 people attended.  The table were beautiful laid with tablecloths on which was placed hot tea and coffee and cake.  On a long table to the side of the hall a table was used to display Genė’s programs from her concerts, over 100. If one was to place programs from every appearance of the singer in the last 20 years, there would be several hundred on display. 

The evening began with J. Stepanas saying a few words.  A congratulatory telegram was then read, sent by Australian Community President Narušys.  Adelaide Lithuanian Cultural committee president Petkunienė also spoke.   Pranas Pusdešris also spoke of Genė’s talents and read several comments made after several of her performances. 

The record has eleven songs, of which three were recorded live.  The men’s octet Klajunai sang a cheer for their director. 

Genė sang two songs on the evening.

 MP 1969 rugp 19.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Father Spurgis

Budriene and Father Spurgis
The second Catholic priest to minister to the Adelaide Lithuanians was Father Albinas Spurgis.  He was born September 6th in 1907 in Panevežys.  He attended the Ukmergė school and later the Seminary in Kaunas.  He was ordained a priest on June 23rd 1932.  From 1932 he spent two years at St Peters and Paul’s church in Panevežys and three years in Panevežys cathedral. From July 1938 he was at the Gelažių parish and Simonys. From December 12th 1943 he held the office of the Dean of Kupiškas.

He left Lithuania in 1944 and made his way to Germany, Oberfalce in Bavaria in the town of Weiden, where he assisted the church.  He established a Lithuania camp where he was the chaplain and Weiden Lithuanian school director.

He emigrated to the USA in 1949 and lived in Cleveland in the St Joseph’s church.  He was here for four years.  In 1953 he left for Rome and entered the Marian congregation, where he remained for  two years.  He returned to Chicago and entered pastoral work and travelled to Lithuanian congregations.  In 1958 he was appointed to the Marian newspaper “Friends’.

In 1969 he arrived in Adelaide and became the second Catholic priest for St Casmir’s.  He arrived on 27 November to a community meal with 60 parish members present.   During the evening Father Spurgis told those present that he had heard alot about the Adelaide community in Chicago, mainly from J. Bačunas and Bishop V. Brizgys

Father Spurgis died on 7th October 1985 10 07 in Adelaide.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The first year of the Adelaide Lithuanian Women's Catholic Society

1961, the Lithuanian Catholic Women's society had been active for one year.  This is their first annual report.
Father Kungys, centre with members of the Adelaide Lithuanian Catholic society

St Joseph's and later St casimir church decorations and cleaning.  Flowers for the church with a roster ending at Christmas for the year.

Catering for the St Casimir volunteer workers.  From 3 March 1960 to 16 April 1961 they organised 35 lunches, feeding over 500 volunteers.

Organised Father Kungys 15 year jubilee as a priest.

Buffets prepared for various balls throughout the year, Sunday Voice newsletter ball, SA Lithuanian Catholics Ball, St Casimir’s opening of the church where over 200 people attended.

Together with parents organised supper for children receiving their first communion.
Supper for the school children end of year program.  Tea, coffee and snacks for the break during Lithuanian school.

Community Christmas Eve meal where 83 people attended.

Organised church clothing, including, 6 chasubles, alter and tabernacle, coverings for the altar, cross and statue.

The women collected 8 packages of donated clothes and footwear to be sent for the clergy at the St Casimir seminary, Rome.

The women’s committee members attended the Australian Lithuanian Catholic gathering.
The years earnings was £748.14.4 of which over half was used to purchase food and befet furniture.  Treasuer was A. Mainelienė.

A new committee was elected, A. Mainelienė, E. Kervelienė, S. Pusdešrienė, M. Gerulatienė, A. Uldukienė, G. Opulskienė, K. Dičiūnienė.

Teviskes Aidai 1961 gegužes 9d. Nr 18

Friday, 13 June 2014

Annual remembrance of Baltic holocaust

The Baltic people in Australia have never forgotten the mass deportations of their countrymen in 1941.  Each year around the anniversary of the deportations the Estonian, Lithuanian and Latvian communities come together to remember.  

It continues today, the 62nd annual commemoration service and concert to be held at St Peter;s Latvian Hall on Sunday 15th June 2014 at 3:00pm.