Sunday, 9 March 2008

Lithuanians in Peterborough

John Mannion at the State History Conference 2007, presented a paper entitled "A largely forgotten story". It lookes at Peterborough and post WWII migrants to the town. In the paper he placed this exert from the Railway Institute magazine May/June 1973.
The image on the right is of J Donela and Kaminskas in front of the coal gentry at Peterborough 1948/49. (From the Adelaide Lithuanian Archives)

With Mr. and Mrs. Allen Ind at the migrant hostel established in Peterborough, where these lads were first encamped in tents and later in rooms of more solid construction, it is recalled the young Firemen sitting up late at nights drinking coffee to help keep them awake so that they could pursue their study of the language and the instruction papers necessary to qualify as Firemen and Porters. Some of the older Enginemen [Australian] found it hard to converse and understand the young migrants and some of the young migrants found it hard to understand just what the Enginemen were thinking, but mostly it was a happy association which extended for many years afterwards. Today we have a lot of those Baltic migrants listed among our senior staff members in the Loco and Traffic Running, and among the Station Masters' ranks. In the early days most migrants wore gloves on their hands when doing hard and dirty work and the reward for this was apparent when some of them left the Railways and went into other positions, and some into their own businesses. The talented boys were pleased that they had protected their hands and fingers to equip them for delicate work in future life.

The full paper can be accessed from the History Trust website http://www.history.sa.gov.au/chu/programs/history_conference.htm

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