Sunday, 13 July 2008

Leigh Creek

One of the first Displaced Persons (DP’s) to arrive in Leigh Creek was Andrius Bajorunas. He came from Lithuania via the Bathurst Army Barracks in July 1948. Because of the housing shortage at Leigh Creek he was most welcome, as single men could be housed in tents. He was employed as a labourer for seven months before being promoted to Bulldozer operator, working on the landing strip for the airport. Although happy with his job, he was also very happy to leave after his two years were up. A few months after his arrival Bajorunas was followed by a group of young DP’s all of whom were in their early twenties. They had only recently arrived in Australia and came from Lithuanian via Germany. Among this group were Vaclovas Navakas and his brother Vytautas who had been directed by the Commonwealth government to go to Leigh Creek. The brothers were allotted a tent and shared it for the next two years.

ETSA recruited DP’s from the Bonegilla centre in Victoria, 43 in total. Among them, Vytas (Bill) Doniela and Jurgis Glusauskas.

Many of them did extremely well once they had finished their two year indenture agreement with the Commonwealth government. Within a few years some of these DP’s had established themselves in such professions as Chemist, Architect, Lecturer, Author and Publisher.

A sizeable number of DP’s stayed on in Leigh Creek for many years after the completion of their compulsory time. They eventually found their way into the community, as did later immigrants. Among those still there in the late 1950’s were Vytautas Peciulis and Juozas Ramanauskas.

Julius Burke (Julius Burauskas) who arrived from Lithuania in 1949, died when his car overturned on the road between Orroroo and Jamestown on 7th October 1972. Although he lived in Leigh Creek since 1963 nobody knew if he had relatives.

In the Leigh creek cemetery lies Petras Daubaras who died in 1974.

Leigh Creek – an oasis in the desert by Nic Klaasen

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