Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Tracing your Lithuanian Ancestors from SA

Earlier this year I wrote a booklet on tracing your Lithuanian ancestors from South Australia. It give some websites to look at, in Australia and Lithuania, provides some things you should keep in mind when researching, eg name changes, and what is available in the Lithuanian Archives here in Adelaide.

Hard copies are available from the Library at Lithuanian house, but I have added a link here (Useful links) to the document in Google docs that you can have a look at. I had to take the graphics out because of its size, but the information is there.

I am happy to receive any feedback, good or bad, and will be updating the information as i learn more or corrections need to be made.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Adelaide Lithuanian School

In 1989, it became logical to merge the two schools. Smaller class numbers, teachers growing older and rising costs justified such a move. Initially classes were held over two sites. The younger children and older children alternated sites every few weeks. Both age groups would come together for folk dancing singing and religion classes.

The school continues to this day, with second generations of Australian born people of Lithuanian decent still see value in providing their children with a link to their heritage.

Matriculation classes
Matriculation classes have been held when students are studying at this level. In 1978 there were six teachers, Vladas Statnickas who taught grammar, Mrs Mockunas, literature, Mrs Steponas, Mr Riauba, Mr Straukas who alterned. Dr Viliunaitė and Lidija Pocienė assisted with English translations. At one time Isolda Davis, Kristina Dundienė, Elena Varnienė with Dr T C Fennel from Flinders University prepared the Lithuanian language examination for Australia. Melbourne now is responsible for this. Ona. Zamoiskienė would mark the papers.

Adult classes
Lithuanian language classes for adults were initiated by Isolda Davis. While the schools were primarily geared towards teaching children there became a need for classes for adults. People of Lithuanian heritage who did not grow up in a household where Lithuanian was spoken or people who married a Lithuanian and were keen to learn the language. Occasionally people with no Lithuanian ties came just to learn one of the oldest living languages. These classes have been faithfully taught by Romas Jablonskis for the past fifteen years. Romas has been assisted over the years by Laisvė Daugalienė and V. Vanagaitė-Mount. It is with great sadness that Romas unexpectedly passed away last month.

Classes are still conducted every Saturday morning from 10am to 1pm at Lithuanian house.

Over 61 years of the schools existence there were more than 678 students, 156 teachers about one third (53) had been students and then went on to teach. Of the 678 students, 297 were male, 381 female.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

St Casmir's School

Members of the St Casmir’s Lithuanian Catholic Centre, initiated the school in 1960. The schools main aim was to instill a belief in God, and preserve the Lithuanian language and culture in Adelaide. The school began with two teachers and seventeen students, and a year later it had eight teachers with Father Kungys who teaching Religion. Elena Varniene ws the first principal of the school.

The second floor of the parish building was perfectly suited for a school. It consisted of a large room which became the kindergarten, several small rooms were used for individual classes and another large room that held different activities. The parish also had a hall and stage where performances could be held.

The school was run on very similar lines to the weekend school held at Lithuanian house. School ran from 10am to 1pm each Saturday morning. In 1979 there were six classes plus kindergarten.
Initially school curriculum was obtained from America, lastly being used in 1974, when an Australian version was created.

The school began with six grades which rose to eight in 1972 and by 1980 there were ten grade levels.

Children who attended the school also participated in Lithuanian dancing, sports and Eiglutes choir.

Teachers were Elena Varniene who taught Lithuanian language. Agota Stepaniene – Lithuanian geography and history, Kazys Pazera – Lithuanian language, Aldona Zakiene – Lithuanian language, S. Pusdesriene – singing. L Vilcinskaite – national dancing, Rimas Daugalis – art, Laimute Kuncaityte – dancing and accompanied on piano.

Funding came from donations, the Lithuanian Catholic women’s Association, and occasionally donations were received from Ramove (Lithuanian veterans) and the general community.

From 1960 to 1989, 60 students completed school. In 1965, 103 students were enrolled, and over 300 attended over the years.


Directors of Sv Kazimiero
Elena Varniene 1960 – 1964
Pr Dauknys 1965
Kazys Pazera 1966-70
Kun Albinas Spurgis 1971-1973
Anele Urneviciute 1974-1976
Elena Varniene 1977
Loreta Rupinskaite 1978-79
Elena Varniene 1980 – 1981
Anele Urneviciene 1982.


Throughout the 28 year history, this school taught over 300 students taught by 60 teachers.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Adelaide Lithuanian School part III

In 1975 the school issued a newsletter “Daigeliai” which is compiled solely by the work of students, text and artwork. The newsletter was edited by Sandra Bernaitienė. Also that year each student was able to receive a professionally printed magazine “Eglutė” produced and sent from the USA. The magazine was in Lithuanian and produced for children, it contained stories, pictures and games to play.

1978 the school was incorporated in The Ethnic school Association of South Australia.

The school prepares for performances throughout the year at such times as Lithuanian festival days, Mothers Day and Christmas and end of year performance. The school would often participate in Australian Lithuanian festivals around the country. A dancing group would perform as part of the dancing festival, children submitted artwork for the art exhibitions, and a youth event.

The best students for the year were awarded prizes usually a book or money. In 1979 a money prize was offered for the best student, over $127 was collected. The students were told at the beginning of the year that awards would be granted to students for excellent school work, for homework, and for reading. The prizes were handed out at the end of year concert. It was also the time when graduating students were acknowledged and given certificates and gifts.

End of year certificates were provided that gave marks out of ten for Lithuanian language, (spoken Lithuanian, dictation, grammar, writing), history, geography, dancing and singing.

In 1979, some classes were held outside of the school, at the Blandis home in North Plympton, which consisted of one adult and four children. Petruskevičienės home at Christies Beach was used for another small group that met from 1pm -3pm on Saturdays. Special classes were also held on the Saturday mornings for children with limited Lithuanian. This provided a venue for more intense assistance.

Vanessa Dumčiutė recorded as the 400 student to be enrolled in the school in 1980.

The school year would finish with a large performance at Lithuanian House in December. Each student would participate and was required to recite a poem, perform a play, song or dance. The older children would be the master of ceremonies. The highlight of the evening for the children was a visit from Father Christmas where each child was given a present, usually a toy of some kind.