Tuesday, 30 December 2014

4 Avon st

Another home story written by Jonas Mockunas.

Jonas holding Jonas jnr & Brone outside their new home
Jonas and Brone Mockunas arrived in Australia in February 1948.  After a few days at the Graylands transit camp in WA and a few weeks at the Bonegilla migrant camp in WA they moved to Adelaide where they lived at Calvary hospital, Torrensville and Mile End before finally being able to afford to build their own new home at Grassmere (later Kurralta Park).  

The two bedroom brick house was designed by Karolis Reisonas but I don't think any Lithuanians had a part in its construction.  I remember my father, possibly with the help of neighbouring Lithuanians, erecting corrugated iron fences and doing other improvements to the bare block which had been horse paddocks/farming land until that time. 

 The family moved into their new home in April 1956.  Although plans were drawn up in the 1950s for extensions, including another bedroom, they were never implemented.  The large backyard had lots of fruit trees, a big lawn area, lots of flowers, grapevines, strawberries and a small vegetable patch. Inside, the house had a feature wall with a traditional Lithuanian motif (stylised flowers) painted on the wall.

As to social interaction, we had close ties with most of the neighbours, in particular the Radzevicius, Andriusis, Matiukas, Kurauskas, Puodzius and Arlauskas families. The proximity to other Lithuanian families was undoubtedly one of the reasons that location was chosen for the new house.  Transport was another; it was very close to buses going along Anzac Highway and South Road.  It was also close to a Catholic church and primary school, which must have been a consideration for a young family (however as they subsequently found out it was quite a long walk to the nearest kindergarten at Plympton).  It was close to the city (only about two and a half miles to King William Street) and the Lithuanian centre at Norwood.

My father worked at the MTT (Municipal Tramways Trust) for most of the 19 years he lived there until his death; having a car was essential, irrespective where you lived, to get to and from work as his bus driving was shift work.  My mother worked more regular hours at the typing pool at Kelvinators (Anzac Highway, Keswick - just a few bus stops away) where she worked for some years with our neighbour p Arlauskiene. Mom lived in the family home for 40 years before moving to Canberra.

Thankyou Jonas for sharing part of your family history.  It helps to paint a bigger picture of the community.

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