Sunday, 25 January 2015

Petriukas



Petras Andrijaitis
When I think of growing up in the Lithuanian community and going to Lithuanian House, it is always with the memory of this man. We all knew him as Petriukas.

Petras was born in 18 September 1925, not far from Raseinis.  The war interrupted his schooling, when he was forced to flee Lithuania for Germany where he spent years in Displaced Persons camps. He arrived in Melbourne onboard the General M B Stewart on 13 April 1949.
Petras loved sport, he played basketball and volleyball.  He was very active in the Adelaide Vytis sports club, all his life in Adelaide and was made an honorary member.  He held several positions in the Club, sports manager, basketball manager and treasurer.  He would spend several nights per week in sports halls watching Vytis teams play.  If a player was missing, he would also been known to don a uniform to fill in. Twice he went to USA with Australian Lithuanian players.

Petriukas lived in the house on Grey street, Norwood and acted as caretaker to Lithuanian House.  You would see him every Sunday helping out in the kitchen, locking and unlocking doors, cleaning up.  He often made Sunday lunches, he was there to make lunches for the Saturday school children.  For his hard work and dedication he was made an Adelaide Lithuanian life member. 
Petras was a bachelor with no family in Australia.  In Lithuania he had a sister whom he was very close to. His nephews came to visit him in Adelaide at some point.

Prior to his death, Petras moved into the Baltic homes.  His last wish was that this would be written on his headstone. Čia ilsisi lietuvos sūnus toli nuo tėvynės. (Here lies a son of Lithuania far from his homeland).  Petriukas passed away on the 17 February 2007.

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