Sunday, 23 October 2016

Vaclovas RAGINIS

This portrait of Raginis painted by Neliubsys
hangs in Adelaide Lithuanian House
A testimonial life to Lithuania

Vaclovas was born to be a public figure. He was born in the middle of winter on 5th February 1910 in Vilnius. After the first world war he attended Švenčionių school where he was active in literature and sport clubs. At only 14 years he was producing a fortnightly school newsletter “Vienybe’ (Unity). He spoke several languages, as well as Lithuanian he spoke Polish, Russian and German. His activeness in Lithuanian activities, instigated the Polish government calling for his removal from high school. At this time Vilnius region was occupied by Poland.

In 1926 he was able to enrol in Vilniaus Lithuanian seminary and later to Vytautas Didysis school. In 1929 he organised the famous Ažusilės Lithuanian song festival where 2000 people participated.

Sensing that his Lithuanian activities were coming to an end he fled to independent Lithuania. Here he enrolled in the War School where he attained a junior lieutenant position in the Army Reserves. After the course completion he returned to civilian life.

He enrolled in Vytautis Didysis University in Kaunas, where he studied economics in the evening and worked at the Finance Ministry during the day. Kaunas at that time served as the provisional capital and the country’s political, economic and cultural centre. In 1939 he returned to Vilnius to continue his studies at Vilniaus University. Two years later he was employed as a tax inspector for Švenčionėliuose and later Švenčionyse. He married Monika Šluckaitė on 7 October 1933.

As WWII progressed it became apparent to Vaclovas that he would have to leave Lithuania as the Russian army returned. He and his wife withdrew to Germany.

Now displaced, living in temporary accommodation hoping Lithuania would become independent once again he joined the US Army Labour Service Company. He was a Lieutenant in the DLK Algirdas company (4129 Labor Service Company). He served from 2 January 1947 from its formation to the time it was disbanded on the 12 September. From here he was transferred to the 4027 Labor Service Company in Bamberge (Baltic corps). He was discharged only when he received confirmation that he was emigrating to Australia. 

Travelling on the ship Mohammedi, it arrived in Melbourne on the 14th May 1949. After completing his compulsory work agreement with the Australian government, he settled in Geelong. Before long he was actively involved in Lithuanian affairs and was instrumental in establishing a Lithuanian branch of Australian Lithuanian association.

He later moved to Adelaide (1954) where he became involved with the community. Raginis understood that a community house was very important and formed the Adelaide Lithuanian Association of which he was President for ten years. During that time money was collected for purchasing a community house. He was awarded a life member of the Adelaide Lithuanian Association.

In 1963 he and his wife Ona were invited by the Government of South Australia to attend the Royal Music Festival at which Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were present.

Unfortunately, his health failed him and he withdrew from some community commitments. In 1970 he formed an Adelaide branch of the Lietuvos Atgimimo Sąjūdžio skyriaus (Lithuanian Nationalist Movement).

Raginis life work was for the country he left behind, he felt strongly for the youth and encouraged them to keep their heritage. 

On June 14, 1971, the whole Lithuanian community attended his funeral and commitment at Centennial Park. He passed away three days earlier in hospital after a hefty illness. He was survived by his wife.


Thursday, 13 October 2016

Circle of Amber

A novel by former Adelaide resident, Jura Reilly, Circle of Amber.
 
Set in Lithuania and Australia, " Circle Of Amber" explores the themes of murder, vengeance, loss and betrayal against the back drop of two World Wars. The main characters are forced to make decisions that wrench them from their families and friends. A recipe section has been included at the back of the novel.
 
Kristina's life in the tiny village of Ventuva, northwest Lithuania, seems idyllic until her husband Romas is brutally murdered. Forced to raise three young children on her own, she relies on the ancient gods and her mother Elena for guidance. Trying to retain her country's traditions during two world wars, Kristina battles to overcome poverty and the villagers' suspicions. On the other side of the world, in Australia, Gaila fights her own demons. Then she finds a small leather bound book amongst her mother's possessions. Does it hold the key to a family mystery?

Bonus recipes in the back of the book.

You can purchase the book through Amazon.
https://www.amazon.com/Circle-Amber-Jura-Reilly/dp/0995386803/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475576217&sr=8-

There is also a Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/jurasamber/about/?entry_point=page_nav_about_item&tab=page_info&__mref=message_bubble
 

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Have you seen her?

This appeared in the Advertiser on Saturday 6 September 1952.  Her surname is spelled incorrectly, it should be Kulisauskas.  This article appears twice but there is no follow up as to is she was found.  Tragically her father had been killed 18 months previously when the motorcycle he was travelling on collided with a bus at Largs North. 
 
I wonder what happened to her?