Monday, 23 April 2018

100 Aciu - Eddie Gudelis

Eduardas Gudelis
Eddie (Dad) was born May 4, 1940 in Kaunas.  His biological father, Jonas Kondrotas, was an officer in the Lithuanian army.   He was arrested, sent to Siberia and later died there.  Juze, dad’s mother, never knew what happened to her husband.  Antanas Gudelis was there for her at this difficult time.  She married him and adopted dad.

As a family, they lived in refugee camps until 1949 when they arrived in Australia.  The family first lived in a share house in the city (Kintore Avenue) whilst having a house built at 8 Princes St, Prospect.
From a young age he was involved within the Adelaide Lithuanian Community – scouting, as a member of the Žilvinas Dancing Group and he also played basketball for the “Vytis” Sports Club.  In his later years he was an ALB and Vytis Sports Club member.

In his formative years, he was an altar boy and also had a private Catholic education at the Christian Brother’s College.  He was quite rebellious and enjoyed wagging school and going to the movies or playing football with his mates.
His love of sport included playing and watching basketball which he was passionate about.  He instilled the love the game into me.  He drove me to basketball games as a teenager and was a vocal supporter from the sidelines.  Later on we had season tickets for Adelaide 36’ers games for years.

His first love was basketball until he met mum and they had two daughters Kristina and Natalie.  Dad was very family orientated and every weekend we visited “Babytė” and “Senelis” and went to Sunday mass.
He was a quiet, selfless and caring person always thinking of others before himself.  He also had a dry sense of humour.

He instilled in me an interest in the Lithuanian community of which I am still involved.
Dad made sure both Nat and I worked hard for what we wanted and instilled in us the value of being humble about our achievements.

Submitted by his daughter, Kristina.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Ačiū Elena Pimpiene

Elena Pimpienė nee Šutaitė

Mano močiute, my grandmother, or čiute as we sometimes called her was a great part of my life.   Growing up my family would spend each Sunday with them and parts of the school holidays. We grew up with them speaking Lithuanian, with some English thrown in.  Looking back, I can see how much of their culture they passed on, but at the time they were just my grandparents.

Elena was born in a small village in the Dusetos region to a farming family.  Her early life was the farm and looking after her grandmother.  When she married my grandfather, they moved to Kaunas before making their way to freedom in Germany.  Their young daughter died on the way, but two more children were born in the camps.  After arriving in Australia, they settled in Adelaide, raising their two children.  The family over time exploded to in-laws and five grandchildren.

Močiute was a great cook, and food was always plentiful at her house.  You did not leave without being feed and taking some extra home with you.  There was always soup to start each meal, my favourite of course was barokų sriūba (beetroot soup). Then an assortment of Lithuanian dishes, meatloaf, sometimes cepelinai, cabbage rolls or kugelis.  Desserts were the best, napoleonas cake on special occasions, and hedhog cake she made us when we were small, even spirgai at times.  We once made krustai together, but I had a hard time flipping the pastry through the slits.  Once I asked her to teach me how to make cepelinai, but by the time I arrived she had put it all together.  

My grandparents back yard was really a huge vegetable garden with fruit trees scattered around.  They grew many of their vegetables; cucumbers, tomatoes, capsicums, carrots, which my family would receive bags full of when in season.  Also the fruit; apples, pears, mandarins, apricots, almonds when they came to fruit.  I love growing food as they did.

Being always industrious, močiute was a keen and very good seamstress.  She worked in clothing factories in Adelaide and was always at her sewing machine making clothes for someone.  On weekends there was often Lithuanian ladies sitting in her sewing room who came to get her measurements done or fitted for outfits.  She sewed the dresses for the Lituania choir, made scout dresses and even made our Lithuanian costumes.  She was inventive and given the time (1980’s), Lithuanian material wasn’t always available but its amazing what you could do with some ‘Lithuanian style’ curtains.  She embroidered my sisters and mine blouses and aprons with stylised tulips and geometric patterns.

My grandparents house was never cluttered, but the few things they had reminded them of their home.  Carved wooden tulips that surrounded the clock in the sitting room, a wooden carved hunter and tree, and the one picture that did hang in the dining room was taken on their wedding day so many years ago in Kaunas.  That picture hangs in my house now.

Weaving linen was a common practice in Lithuania and močiute grew up to be very good at it.  She told me as a young girl, she would get extra money weaving items for the local community.  She didn’t have a large loom in Australia, but my grandfather made her some small ones where she wove sashes and bookmarks.  She taught my mother to do the same and I asked her to teach me.  She instructed me on how to cast on, how to read the patterns how to make bookmarks, sashes and ties.

Linas & Elena's wedding day
My grandparents were involved in the Adelaide Lithuanian community, they went to church, attended some social events and came to all our school and dancing concerts.  It wasn’t until my grandfather passed that she stood on a committee, becoming at one time the President of the Pensioners Club.  She loved the outings, the bingo afternoons even when her eyes failed her she would still attend.  She volunteered for Meals on Wheels but never quite liked it, not because of the work or the people, but because of the dry scones they made for morning tea.
50th Wedding anniversary

Elena passed away in Adelaide in 2011, at the age of 97. 
Mano močiutė, instilled in me a love of her country, she taught me its language and showed me its beauty through her life.  For this I would like to say, ačiū močiutė.

The Pocius kids, dressed in Mociute made clothes and tauntinai rubai

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Ačiū Petras Bielskis



Petras was born March 23, 1927 in Biržiai, Lithuania.  There he attended high school, as well as business college.
In 1944 he moved to Germany, and after the war, he finished Lithuanian High School, and belonged to the Lithuanian scouts and the Christian Youth (Ateitininkai) groups.

In 1948, Petras arrived in Australia on the General Sturgis, landing in Sydney. He joined the Sydney Australian Lithuanian Draugija.
In 1950, after finishing his compulsory work requirement, he arrived in Adelaide in March.

In 1952 he married Valė Jureviciutė.  After that, four daughters were born – Rūtą, Dalė, Audrė and Ireną.
Over the years, he became very involved in Adelaide and Australian Lithuanian community activities:

Firstly in 1950 – Petras became an Australian Lithuanian Community member and started fundraising funds to build the Adelaide Lithuanian House in Norwood.
In 1962-63 he joined the ALB Weekend (Savaitgalio) Lithuanian school parent committee.

In 1964-65 he joined the ALB Lithuanian Union (Sajunga) as treasurer. This was the organisation that looked after Adelaide Lithuanian House and its affairs.
1965-89. Then for the next 24 years, he was the president of the ALB Lithuanian Sajunga Inc.  He was responsible for negotiating the purchase of the house and land next to Lithuanian House that Petriukas Andrijaitis (caretaker in that era) lived in for many years.

1972-79 Petras also joined the Adelaide Vilniaus Scout Parents Committee and was its president for 7 years.
1971-90 Also for 19 years, Petras became the editor of the local Adelaide Lithuanian News (Adelaidės Lietuvių Žinios) newsletter. This was published regularly and distributed throughout the community to share the local news, upcoming events and write-ups of the many activities that occurred in the community. 
He wrote it up back then on a typewriter, cut and pasted it together by hand, before printing it with a small team of helpers in his home in a room especially set up to be a small publishing press.  It was then moved to Lithuanian House where a new photocopy machine was set up! 

From 1966, Petras also became a board member of the Australian Lithuanian (ALB) Council, and an ALB Honorary Judiciary member and then its president. 
In 1980-81 and 1999-2000 he was the president of the ALB Australian Lithuanian Council (Taryba) which is the official Australian Lithuanian Governing body that makes all the decisions for the Australian Lithuanian Community and links Australia and Lithuania.
In 1999-2000 Petras also became the vice-president of the Australian Lithuanian Board of Directors (Krašto Valdyba.)

Petras was also chosen as one of Australia’s representatives to attend the World Lithuanian Parliament in 1988 in Montreal, Canada, and in 2000 and 2003 in Vilnius, Lithuania.

In 2000-03 he was a member of the World Lithuanian Honorary Judiciary.
Finally, in 2010-14 at the age of 82, Petras became the president of the ALB Adelaide District Control Commission (Apylinkės Kontrolės Komicija).

Now in 2018, Petras Bielskis has turned 90 years old, and still is an active participant in Adelaide Lithuanian Community life and functions. 
His passion for the Lithuanian Community, his active involvement in many organisations over the years in Adelaide, Australia and Lithuanian earnt Petras Bielskis the V16 Order and Medal “Už Nuopelnus Lietuvai “from the Government of the Republic of Lithuania in 2003.

My father Petras Bielskis demonstrated a deep feeling for Lithuania. His involvement within the Adelaide, Australian and Lithuanian communities helped instil a strong bond for myself, and the rest of my family. We have, as a result, maintained strong links with the Lithuanian communities in South Australia, Australia and Lithuania.
Ačiū Tėtę!

Submitted by his daughter, Ruta.
Petras with Vladas Adamkus in centre

Monday, 19 February 2018

100 Aciu - Julija & Algimantas Grigonis

Julija & Algimantas GRIGONIS

As is true for most of us, the biggest influences in my life as an Australian born Lithuanian, were my parents Julija and Algimantas Grigonis.
Most of my generation typically started school in Australia with no English but went on to become very articulate in English and to do well academically.

Mum and Dad's generation were all bilingual as a minimum, but many were multilingual before they even came to Australia with English becoming their 3rd, 4th or more language. Hearing a variety of languages from an early age may well have sparked my interest in later language study.
Going to Lithuanian school on Saturdays at Lithuanian House was not always what we wanted to do as some of the classes were not easy and we needed help with homework which was often very hard especially for History as I struggled to understand what we had to read.

How Lithuanian grammar works did not fall into place for me until I started Latin in high school when it all became abundantly clear.  I can still decline and conjugate much better in Latin than in Lithuanian, but I understand that this kind of thing is often typical of native speakers of almost any language when it comes to grammar.
We had to catch two buses each way to Lithuanian school which was quite an undertaking back in the 1950s when I was only 9 and taking my sisters with me on the bus.  Luckily, we sometimes had Mr Kubilius, Mr Pakalnis, or other Lithuanian drivers kind enough to let us out at Eastry Street past the actual bus stop and not always ask us to buy a ticket.

Dad had taken us the first couple of times to show us the way.  After that we got used to the going back and forth.
At some stage Dad bought a car and drove us there.  I still often take the same route along Payneham and George Streets to Sydenham Road and Gray Street.

My family had little by way of material goods, but Dad was a good musician and we grew up with lots of books and music.
Packages of books from Lithuania, especially from Senelis Matas Grigonis were special as were the postcards he sent. I still have several of mine on which he wrote poems and stories. His language was beautiful but then he was a known wordsmith with a lot of his work having been published in Lithuania.  Dad told us a lot about him and we had books such as Žemuogėlės, Algimantelio Metai, volumes of children's poetry.   Senelis Matas was Lithuania's first poet who wrote specifically for children.  He wrote many letters and articles for magazines.  I learned much more about his work as an adult but as a child I knew that Dad's Dad was someone special and that fostered my own interests in words, languages, translation and being a bookworm.   At age six I decided I wanted to be a teacher and Senelis wrote that I had made a good choice. Although it did not come to pass I have always been interested in education and have pursued language studies along the way.

I finished Lithuanian school in 1962 and still have the certificate.
Many of us still have friends from those days. We might not meet that often, but we remain friends.

I am also very glad to have had Ponia Jurgelionienė teach me how to weave and I still know how.
Dad played music every day.  He played violin, accordion, ocarina, mandolin but we mostly heard the accordion.

He also had a lot of records including Lithuanian 78s. Some are now collectors' items.
We often stayed late after Lithuanian School on Saturdays as Dad played music for folk-dancing practice which I loved to watch.

I got to know the music and dances well but was never in the dancing group as we did not have tautiniai rubai/national dress.

Dad taught us songs at Lithuanian school and at home, which was not always fun, but I still remember most of the melodies if not all the words.
It was also usually Dad who scolded us for not speaking Lithuanian at home. "Nesuprantų!" (I do not understand!)

We attended Vasario 16, Motinos Diena, Tremimo Minejimas, Tautos Šventė , Tevo Diena, Kariuomenės Švente and other events for many years.  Some of the speeches were very long but we loved the 'meninė dalis' especially the dancing.
Later on, we also joined ALSK Vytis and played basketball for quite a few years.
Volunteers took us to training and games as Dad did not have a car at the time.

Dad told us about living in Panevežys and his Dad being school principal at the various towns in which they had lived such as Rožalimas, Anykščiai and Panevežys.  Today there are plaques on the walls of the houses indicating that Poet, Author, Teacher, Pedagogue Matas Grigonis had resided there and the dates.
Dad hardly mentioned anything of his time as a Plechavičiukas. All we heard from him was that he was in and out of three armies within a year; Plechavicius for which he volunteered, German (conscripted) and Red (conscripted).  He deserted the Red Army and never went back to Lithuania even when it was possible, as the Red authorities had long memories and he was sure that they would lock him up. That was really sad as he had left home for the war effort at age 16 and never saw his family again.

Dad was part of the group in Adelaide who started the local Lithuanian radio program. He worked on it for 15 years and created a complete archive of all the programs on tapes.  After his death a selected few ended up in the Mortlock Library in South Australia while his lifelong friend Vytas Patupas sent the rest (over 700) to Martyno Mažvydo Biblioteka in Lietuva/Lithuania. I heard the late Gabrielius Žemkalnis mention that they were there during one of his programs in which he spoke about the Mazvydo library.  Dad also sang in the choir for several years and was very involved with Adelaide's Lithuanian theatre group Vaidila, for which he prepared sound effects for many years.
Mum's maiden name was Žiukelytė. She told us about being born in Žiukeliškes (there were so many Žiukeliai that there was even a village named after them!) and growing up in Dūsetos.  When the lake froze over in winter she and her brothers watched horses in harness racing on the ice.  That event happens every year on the first Saturday in February even now and is know as Sartai.  Dusetos is on the shores of Sartu Ežeras/Lake Sartai.

Winters were very cold and Mum and her siblings had to cover up very well to prevent frostbite on the tips of their noses.
We learned about her older sisters Karūte and Marytė, brothers Vladas and Rapolas plus sister Elenutė who had died at age 20 from TB. Among the few possessions Mum had brought all the way from Lithuania via Germany was a photo album which she showed us. We learned about the people in them and what our grandparents looked like.  They both died just before WWII.  During our childhood the names and faces were only in photos and we never knew if it would be possible to meet our extended family.  We learned that Dusetos is in pretty countryside, very green and a lovely town. Mum went to live and work in Kaunas.  She worked in a bookshop and devoured books all her life.

Mum was a member of Moterų Sėkcija for several years.
One of my earliest memories of both Mum and Dad is from when we had moved from the city to Hillcrest.  I was not quite four years old . Mum taught me how to dance Suktinis while singing Bitutė Pilkoji, plus Klumpakojis and its song, with Dad's accompaniment on the accordion.

We also knew songs like Ant kalno murai, Ant kalno karkliai siubavo long before singing them at school.  Tautos Himnas was also in my head long before I really understood it but that happens with many songs and poems. When Dad took us for drives, we sang in the car. A favourite was Išėjo Tevelis į miška.

Childhood rhymes are still in my head eg. Lyja lietus per karaliaus pietus, Karalienė verkia, Karaliukai knarkia. (like It's raining, It's pouring).
I tried hard to speak Lithuanian but it wasn't easy when English dominated at school and with neighbours.  Plus when our brother Algiukas was little, those who supposedly 'know' advised that two languages in the home were delaying his speaking.  English had to take priority which was very disappointing for Mum and Dad. We all know that "Bilingual is beautiful"! Ironically when Algis grew up he understood Lithuanian quite well. The psychologist's advice was wrong.

Reasonable proficiency in Lithuanian language was a huge help on my first trip to Europe in 1975 when I met Mum's brother Vladas in Munich and spoke Lithuanian with him and his friends.  My German was limited.  Uncle Vladas took me to Lietuva where I met many people who had till that time simply been faces in photos.  Being able to communicate with them was wonderful and even though I made mistakes, Močiutė Jadvyga Grigonienė was amazed that I could speak the language at all.  She also remarked that I spoke old fashioned Lithuanian as the language over there had changed over the previous 30 years.
I am the only grandchild born in Australia who met Močiutė albeit for just 7 days.  While I was there, Uncle Kastytis organised a phone call to Adelaide and Močiutė got to speak with Dad once again.  Many years later Dad rang his brother Kastytis when Lithuania had regained independence in 1991.

I was so glad that I went to Lietuva back in 1975 and met so many members of the extended family on both sides.  I made a few more trips too, the last one having been in 2000 so I must go again.  Contact with relatives continues and quite a few are on Facebook!
I will forever be grateful to Mum and Dad for telling us so much about their lives and families before they came to Australia. They fostered my love and interest in my Lithuanian heritage, language, history, people and our culture, including great food.

Happily, Mum was able to see her sister Marytė again after 49 years when my sister Dana took her to Lietuva in 1993.
Much of my appreciation of being Lithuanian grew as I became an adult, but the seeds were sown right from the start as in the few examples I have outlined.

It is a major part of what makes me who I am.
An Australian friend once told me that I was so lucky to have this special cultural identity with its traditions.

I know! 

Juratė Grigonytė

Friday, 9 February 2018

100 Aciu - Vytautas Vencius

Vytautas Vencius

In 1949 after WW2, at the age of 22, Vytautas arrived in Adelaide Australia.
He became separated from his family Lithuania, yet he wanted to keep his precious Lithuanian heritage alive within him.
In 1955, he married and became actively involved with the fledgling Lithuanian community in Adelaide.

He felt a need to help establish and renovate the Lithuanian Catholic Centre and Church at St Peters.  This was a huge property that required extensive renovation and Vytas was there to work and help create the Adelaide Lithuanian Catholic Centre “Taryba Caritas Inc”.

The Catholic Centre has proven to be a focus of his life.

In the early 1970’s, his focus turned to dancing group Zilvinas at the Lithuanian House in Norwood, which was starting to attract many children and teens.   He first joined the Parents Committee and soon took on the role as manager/organiser to ensure the dancing group was running smoothly and more importantly, to keep the young dancers happy!  He organised cool drinks for them during rehearsals break and organised parties, very often in his own home, to keep the dancers together.  These certainly proved to be popular!  He helped the teachers to find interesting dances and went to great lengths to ensure there was music which was mostly live and at one time, a band of musicians! He made sure the dancers looked their best with lovely costumes and good footwear.   

For the dancers to showcase their ability, he organised for Zilvinas to dance at special events within the Lithuanian community in Adelaide, the bi-annual Australia wide Svente, the Folkloric Society events which were numerous and involved many ethnic communities, the pre-Easter show at Barossa and several times on centre stage at the Adelaide Festival Theatre.  At one point, there were 60 dancers! Thanks to Vytautas’ hard, untiring work and drive, Zilvinas indeed was the most popular it had ever been.

Vytautas was a representative for the dancing group with the Good Neighbour Council of Adelaide and then the Folkloric Society.  He was with Zilvinas, in so many capacities, for 20 years.

After Zilvinas, he joined the Adelaide Lithuanian Theatre Group Vaidila.  He started with small roles and quickly progressed to appear in major roles which were often complex, and which he portrayed with great conviction.  

In the meantime, Vytautas was the Treasurer of the Lithuanian Catholic Centre and after 40 years, he recently retired from this position.

With his love for the Lithuanian Catholic Centre in Adelaide and the Adelaide Lithuanian community, Vytautas regularly performs ‘odd jobs’ and ‘fill ins’, even to this day at the age of 90!

Thursday, 1 February 2018

100 Aciu - Regina Bajoruniene


My earliest memory of Mrs Regina Bay is from my childhood when I was about 8 or so. She had just married Andrius Bajorunas and they came to visit my parents.
Mum and Dad congratulated them on their recent marriage. Their surname was changed to Bay which was easier for Mr Bay in his work as a pharmacist when he often took on weekend shifts in addition to his usual weekday work. We came to call them Mr and Mrs Bay.

Regina became Pirmininkė/President of the Adelaide Lithuanian Women's Committee (Adelaidės Lietuvių Moterų Sekcija) after having been a member for a few years.
Among many activities, these women provided morning tea for all of us who attended Saturday Lithuanian School and prepared Christmas Eve supper/Kučios at Lithuanian House. They also catered numerous other events.  Among popular events were the fashion parades which started in the early 1960s and the annual Kartunų Balius or Cotton Ball also a fancy-dress event, which was held in late spring Sept/October. Prizes were awarded for the best dressed at the ball and a lot of effort went into making the prettiest cotton evening dress. I went to a few of these events when I was old enough to start going to a ball plus I even participated in a fashion parade in about 1963.

During much of this time we did not have a family car. Regina visited us often and had long conversations with Mum over a coffee or tea. Mum drank tea while Regina drank coffee.  She and Mum both had terrific senses of humour and there was a lot of laughter.
They also had deep heart to heart conversations.
Regina was always excited if we did well at school and encouraged us to continue and do better.

She also told us off if we did not speak Lithuanian at home but also understood that there was a specific reason for that, courtesy of an education department psychologist but that is another story.
Nonetheless she often reminded us that carrying multiple languages in one's head was not a heavy load.

She spoke Lithuanian, German, Russian, Polish and English. She had also always worked very hard from the time she and many other young Lithuanians 'conscripted' by the Germans to dig trenches as forced labour right through her years with Moterų Sekciją.
She had worked at the Adelaide Railway Station cafeteria and was quickly made manager. She also worked at the Government printing offices near Parliament House in North Terrace during her early years in Adelaide.

She loved animals and had been very upset when she had had to leave her home in Tauragė and could not take her dog with her. She saw her parents and neighbours shot by Russian army soldiers. She was just 13 when WWII started.
She often took my sister Nemira and me out or to her house and we had a lot of fun with her pets especially her budgie who was multilingual.  He could say 'Kur Andrius', 'Labas rytas', 'Andrius dirba', Auf Wiedersehen', 'silly rabbit' and many other things.

She was an excellent cook too, she led Moterų Sekcija for 17 years and worked very hard throughout. In addition to the actual work, after a day's food prep she would drive home women who had come by bus in the morning.
In preparation for a big event she would go to the market at the crack of dawn for provisions, plus she got to know smallgoods wholesalers in the area and as a regular customer got good deals on behalf of the community.
With her help we often helped Moterų Sekciją prepare various events such as weddings, balls and parties at Lithuanian House.

Lithuanian House was already a home away from home as it was for many of us in the community, but we also learned much from interacting with the older women who were exceptional caterers and a lot of fun.
This was a time of not only speaking Lithuanian but also coming to appreciate what had brought these people to Australia.

My own pacifist leanings were a direct result of learning about these people's displacement from their home land and the trauma of having to start all over again in a very different country like Australia. Most of us had relatives in Lithuania or elsewhere whom we felt unlikely ever to meet at least in those early years.
Participating in community events under her tuition added to our parents' encouragement of 'lietuvybė'.

Regina's commitment to the Adelaide Lithuanian community was exceptional and she was a wonderful role model for me for when I was older and able to be involved in various committees myself.
On a more personal level she lent me books about deportations among other subjects and I used some material in radio programs.

She was proud of us as if we were her own children when we did well.
She also thought the world of our Mum and was there when needed on the death of our sister Nemira.

Her love of Lietuva and passion for traditions which she worked so hard to maintain in our little Adelaide community certainly rubbed off on to me and others.
I remain grateful to this day for Regina Bajorunienė’s role in my life.

Submitted by Juratė Grigonytė

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

100 Aciu - Victor Baltutis

Aciu Viktoras Baltutis
We recommend Victoras Baltutis for recognition for his service and commitment to the Adelaide Lithuanian Community and also the wider Australian Lithuanian Community.

We believe Victor deserves the recognition for everything he has done without asking for anything in return.

Reason for recommendation:

Victor Baltutis has volunteered diligently and selflessly for the Adelaide and Australian Lithuanian Community since arriving in Australia in 1948 on the seventh boat of displaced people to arrive from Europe. A displaced person was the term previously used for what is currently referred to as a refugee. His achievements include creating the Australian Lithuanian Archives (a fifteen year undertaking) which is currently housed at St. Casimir's Lithuanian Parish at 6 Third Avenue Saint Peters. These archives are the history of the Lithuanian Community in Australia from arrival in the late 1940's as displaced people to current times. These archives are now of significant historical value and protected from export by the Australian government.

Although Victor Baltutis is over 90 years of age, he continues to be active in the community, helping organise and coordinate Saint Casimir's Parish to have a priest presiding over Holy Mass for the parishioners every Sunday. Victor continues to assist younger Lithuanians who contact him for guidance and advice around various Lithuanian matters. He wrote and edited the Adelaide Lithuanian Bulletin on his own computer for many years. He just recently reduced his workload due to health reasons. The Adelaide Lithuanian Bulletin comes out every fortnight and is the highlight for the elderly Australian Lithuanians who may no longer have easy access to their community or written language. Victor still contributes to writing in this and other national and international Lithuanian publications.

Due to Victor’s work in the Adelaide Lithuanian and Australian Lithuanian Communities, he is well known and highly respected in the Adelaide and Australian Lithuanian Community. In 2017 he won the Norwood, Saint Peters and Payneham City Councils Citizen of the Year Award for his work. Victor very reluctantly accepted this award, as he views his contribution to the Adelaide and Australian Lithuanian Communities as a “natural thing to do”. Victor has always been humble and working tirelessly to promote and maintain the Lithuanian heritage in Adelaide and Australia. He previously declined an Order of Australia award due to his humility and considers his thousands of volunteer hours he has contributed to Australian Lithuanian Community as a normal way of life.

Significant achievements/contributions include:

 ● Lithuanian refugee from World War II – Migrated to Australia as part of the second group of Lithuanian refugees in Australia in the late 1940’s

● Coordinated the Lithuanian Parish and Community events

● Until late 2016, was part of the Adelaide Lithuanian Catholic Church Committee and has been for many years

● Was a Leader of the Adelaide Lithuanian Catholic Church Committee for many years

● Was the Secretary of the Adelaide Lithuanian Community and President of the Australian Lithuanian Community

● Volunteered as a Justice of the Peace for the Adelaide Community for 35 years

● Established the Adelaide Lithuanian Radio Programme in 1978 which continues to this day on 5EBI 103.1 FM every Saturday from 9 am to 10 am
● Established the Adelaide Branch of the Lithuanian Co-Op Credit Society ‘TALKA’ Ltd.

● Wrote and funded the publication of a book ‘Issinesem Tik Ilgesi” about the Lithuanian Community in Australia (in Lithuanian) and a book about Partizans in Occupied Lithuania “Akivaras”

● Wrote and directed a drama of Simas Kudirka 
NPSP Citizen of the Year 2017

● Created the Australian/Lithuanian archives
These books and the Australian/Lithuanian archives are an important resource for historical academic research of Lithuanians in Australian and their immigration to Australia.

● Taught Matriculation students the Lithuanian language

● Regularly contributes to the National Lithuania Newspaper ‘Musu Pastoge’ (Our Homeland)

● Organised and presided over a number of the Biennial National Lithuanian Cultural Festivals

● An inspirational leader and confidant for the Adelaide and Australian Lithuanian Communities

 Nominated by his daughters, Dana & Anita and son-in-law Craig Clarke.