Monday, 11 February 2008

Early arrivals

Records reveal that there are over 1500 Lithuanians who arrived and settled in SA just after WWII. The first Lithuanians were single males as that was what the Australian government wanted at the time. The men were employed in the Engineering and Water supply department, coal miners at Leigh creek, salt processing plant at Price, in the Onkaparinga Woollen Mill at Lobethal, in the forest industry at Nangwarry, SA Railways, Woomera Rocket Range, General Motors, Chrysler, Phillips factories. So far i have managed to find 800 Lithuanians, just over half way there.

The Onkaparinga Woollen Mills at Lobethal employed many Balts after the war. The workers were housed at the Woodside Army camp. The Mill asked for 15 single women to be housed in the hostel. The government alloted 17 all of whom were married. There husbands were employed by the Railway department and would return on weekends to visit their wives. The husbands were later offered employment in the Mill. Amongst the Lithuanians employed there were Barauskas, Bernaitis, Brazauskas, Cepliauskas, Damasevicius, Diciviene, Jankunas, Jokubaitis, Matikulas,Merliunas, Palukaitis, Vitkus, Vanagas, Vikas.

For more information on the Mill I recomend reading "Onkaparinga: The story of a Mill" by Carol Brockhoff (1992)

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

First SA Lithuanians

Research conducted by Jonas Vanagas reveals that the first Lithuanians to SA were the Varno family, consisting of parents a son and two daughters. They arrived on the ship the Skjold in a group of 275 from Prussia. The family settled at Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills. I have searched the BDM's for any mention of the Varno family and have found none. The shipping list available online also reveals no Varno family for the ship the Skjold. I have no doubt that Vanagas found some reference to the Varno family but as yet have not been able to trace the source. I have tried variations on the spelling of the name also with no luck. Did they move interstate? anglicise their name? I won't give up seeking though, there must be a reference.