Monday, 23 June 2008

The year is 1962

Programme of events for the Lithuanian community in Adelaide

1961 – New Years Eve ball held at Centennial Hall, Wayville

January 15 Vytis Club dancing party
29 Women’s Committee children’s party
February 11 Catholic Council Carnival Ball
12 Adelaide Lithuanian Community party
19 Independence Day
26 Adelaide Lithuanian Association Yearly meeting
March 5th Scouts “Kaziuko Mūgė”
19 Adelaide Lithuanian Community yearly meeting
April 5th Adelaide Lithuanian Association ball
29th Vytis Sports club ball
May 7th Mothers Day concert
13th Adelaide Lithuanian Community ball
27th Students Ball
June 18th Baltic deportation memorial
24th Vytis sports club ball
July 8th Adelaide Lithuanian News balls
29th Women’s committee ball
August 12 Šventadieno Balso Ball
26 Scout ball
September 10th Lithuanian National Day memorial
23rd Saturday school Parents committee ball
October 14th Adelaide Lithuanian Association Ball
22 Lithuanian Catholic Council Party
28th Vytis Sports Club Ball
November 18th Women’s Committee Ball
26th Adelaide Lithuanian Association Ball
December 3rd Sports group outing
27th Women’s Committee Christmas
31st Adelaide Lithuanian Committee New Years Eve ball

Friday, 20 June 2008

In Memoriam - Kristina Karazija nee Cavill

Eight years ago today a good friend of mine died from Leukemia. Her name was Kristina Karazija nee Cavill. Kris loved life, she ran through it and would have more stories to tell than most 90 year olds. Being with her was an adventure, she had a way of making you do things, before you knew it you would be gardening in her back yard, not angry more perplexed as to how you got there. Kris loved all things Lithuanian, her mother was born their and passed on her love of the country. Kris learnt the language, was a member of the Lithuanian Dancing group and traveled their on several occasions. We traveled to Europe together in 1990, I can even recall her talking in her sleep in Lithuanian. In 1997 she married Algis Karazija from Melbourne and settled not far from her parents home. A considerate and loving person it wasn’t a real surprise that she worked as a nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital in the Oncology ward. Ironically it was here that she passed away in 2000. One thing I have learnt form Kris is that life is short so live every minute of it.
Ilsėkis Ramybėje
Rest in Peace Kris, until we meet again.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Baltic Holocaust

In June each year the Baltic people remember the mass deportations of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians from their homelands to Soviet slave labor and extermination camps that occurred in June 1941. Some 60 000 people were taken from their homes on the nights of June 13 and 14th. Men, women and children starved in cattle trucks en route to Siberia. Many died of cold and disease in the Gulag archipelago.

Each year the Baltic communities gather to commemorate these events so not to forget. A church service is usually held with a laying of a wreath.

In 1988, the 75th year from this tragedy was commemorated with a public demonstration that began at the War Memorial on North Terrace. Balts dressed in traditional costumes carried flags and laid wreaths at the steps of the war memorial. Youth dressed in black with their faces painted white displayed numbers on the front of their clothes. The numbers represented the thousands who perished.

After the laying of the wreaths those present moved to the Adelaide Town Hall. The youth dressed in black, stood on the steps leading into the Town Hall, so each entrant could count the number of people lost. A combined Baltic choir sang “Advance Australia Fair” and “Requiem”. The Baltic Council president Maret Kneebone spoke, followed by Ilze Radzins who read an Estonian and Latvian poem. After an interval cellist Janis Laurs played which was followed by songs sung by the Lithuanian and Estonian choirs. To finish the combined choirs sung the national anthems of each country.

A plaque has also been placed at the Migration Museum, remembering the atrocities of 1941. The Balts were the first to place a plaque outside the entrance to the museum, which is now surrounded by other nationalities who wish to remember atrocities that occurred in their own country.

Musu Pastoge 4/7/1988 nr 26

Monday, 9 June 2008

Lithuanian House (Lietuvių Namai)

An old church property was purchased by the community. The Lithuanian Society’s President Vaclovas Reisonas and Architect Karolis Reisonas began planning renovations. Four rooms were added to the north of the hall and after a few years a vestibule, kitchen, library and toilets were added. In 1966 further renovations took place to enlarge the stage and construct the museum and archives. All that remains of the original church is the roof.

In 1960 a house was also purchased at 10 Eastry Street, Norwood, next door to the church, where a basketball court was built and a shed constructed. In 1972 another house at 16 Gray st (around the corner) was purchased where the rear yard was used for a carpark.

In 1973 Architect Eugenijus Kalibitas was contracted to design a modern bar and club rooms where billiards could be played. A women’s room, office and Lithuanian radio programme studio was also constructed.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Independence Day 1949

The first Lithuanian Independence day commemorated in Adelaide was held on the 19th of February, 1949. It was held at the St Ksavero Cathedral, where a mass was given by Father Reardon. An eleven man choir led by organist A Giniotis sang Lithuanian hymns.

The commemorations moved to the Cathedral hall where A. Šliužas spoke in English about Lithuania to their Australian guests. Further performances by violinist Pranas Matiukas and singer P. Rutenis were performed as well as three dances by the National Folk Dancing group. Accordionist V. Čepauskas performed and J. Pareigis conducted the men’s choir singing four folk songs.

For many Australians this may have been the first time they experienced aspects of Lithuanian culture and after this event many more followed. Matiukas and Rutenis were asked to perform on radio, the dancing group began receiving invitations to perform at concerts, in hospitals and many different organizations.

Metrastis I (Australian Lithuanian Year Book)