Monday, 21 July 2008

Radium Hill 1951 to 1956

Deposits of Uranium had been discovered and mined on small scales without significant success. It wasn’t until 1946 that the SA Department of Mines commenced preliminary exploration.

By 1950 a camp of 40 men was established and by 1951 200 people had created a new township complete with a post office, Commonwealth Bank, library, canteen, swimming centre and sports ground. By the late 1950’s over 1000 people resided here, the township now included two churches and a school.

It was here that 42 Lithuanians resided for varying lengths many of whom would have been working their compulsory two year contract with the Australian government.

Naturalisation ceremonies were conducted at Radium Hill. Residents seeking naturalization would firstly be interviewed by the Postmaster and inducted at a public ceremony by the most senior officer in the field, this was General Manager Terry Rodgers. The first ceremony was performed at 7:30pm on the 15th October 1955 in the presence of 300 town residence. One of the three employees who took the oath of allegiance that day was Petras MOCKAITIS.

Children of Radium Hill 1951-1961
Christine and Gertrude BABINSKAS

Adults of Radium Hill 1951 - 1961
BABINSKAS Edith Home duties
BABINSKAS Vincentas Motor mechanic Jan 1952 – 1961
BALTRULIONIS Peter Electrician/Linesman Aug 1953 – Dec 1953
BRAŽAITIS Vladas Heavy media operator Nov 1951 – Aug 1955
BRAŽAUSKAS Antanas Bitumous Operator May 1952 – Nov 1958
BRAŽAUSKAS Vaclovas Road worker April 1952 – Nov 1953
DAUGINAS Vladas Winchman Jan 1953 – Aug 1953
FOKAS Jonas U/G Labourer Oct 1958 – Feb 1959
JAKŪTIS Antanas Carpenter March 1953 – Aug 1953
JONAUSKAS Mrs E Home duties
JONAUSKAS Edvardas Miner Aug 1954 – Dec 1961
JUODSNŪKIS Jonas Mill Sampler Jan 1952 – Dec 1960
KARPAVIČIUS Peter Motor Mechanic Jan 1954 – Feb 1954
KIAUPA Dovas Tradesman Ass May 1952 – Sept 1953
LELYS Zigmas Tradesman Ass Jan 1952 – Sep 1953
LIŪGA Algirdas Pipe Fitter May 1956 – Oct 1956
MALCIKAS Stasys Miner Aug 1954 – Dec 1961
MESKELIS Vilgelinos Road worker March 1951 – Aug 1954
MOCKAITIS Petras Mill Sampler March 1951 – April 1956
NAVICKAS Albinas Painter April 1951 – July 1953
NORKEVIČIUS Ronaldas Cook Nov 1951 – Aug 1954
NORKŪNAS Anapras Painter March 1957 – April 1957
PILIPAVIČIUS Leonas Snapman March 1953 – July 1953
PLESTYS Jonas U/G Air hoist operator June 1955 – Sept 1959
PUŠLYS Jonas Flotation Operator March 1953 – October 1953
RINGYS Augustus Mill Sampler July 1956 – July 1956
SIVICKAS Vincas Motor Mechanic Nov 1951 – Nov 1953
SONGAILA Stasys Mill Sampler April 1956 – Oct 1956
STANKEVIČIUS Jonas Builders Labourer Jan 1952 – Aug 1953
STAUGAS Edmondas Painter Jan 1953 – April 1953
SUBAČIUS Vladas Carpenter Feb 1953 – July 1953
VALINČIUS Bronius Mil Sampler Nov 1954 – Feb 1955
VELICKA Balys U/G Timberman Jan 1956 – Dec 1961
VIKNIUS Petras Tradesman Ass Jan 1952 – Nov 1954
VITKŪNAS Bruno Storeman April 1953 – Sept 1953
VOLKOVAS Simonas U/G Air hoist operator Oct 1951 – June 1953
VOSYLIUS Kazys Carpenter May 1952 – March 1953
ZAJARSKAS Antanas Snapman Nov 1950 – June 1953
ZAKARAUSKAS Juozas Carpenter Aug 1951 – Dec 1953

We were Radium Hill: Stories and memories of people who once lived at Radium Hill Malcolm Harrington & Kevin Kakosche Pub by Malcolm Harrington 1991
For more information on Radium Hill go to

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Leigh Creek

One of the first Displaced Persons (DP’s) to arrive in Leigh Creek was Andrius Bajorunas. He came from Lithuania via the Bathurst Army Barracks in July 1948. Because of the housing shortage at Leigh Creek he was most welcome, as single men could be housed in tents. He was employed as a labourer for seven months before being promoted to Bulldozer operator, working on the landing strip for the airport. Although happy with his job, he was also very happy to leave after his two years were up. A few months after his arrival Bajorunas was followed by a group of young DP’s all of whom were in their early twenties. They had only recently arrived in Australia and came from Lithuanian via Germany. Among this group were Vaclovas Navakas and his brother Vytautas who had been directed by the Commonwealth government to go to Leigh Creek. The brothers were allotted a tent and shared it for the next two years.

ETSA recruited DP’s from the Bonegilla centre in Victoria, 43 in total. Among them, Vytas (Bill) Doniela and Jurgis Glusauskas.

Many of them did extremely well once they had finished their two year indenture agreement with the Commonwealth government. Within a few years some of these DP’s had established themselves in such professions as Chemist, Architect, Lecturer, Author and Publisher.

A sizeable number of DP’s stayed on in Leigh Creek for many years after the completion of their compulsory time. They eventually found their way into the community, as did later immigrants. Among those still there in the late 1950’s were Vytautas Peciulis and Juozas Ramanauskas.

Julius Burke (Julius Burauskas) who arrived from Lithuania in 1949, died when his car overturned on the road between Orroroo and Jamestown on 7th October 1972. Although he lived in Leigh Creek since 1963 nobody knew if he had relatives.

In the Leigh creek cemetery lies Petras Daubaras who died in 1974.

Leigh Creek – an oasis in the desert by Nic Klaasen