Saturday, 25 October 2008


Woomera from an Australian perspective

The migrant workers, the so called ‘Balts” ( here refers to true Balts from Estonia, Latvia and Estonia, as well as Germans, Poles, Ukranians and Yugoslavs) presented Security of Woomera with a major headache. Fresh from the chaos in Europe and with every incentive to conceal their past activities, the Balts posed an insuperable problem for those trying to check their political allegiances. Mostly Security had to deal with the Balts at Woomera as they found hem. In theory it should not have been too difficult, for the official edict was that no alien or ‘New Australian’ should be allowed anywhere near the ranges, Evetts Field or classified material. Since their was little sensitive material in those days it should not have mattered much what their political sympathies were if they were only doing rough labouring work. In practice, though, many of the Balts had invaluable skills. A capable draughtsman was worth his weight in gold. To the despair of Security Balts kept finding their way into the Technical Area offices.

In January 1949, 200 Balts arrived clutching their permitted 16 kilograms of luggage they were regarded with a jaundiced eye by some of their Australian workmates, who note enviously that the Balts were being given free handout tools while Australians had to provide their own. Generally the Balts were thought to be unpredictable and were treated cautiously by the Australians.

Fire across the desert: Woomera and the Anglo-Australian Joint Project 1946 – 1980
Peter Morton, Commonwealth of Australia 1989

Womera through Lithuanian eyes

Ten Lithuanians worked here from 1948, many are telephone linesmen, some mechanics and one First Aid officer. We lived in tents and ate with the soldiers. The food is good and there is as much fruit as you like. We had electric lights, hot showers and a small library. Three times per week you are driven to the pictures and sometimes the pictures come to us. Three of us have radios and we are able to receive newspapers from Europe and USA. Alas we had no cards to play with. The days are hot 113F, it has rained on occasion. We begin work at dawn till 12 and receive 10p 8 shillings for a 48 hour weeks wage. The mechanics receive 11p 1 shilling. Food and accommodation is for free. Relationships with the soldiers is good.

Liudas Jaronis 1948
Australijos Lietuvis 1948 Dec 20th no.8

Monday, 13 October 2008

Finding information

I have recently found several websites that have provided some information on Lithuanians in SA.

The welcome wall at the National Maritime Museum
This has 53 Lithuanian names on it, some from South Australia.

Western Australia Museum welcome wall
The State of Western Australia pays tribute to the large number of migrants from many lands and cultures who have played such an important role in the State's social, economic and cultural development.

Details of Steve Patupis can be found here, living at Eucla.

Architects of SA
Architects of South Australia is a database of material about the professional lives and contributions of a selection of the state's architects from 1836 to the present day. In addition to providing scholarly biographical information, the database also identifies the architects' principal South Australian built works.

Information on the work of Architect Antanas Lapsys can be found here.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Municipal Tramways Trust

While researching one Lithuanian I discovered he had worked as a bus operator. Microfiche of the Municipal Tramways Trust employees 1909 -1974 (SA Record Series No.13)are available fro public use. From this I discovered some new Lithuanians I hadn't a record off and some more information on some I had. The resource provided birth date, year of occupation, position and sometime notes were available.

ABROMAS Jonas b.22.03.1927
1951 Conductor

ANDRUSEVIČIUS Pulgis b. 18.03.1907
1952-1956 Conductor from NSW

ANTANAITIS Robert b.29.09.1927
1951 – 1963 Motorman

BEINORAVIČIUS Juozas b.07.07.1920
1960-1970 Conductor transferred to EW&S department

CERNIAKAUSKAS Steponas Mecislovas Aka Stephen Michael SERNUS
b. 25.02.1922
1966 Conductor

CHRZONSTAUSKAS Anton Aka CONRAD b. 12/11/1911
1957 Conductor

GERULAITIS Leonas b. 22.03.1924
1956-1957 Conductor

GUOBA Jurgis b. 23.01.1918
1960 – 1968 Bus operator
d. 1968

GURSKIS Kazimieras b.10.04.1928
1955-1956 Conductor

GYLYS Juozas (Joseph) b. 20.03.1917
1958-1960 Conductor

KUNČAITIS Frank Kestutis Joseph b. 03.09.1953
1954-1959 Conductor (failed to enter under age)

KUNIUTIS Kazys b.06.01.1924
1954-1959 Bus operator

LAPŠYS Jonas (John) b.26.07.1909
1957-1974 Conductor

MAŽILIANSKAS Romouldas b. 01.09.1926
1957-1959 Conductor

Jonas MOCKŪNAS b.11.02.1917
1951-1971 Bus operator

NACEVIČCIUS Bronius b.10.01.1924
1955-1961 Bus operator

NAVASAITIS Romas b.09.05.1923
1957 Conductor Going to Melbourne

PETRĖNAS Algis Vladas b.05.12.1942
1965-1967 Conductor

PETRAUSKAS Teofilius b.11.03.1920
1954-58 Conductor

PETRUŠKA Algimantas b.16.08.1934
1955-1965 Bus operator

POCIUS Konstantinas b.28.12.1912
1951-1958 Bus operator

RUPINSKAS J b. no date
1953 Motorman promoted

SOLOVKOVAS Leonas b.30041925
1954-1955 Conductor

STEPANAS Juozas b. 26.01.1909
1951-1974 Bus operator

VARNAS Kestutis b.29.09.1926
1954-1955 Conductor

VIZBARAS Jonas b.27.09.1919
1951-1955 Conductor Going to Sydney

ZAMOISKIS Augis Algimantas b.02.04.1944
1964-1965 Conductor

ZARCINAS Algirdas (Alexander) b.17.06.1919
1955-1963 Bus operator