Tuesday, 31 July 2012


I have just reached over 10,000 page views for this blog.  I am really enjoying researching the community I grew up and in and have learnt so much doing so.  I grew up with world recognised architects, singers, athlete's and never new it. I am discovering such a rich history of which I am proud and am glad that I can share this with other interested people.  I hope to continue researching the community until we reach the present.

Thank you to all to read this blog, your interest motivates mine. 

Monday, 30 July 2012

Their celebration was just like home

This article was written by Max Fatchen for the Mail on 30 Oct 1954. 

In the George Murray Hall of Adelaide University last Saturday night, a unique meeting was held. It was the first gathering in Australia of men and women from Lithuania who had belonged to the Scout movement which was associated with the social activities of Lithuanian Universities.     It was also the first meeting ever of Lithuanians graduates in this country.    This is the story of some of the people who went along.
They were happy days in 1938 when pretty Stasė Korsakaitė was doing her dental course at Vytautas, the Great University in Kaunas, Lithuania.  There she met engineer Antanas Pacevičius, an assist ant to one of the professors, and they fell in love.  For keen-looking Jonas Kalvaitis there had been good days, too, with plenty of work when he did his law course there. There had been an occasional duel, but no one ever got hurt.  It wasn't only the academic side that was so interesting at this Lithuanian University.  There were the colourful student’s organisations, like the Scouts. This was one of the first universities in Europe which the Soviet movement penetrated. The students in the Scout groups wore peaked caps and bright sashes, and the girls called themselves Scouts as well. Then came the war and their university careers clashed.  Jonas Kalvaitis who had become a public prosecutor and a magistrate, turned instead into a fugitive from the Russians.  The Pacevičius family had to escape from the Russians too.  But they did not forget their university nor the good times.  It stayed in their minds and in the minds of other graduates through labour camps, train bombings, and frantic escapes.  Then they came to Australia and started to build a new life.  Stasė and Antanas Pacevičius built theirs slowly but they built it, until they had their own home, a car and three happy children.  But they didn't forget their university days or the happy times with the Scouts and other student organisations. 'I wish.' said Mrs. Pacevičius, 'we could meet again and talk and sing our student songs.'  Last Saturday night they did just that in the first meeting of Lithuanian graduates ever held in Australia.  It was also the thirtieth anniversary of the Scout movement in their university.  It was symbolic chat the meeting was held in a university building in their new country — the George Murray Hall of Adelaide University, and what pleased the Lithuanians was that they were able to use it without charge, like any other university body.  The University warden Mr. Frank Borland, told them in a little speech of welcome.  'We are glad to have people from a sister university meeting here among us.' And it was symbolic, too that among the audience of 120 were not only graduates of Lithuanian universities, - but also undergraduates of Lithuanian descent now going to Adelaide University.   So students of yesterday talked to architects and doctors of tomorrow.  Mrs. Pacevičius said: 'We wanted to hand on some of our traditions to them, and tell them what we did in our university days.' Round the wall of the hall were 14 emblems of Lithuanian student organisations and Scout groups.  Representatives of various groups each made a short speech.  In the chair was Mrs. Pacevičius with the navy, red and white sash of the Girl Scouts draped over one shoulder.  Behind her was the emblem of her Lithuanian University, painstakingly copied from her diploma of dentistry.  There was Lithuanian food.  There were songs, like the student song the men had loved to sing.  Translated, it goes, in part: — 'We love girls with beautiful eyes.  If we see them our heart gets so weak.' There was tradition even in the invitation card.  It said '7 p.m. - academically' — which was a Lithuanian joke, because academic people are always late.  In other words the meeting started at 7.15 p.m. The master of ceremonies at this kind of student social in Lithuania always called 'silence' in Latin, and banged the table with a sword.  So Mr Pacevičius borrowed a fencing toil from Adelaide friends and rapped the table when he wanted quiet.  All those sitting at the committee table wore traditional white gloves. One woman even had a rakish student's cap. One of the speeches was made by Mr. A Plokštis, a former solicitor in Lithuania. He now works in an Adelaide factory.  He said, in effect: 'Everything has changed so much now, we have been through very much.

But now I have a different life.  It doesn't matter that I am working in a factory.  I am free and my family has a new chance for education and life.  Jonas Kalvaitis, too. spoke of his university days. Perhaps his unspoken thought was of the death sentence the Russians had given him in his absence in 1946.  He works in the metal department of a city firm.  But on Saturday night he was back in the past again.  And tall young Stasys Cibiras spoke.  He escaped twice from the Russians, and has a bullet scar on his arm; he is chairman of the Lithuanian Students Society of Australia. There are 53 attending Australian universities, and 25 of them are in Adelaide.  This same Cibiras is swotting for his final law examinations.  He is in the University Air Squadron, training for the administrative side as a pilot officer.

He spoke for new Australian students such as George Naujalis (Architecture) and attractive table tennis star Aldona Snarskytė  (Medicine).     Dr. J. Mikužis spoke. Once he was a lecturer in medicine at a university in Lithuania.  He has done a three year course in medicine at Adelaide University. And now he is in private practice again in an Adelaide suburb.   As Saturday night went on the antidotes came more freely, the songs sounded happier.  There was so much to remember that midnight came all too quickly. The Lithuanians departed—happy to have talked of old times, happy to know that another university should interest itself in them, happy that some of their people are getting a new chance as students.   Mrs. Pacevičius looked at the spires and outlines of Adelaide University against the night sky and said softly:  'For a while it seemed as if we were home again.''

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Lithuanian Vietnam Veterans

I have posted earlier on Lithuanian's in WWI as identified by Govnor.  I am sure there were also Lithuanian in WWII and a few I have identified in Vietnam.  I am sure there are more than this list, but these were obvious.  The ones in red are those with a South Australian connection.  I believe they all returned.

The Nominal Roll of Vietnam Veterans lists approximately 61 000 men and women who served in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in Vietnam, or in the waters adjacent to Vietnam, during the conflict between 23 May 1962 and 29 April 1975.

ANDRIEJUNAS Algirdas Peter Captain in Royal Australian Army Pay Corp
AUKŠTINAITIS Peter Sapper in Royal Australian Survey Corps
BAGDONAS Algirdas Antanas Corporal in Royal Australian Infantry Corps
BLAZEVIČIUS Algis Anthony Corporal Royal Australian Infantry Corps
BRAŽIONIS Peter Vytas Gunner in Royal regiment of Australian Artillery
BRUZGA Algimantas Petras Captain in Royal Australian Infantry Corps
DIČIUNAS Algirdas Petras Engine Room Artificer 1st Class, Marine Engineer
DIČIUNAS Rimgaudas Engine Room Artificer 1st Class, Marine Engineer
DRYŽA Saulius Private in Royal Australian Army Ordnance Corps
DYBALA Raymond Seaman, Royal Australian Navy
DŽIUKAS Linas Captain, Royal Australian Army Medical Corps
GRUDŽINKSAS Jurgis 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Australian Army Medical Corps
GRUŠAUSKAS Edwardas Steward, Royal Australian Navy
JARAŠIUS Bernardas Flight Lieutenant, RAAF
KRYŽIUS Alex Sergeant, Royal Australian Army Service Corps
KUČINSKAS Richard Private, Royal Australian Army Service Corps
MACPANAS Leonas Private, Royal Australian Infantry corps
NIČIAUSKAS George Private, Royal Australian Infantry corps
PAŠKEVIČIUS Robert Seaman, Royal Australian Navy
PRANEVICIUS John Lance-Corporal, Royal Australian Medical Corps
RINDZEVIČIUS Ronald Private, Royal Australian Infantry Corps
SADAUSKAS Ronald Private, Royal Australian Infantry Corps
STADOLIUKAS Antanas Engineering Mechanic, Royal Australian Navy
STANKEVIČIUS Valentinas Flying Officer, RAAF
ŠUKYS Algis Corporal, Royal Australian Army Medical Corps
VADEIKIS Ray Lance-Corporal, Royal Australian Infantry corps
VASALAUSKAS John Acting Leading Stewart, Royal Australian Navy
VIKUCKIS Robert Corporal, Royal Australian Infantry corps

Thursday, 19 July 2012

1000 Balts in South Australia

Employed On High Priority Work

More than 1,000 Balts were employed in South Australia on work of the highest priority, the Deputy Director of the Commonwealth Employment Service (Mr. P. K. Dwyer) said on Saturday.

It was probable, he said, that several hundred more Balts would be allocated to SA before the end of the year and that fairly large numbers of women would be made available to alleviate shortages of staff in country hospitals.

The men would be employed in brick manufacturing, water works and sewerage, forestry, timber mills, road and wharf construction, gypsum mining, salt harvesting and State and Commonwealth railways.

Mr. Dwyer said that 15 Balts were engaged on the Leigh Creek coalfields and others were on labouring work at the Woomera rocket range. There were 100 Balt women in hospitals and institutions.

The Advertiser Monday 6 September 1948

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Australijos Lietuvis

Balts at Leigh Creek coalfields are producing their own newspaper in Lithuanian.  It is surely the only one of its kind in Australia.

Run by George Glusauskas, the ‘Australijos Lietuvis’ (which means “Lithuania in Australia” comes out once a week.

Its 10 typewritten pages are run off a duplicating machine, and so I’m told are read very thoroughly by all Balt migrants at Leigh Creek and many elsewhere.

My knowledge of Lithuanian is small, but I gather that the paper covers a wide field.  There seems to be plenty of stories about world affairs; “Komunistu antidemonstracija”, one story is headed, and there’s a story about a “Berlyno blokados” and “US sekretorius Mr Marshall”.

And on page 2 there is a poem.

Passing by Mr Pim The News Wednesday November 3rd, 1948

Monday, 9 July 2012

First scout camp continued

The final camp day, January 2nd was visitors day, the day where group results were presented.  Strong hot winds meant the planned activities couldn’t go ahead. The majority of campers went back into Lobethal for mass, while a few stayed to guard the camp from the stormy winds.  Dust, smoke and wind coming from one of the biggest bush fires South Australia had ever seen ripped through the camp. The camp leaders quickly decided that the camp was at an end and transferred camp materials to a Mr Dičiunas’ truck.  That day became known as 'Black Sunday'.  The bushfires swept through the Adelaide Hills, blackening 600 square miles of country from One Tree Hill in the north to Strathalbyn in the south.

The camp met its objectives, which were to foster the Lithuanian language and culture among its youth.   The scouts learnt many new Lithuanian songs and got to experience living in the bush.

The camp participants were still owed a last camp fire after the camp ended earlier than anticipated. 

An evening with a camp fire was organised for the evening of February 16th, 1955.  The guides and scouts gathered at in the bush near Blackwood.   After the program the Women’s association organised food.  The camp fire leader V. Stasiskis gave the final words, ‘Do all you can for the fatherland and never give up hope for Lithuania’s future and our return there’.  All scouts and visitors then linked arms for the final song before dispersing, ‘Ateinant naktis’. Labanaktis!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

First Lithuanian scout camp in SA

From 27 December 1954 through to the new year, Lithuanian scouts and guides gathered for their first camp in the State. On the morning of December 27th about 25 scouts and 23 guides boarded a specially hired bus from St Joseph’s church in the city to make their journey to the camp site at Lobethal in the Adelaide hills.  Thirteen tents were erected, with a wooden cross in between.  A kitchen, a dug in table that was decorated with a tower and cross with “rupintojelis’ in the middle.  Across the small creek the scouts build some steps to a site where the fire was built. 

Early the next morning the scouts arose for exercise which was followed by a quick tidy of their uniforms and tents before inspection.  Following this all marched to the cross for the flag raising where the scout prayer was said and the Lithuanian and Australian anthem sung.   After a hearty breakfast the days activities began. Sport, scout games, and camp improvements . After lunch followed some free time, then more activities.  As evening settled in the flag was lowered, a prayer said and the hymn ‘Marija Marija’ sung.  Once dark a fire was lit where campers would sing, perform skits or other performances.  The evening ended at 10:00pm and, only those on night duty were allowed to wander. 

Special guest, Mr E.W Dearman, the Country Fire Service area commander came to speak to the scouts.  He spoke of bush fires, how they occur, and how to avoid them. He lent the camp several fire extinguishers which was kept  outside the kitchen or by the campfire, or sometime used by the scouts for water fights.   Other speakers included P. Jasevičius spoke of the phenomena of folk meteorology.  Mrs Pacevičius spoke to the girls on hygiene and Stasiškienė taught the girls weaving, while some of the boys tried their hand at shooting a small calibre gun.

The camp was visited by distinguished ‘aunts and uncles”.  One evening Pulgis Andriušis visited and demonstrated how he could light a fire with one match.  He then spoke of his childhood.  Pakalnis sang  a moving ballad about the devil who tried unsuccessfully to build a bridge across the river Nemunas. Australian scouts leaders also paid visits, Mrs Trimble, Miss M Sullivan (SA District Commissioner) and Miss May Douglas (State Commissioner) and Mr W.R Thompson (Adelaide Commissioner).
Miss Douglas wrote a message to the scouts;

It is a great pleasure to see a such a good camp, particularly in conditions which are new to you all.  Congratulations on it all, good layout and most of all the evidence of real Scouting and Guiding spirit.

On another day the campers marched into Lobethal where they viewed the country town, then set about tidying up the war memorial and even sang a few songs to the hospital patients.