Monday, 23 December 2013

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

Thankyou everyone who visited this blog in the past year.  Next year much is planned with the Archives, and we hope to make more information accessible.
Here is to 2014 being a fantastic year for Lithuanian history.
Linksmu Sv Kaledu.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Mt Gambier LIthuanians

I have written a post on Mt Gambier Lithuanians before.  Here is more.

By 1953 there were 12 Lithuanian families and eleven single men living in the town.  Several Lithuanians owned their own businesses, including a furniture shop, a restaurant and a sawmill.  A Lithuanian folk dancing troupe led by A. Janušaitiene and her three adult children.  Mt Gambier did not officially form any Elderate.  After 1960 had no formal interaction with the Federal Executive of the Australian Lithuanian community.
(Australian Lithuanians by Popenhagen)

I have managed to identify 21 names, consisting of families and single men who lived for some time or longer in Mt Gambier.

Many who went, worked in the area as part of their 2 year government contract, some stayed on and made their life their.  Most worked in the forestry area at first.  Some 3000 people live and work among the forests of exotic pine trees and associated mills.  Government owned sawmills at Nangwarry and Mt Burr in the Penola forest.

Lithuanian born Martin Bendikas, 30, about to plant a row of year-old pinaster pines in a nursery at Penola Forest. He has been in Australia for eight years, has applied for naturalisation. August 1958 PRINCIPAL CREDIT: photographer Don Edwards  National Archives of Australia

At least nine of these men or families settled in the area.  Bzekis had a motor upholstery business in Mt Gambier, Zabiela had his own wood cutting business.

If anyone knows more about these families I would love to hear from you.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Publications printed on the way to Australia

'General Black' concert program
Daily newsletters, souvenir journals and the like were printed on board the ships that carried the new migrants to Australia.  They are typed and often illustrated by someone on board with some artistic talent.   The language varies, depending on who is publishing the item.  Most are in several languages of the Displaced Persons, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, German, Ukrainian, Russian and English. They often include interviews with members of the crew, facts and information about Australia, an itinerary of travel locations, poems, historic items of Lithuania’s history.  Some contains articles talking of preserving Lithuanian culture and traditions when they live in Australia.

Many contain lists of key personnel on-board, details about the ship and even a page for signatures to be collected. 

From the souvenir edition of newspaper printed on board the USAT General Heintzelman in November 1947.  The first transport carrying DP's to Australia, post WWII.

'General Heintzelman' 1947
We have ceased counting the days which have passed since we lost sight of the European coastline.  With each hour more and more miles increase the distance between is and the hopelessness and idleness in Germany, bringing us nearer to a new worthy life in a new land.  We are animated by gratitude for the rehabilitation which we are offered by the Australian Government in conjunction with the IRO.  We are determined to become good citizens of our new country and we fervently desire to take once more our place in a community which will accept us as its members, each one of us working to the best of our abilities, with regard to our individual aptitudes.  

These abilities and aptitudes are a heritage from our native countries on the shores of the Baltic Sea, our only native countries for which there will always be a feeling of longing and reverence in our hearts.  We all are sons and daughters of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and such we will remain, remembering that once were ours.  The fate and suffering of the Baltic peoples ar known to the greater part of the world, to the rest we shall untiringly tell of them until the day that our native countries regain their freedom and independence.

This ship is a link between our distant native country and our new refuge.  Is it our wish that this review be a link between the passengers and the crew on this ship. 
Back cover with signatures of publication on
board General Stewart, Feb 1948

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Delegates from Australia to Youth Congress 1966

Delegates from Australia to the World Lithuanian Youth Congress in Chicago 1966

Čibas Romas                            Sydney
Didžys Martynas                        Melbourne
Didžytė Jieva                           Melbourne
Doniela Vytautas                       Sydney
Kazlauskas Algis                        
Kisonis Dr Gerutis
Kolakauskaitė Judita                 Sydney
Labutytė Daiva                        Sydney
Maksvytis J
Mališauskaitė Nijolė Aušrelė   Melbourne
Maželytė Daina                       Adelaide
Pullinen Juhani                        Sydney
Pullinen Pajauta                       Sydney
Račauskas Romas                      Sydney
Reisgys Rimantas                      Sydney
Sagatys D
Sagatys Evaldas                        Brisbabe
Skuodaitė Danutė                     Sydney
Stepanas Antanas                      Adelaide
Straukas Vytas                          Adelaide
Stankunevičius B
Stasiškytė Giedrė
Šimkus Algis                             Melbourne
Šiuksterytė Emilija                   Adelaide
Vaičiurgytė Nijolė                    Sydney
Zdanavičius Dr Kazys                Melbourne
Zinkutė Ramunė                       Melbourne
Žiedaitė Rūta                          Sydney
Adelaide delegates; Vytautas Straukas, Emilija Siuksteryte, Daina Mazelyte, Antanas Stepanas

Three Australians at camp Dainava, from left;  J. Kolakauskaitė, N. Mališauskaitė, R. Žiedaitė

Thursday, 28 November 2013

1966 World Lithuanian Youth camp and congress

Mūsų jėgos mūsų žinios
Laisvai Lietuvai Tėvynei!

Delegates came from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Uruguay, Australia, England, Belgium, Italy, France, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and America.

The camp ‘Dainava’ was held in Manchester, Michigan, a youth camp where the youth from different parts of the world could meet and get to know each other. 

Each day of the camp was themed;
Sunday 26 June Lithuanian youths freedom in the world.
Monday 27 June Youth and Lithuanian culture
Tuesday 28 June Lithuanian youth in Lithuania and Lithuania today
Wednesday 29 June Lithuanian youth and politics, Lithuanian community

This was followed by the Congress in Chicago from the 30 June – July 2nd.  
Lokys an opera in five scenes, based on the story by Prosper Merimee was performed on 1 July 1966, in Chicago. Music by Darius Lapinskas

A song festival was held on the 3rd July at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago, with over 1200 singers and 1000 singers in the youth choir.
Australian delegates to camp Dainava
Camp Dainava

Next post, Congress participants from Australia.

Monday, 25 November 2013

World Lithuanian Youth Congress 1966

Pasaulio Lietuvių Jaunimo Kongresas PLJK
World Lithuanian Youth Congress

The first world Lithuanian youth congress was held Chicago, USA from June 30 – July 3, 1966.  Lithuanian Youth from around the world were invited to participate.  Student representative were invited to the organizing committee for the World Lithuanian Congress to be held in 1966 in Chicago, USA.

In 1966 the first Lithuanian World Youth Congress took place in Chicago and at Camp Dainava in Michigan. Young people between the ages of eighteen and thirty from various parts of the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and South America came together for the first time to experience their cultural solidarity.  At that time, singing was an integral part of the program and it occurred naturally and spontaneously throughout the extent of the Congress. It was apparent that the same songs had been learned in different parts of the world, and the singing experience heightened the communal feeling shared by those who participated.  

World Lithuanian Youth Congress ( PLJK ) convened every 3-4 years. It is the highest World Lithuanian Youth Association ( PLJS ) body which sets guidelines for the organization's activities and elect a new board of PLJS.

PLJK involved 120 delegates , who are elected by delegates of the congress PLJK adjustments. Representatives elected Lithuanian Youth Association . Congress is also involved in non- voting guests .

The Congress consists of two parts:
Delegates Congress - the formal part, and a camp.
The PLJS Board will present its report on the activities taken, any amendments to the statute, create the next four years of operational objectives and tasks.
An educational program is organised for the participants and guests.

- To maintain and strengthen the Lithuanian identity and national consciousness the world’s Lithuanian youth
- To inspire young people to become active members of the Lithuanian communities abroad

- Encourage the establishment of mutual relations and strengthen ties with Lithuania

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Ethnic Scout and Guide Association

Scouts-in-Exteris, also referred to as Scouts-in-Exile, are Scouting and Guiding groups formed outside of their native country as a result of war and changes in governments. Formed in the 1950s the Ethnic Scout and Guide Association, comprises scout and guide groups from seven European nationalities, from countries which were all previously under communist rule.  The Ethnic Scout and Guide Association coordinates activities, and runs an annual camp for venturer and rover age groups.

The groups that make up the Association are the Australian Latvian Scouts & Guides, the Ukrainian Scouts, the Lithuanian Scouts, the Estonian Scouts, the Hungarian Scouts, the Polish Scouts and the Russian Scout Association.  

The aim of the Association is to foster good relations amongst its members and to encourage its members to uphold traditional principles and customs of their country of origin.   Also, to advance the religious, social, cultural, welfare and recreational activities of its members.

Participating in exiled scouts took up considerable time, which in essence was taken away from one’s own scout association.  It took time to understand each other’s traditions and culture.  English was to be the official language of the Association.  This presented issues of how to present and participate ones culture so other countries could understand and appreciate each other.

Ethnic scouts have been most active in Melbourne, activities continue to present day. Less active have been activities in Sydney and Adelaide. 

South Australia had a similar organisation to the other states, Ethnic Scout and Guides of South Australia (ESGOSA).  Several combined scout camps were held in the 1980’s after which time the association seemed to disband.  
ESGOSA Camp badge, 1984

Monday, 11 November 2013

National Student gathering, adelaide 1958

Australijos Lietuvių Studentų Sąjunga (ALSS)Australian Lithuanian Student Association (ALSS) 

III National gathering, Adelaide 1958

On the first day, all participants met at Lithuanian House.  At the opening were present, 10 students from Sydney, 4 from Canberra, 4 from Melbourne and about 30 from Adelaide.  ALSS President T. Žurauskas stated the purpose of the gathering.  He said that of the 100 students in the ALSS, 17 had finished University in Australia.  People were studying at Adelaide, Armidale, Brisbane, Canberra, Hobart, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth and Sydney. 

Well known Adelaide author, Pulgis Andriušis gave a reading. He explored ideas and the importance of the students place in an English world.  This was followed by a meal and time to socialise.

The second day was spent relaxing at Sellicks Beach, and then a tour of Adelaide.  The evening was spent as guests at Girukas house.  The third day before lunch was spent taking in the sights of the art and history precinct on North Terrace in the city.  They visited the Adelaide University, Art Gallery and Museum.  Following lunch was the formal part of the meetings. They discussed all sorts of issues.  It was decided the following national gathering would be held in Canberra.

The final evening was spent at the Reisonas’ home.

Extracted from ‘Studijuojant Australijoj, ALSS 1952-1967

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Australian Lithuanian Students

Australijos Lietuvių Studentų Sąjunga (ALSS)

The Australijos Lietuvių Studentų Sąjunga (ALSS) was formed in 1952.  Members were university students or those studying at a higher professional level who have completed a diploma.  Branches were formed in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, Canberra had a eldership.  An informal group met in Brisbane, Newcastle and Perth.

Tertiary students in Adelaide began to appear soon after post WWII arrival, in the early 1950’s.   Stasys Čibiras instigated the establishment of a group in Adelaide. Officially began in 25 August 1951.  The group rose in number to 13 members by the time the first formal gathering was called on 19 April 1952.  On this day a committee was elected which consisted of Stasys Čibiras as president, Algis Navakas and Nemira Šiunaitė.

The group aimed to actively participate in the Adelaide Lithuanian community and to keep ties with other Australian Lithuanian students.  A two shilling membership fee by each member was invested so dance evenings could be held.  Ten years later the number had risen to 50 students and 24 graduates.

Adelaide instigated the first Australian student gathering which was held in Sydney in 1956.  Others were held in 1958 and 1962.

ALSS Adelaide Branch Committee
Romas Urmonas                        President
Dalia Levickaitė
Sigitas Martinkus
T Žurauskas      President
J .Arminas, V. Giruckas, D. Varoneckaitė, Antanas Lapšys.
This committee formed the central committee and organised the ALSS gathering.  12 new students enrolled in university that year.
Antnas Stepanas                        President
J. Martinkutė, Rimas Daugalis, and Ramunas Dunda.
Juratė Naujalienė                      President
Laima Radzevičiutė, Violeta Vasilauskaitė, Rimas Daugalis ir Gytis Šimkus
Vytautas Straukas                      President
Emilija Matiukaitč, Laima Radzevičiutė
Gytis SImkus    President
Rasa Pacevičiutė, A. Radzevičiutė
Vytas Straukas                            President
A. Tugaudyte, A. Radzevičiutė, K. Baškutė, V. Vanagas
This committee became the national  committee and organised the Adelaide national gathering.

The committees organised Initium and Finis Semestri, Žirnius ir aluti, outings to the countryside and readings and discussion evenings.

The committee pushed the Kūlturos Fondo (Cultural Fund) to instigate a Lithuanian course in Adelaide.  The students donated copies of the groups newsletter Lituanus to the Barr Smith Library.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Rukstele painting of Elder Park

I wonder where this painting has ended up?

The Adelaide News, 16 March 1950

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Another Lithuanian leaves Adelaide

Well known Lithuanian social worker Mrs Varnauskas, Unley after living in Adelaide for 7 years is leaving the country for the USA to join her married daughter in New York,  Being a widow and no longer young, she still used to find enough time to visit Lithuanians in hospitals and give help to anyone who was in need.  About 60 members of the Lithuanian community, many of them former patients, last Saturday held a party at Mrs Navakas home, Hindmarsh to bid farewell and wish Mrs Varnauskas good luck in the new country.
For her charitable activities Mrs Varnauskas was presented with several valuable gifts and souvenirs.

The Advertiser 1 Sept 1955

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Lithuanians appeal to the SA Parliament

The former Minister of the Interior of the free Lithuanian Republic Mr V. Pozela now living in Adelaide as an immigrant has submitted to the Members of the SA Parliament through Mr Cyril Hutchins MP a proclamation signed by the 21 members of the constituent Lithuanian Legislative Assembly.  Such proclamation after being published was submitted to Parliamentarians of all free nations.

In it is pointed out that communism is the greatest enemy of the Western Freedom and civilisation.  The signatories request the Parliaments to influence their respective Governments as follows:-

1. Not to recognise or approve Lithuanian’s annexation to Russia which was done by force.

2. Not to enter into any treaty with the communists which in any way would imply recognitions or approval of occupation of Lithuania and other European countries.

3. Strictly to observe the UN Charters thereby allowing Lithuania to regain independence and to elect its Government by free elections and

4. To assist the European Nations enslaved by Communists in fighting against the communist criminal offences as; religious persecution, mass deportations, denial of human rights, economic exploitation and various forms of harmful actions.

The News 12 July 1955

Saturday, 19 October 2013

A Lithuanian family is leaving for the USA

Another news article.

A prominent member of the Lithuanian family in Adelaide, Dr of Law Eduardas Jansonas from Kensington Gardens, accompanied by his wife is leaving Australia for the USA to join his son and to undertake a position as lecturer in international law at the College of Law in Philadelphia, USA.

Dr Jansonas, during his six years in Adelaide enjoyed a high reputation among his countrymen and for several years was on the Advisory Committee of the Good Neighbour Council.  As an expert in Lithuanian and German law, he was well known to SA Lawyers.
The members of the Lithuanian community bade him farewell at a social evening held at the ‘Pinguin’[This is the way it was spelt, it may be incorrect] restaurant, Angas st on November the 11th.

The Advertiser 12 Nov 1955

Monday, 14 October 2013

A Lithuanian migrant takes up work in a new profession

Another submitted news article.

Vladas Morkys, HPA, Roper st, Adelaide has completed recently Hubbard Professional Auditors Training Course.

Being fully qualified for the work in the field of Dianetics and Scientology, now he is opening his office for public service in Adelaide.

His professional aim is to help the people to increase their abilities in resolving beneficially the problems of everyday life, including the ability of eliminating nervous and psychosomatic ailments, such as fear, anger, constipation, headache, fatigue, asthmatic troubles etc.

The Advertiser 17 Nov 1955

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A new Lithuanian play in Adelaide

Another submitted news article.

The Lithuanian Theatre Studio in Adelaide directed by Mr J. Guscius will give on the 2nd and 3rd of December, the performance of a Lithuanian play “High castle” (Aukštadvaris) by the Lithuanian writer V. Alantas at the Studio Theatre, Wellington Square, North Adelaide.

Mr J. Guscius was well known in Lithuanian as a full time producer for radio plays in Lithuanian Broadcasting Service.  After the war in Germany he produced several internationally famous plays in Displaced Persons camps.  When he arrived in Adelaide, five years ago, he gathered a few former Lithuanian artist and amateurs and started his Theatre Studio. Every year he produces a few plays, which are very popular amongst the Lithuanians.  A few months ago his Studio tried a play in English which was a considerable success.  But his main purpose is to show the works of famous Lithuanians writers to Lithuanians in Adelaide.

Advertiser 1 Dec 1955

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Back to your homeland

During 1955-1956 numerous articles were writing about Lithuanians in Adelaide and the situation in occupied Lithuania and submitted to Adelaide newspapers, the Advertiser, the News, the Sunday Advertiser by V. Radis.  I haven't found these articles appearing in Trove, so am not sure if they were actually published.

Adelaide Lithuanians feel annoyed by the red General N.F Michailov’s invitations to return to their homeland.  Many received personal invitations others specially printed newspapers for their purpose entailed ‘Back to your home country’.  In both the invitations and the newspaper it is naively attempted to show that the refugees are starving and being exploited.

This red General is the president of a communist organisation in East Berlin named ‘Back to your home country’ which published a newspaper of the same name and for the same purpose.  This newspaper is spread among the refugees in the western countries.

The organisations activities deal with the following three points;-
1. Publishes a newspaper which maligns the west and praises the life in communist occupied countries.
2. Tries to persuade refugees to return to their homelands by extending to them personal invitations 
3. To extort signatures of refugees relatives living behind the Iron Curtain to certain propaganda letters composed by the organisation which in due course are posted to the respective refugees in the west.

The Lithuanians of Adelaide send back the invitations.  Some of the Lithuanian residents in Adelaide who have received invitations to come back to their country have send them back to the senders pointing out that their invitations would be considered only when all Russians who are this moment are crowding all over Lithuania. Would remove themselves, that is get out.  One of the residents has stated in his reply that such invitations are not tolerated by Lithuanians here and that no one has ever the slightest desire to return to Lithuania in its present state of occupation.

Advertiser 7 March 1956

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Summer youth camp, 1970

The Catholic organised a summer youth camp from 2 to 14th of January at ‘Kurša’ the Latvian camp grounds at Aldinga beach.  It wasn't the best place for a camp site as it was a bit far from the beach and the breezes cool. 

The camp was lead by Nemira Masiūlytė, assisted by R. Kubiliutė. Camp commandant was D. Karpys, camp cook was Visockiene, Janilionienė and Marcinkevičiutė.  Every evening father Kazlauskas and Father Spurgis would hold readings and discussions.  Guests spoke on various topics, L. Pakalnis spoke about Lithuanian poetry, A Kubilius spoke about practical Catholicism, M. Gavienienė about catholic ideology, V. Straukas and Father Spurgis led a discussion of youth issues, G. Kaminskas spoke on the Lithuanian language.  V. Vosylius gave a slide show featuring Lithuanian scenes.  P. Pusdešris spoke on and led a traditional partisan evening with a crown of flowers being let out to sea.
There were 25 children at the camp, with five of them had travelled from Melbourne.

The final day of camp, Father Kazlauskas said mass, followed by the youth showing what they had learned throughout the camp, singing national dancing, recitals. 

Monday, 16 September 2013

Mother's Day concert 1970

It has become traditional for a Mothers day concert to be held by the Adelaide Lithuanian community.  When there were two schools, there were two concerts.  St Casimir’s school children held a concert after Father Spurgis had given mass. The children all marched into the church hall to pin a flower to their mother as they sat by the tables ready for the concert.

A welcome was given by the school principle K. Pažera, followed by B. Dičiūnas on behalf of the Catholic centre. Lithuanian Catholic Women’s president, Teresė Gasiunienė and A. Kubilius also spoke briefly.

Aušros Vartu Marijos (The gates of dawn holy Mary) and live flowers decorated the stage. Poems were recited by Vincas Bagušauskas, Viktoras Dunda, Kristina Stankevičiutė, Andrius Vitkunas, Brigita Paul, Edis Jucius, and Aidas Kubilius.  Regina Pranskūnaitė, Sietynas Kubilius, Petras Urnevičius and Saulius Kubilius recited more poems.  In between the children’s choir sang, and teacher, R. Kubiliutė sang a song about mothers.  Regina Pranskunaitė and Ramunė Varnaitė played the piano.  Also present were senior Catholic Youth, Linas Kubilius who read part of Vaižgantis writings and Gintaras Kubilius read Father Krasauskas thoughts about mothers. 

Juozas Tumas, also known by the pen name Vaižgantas (September 20, 1869 - April 29, 1933), was a prominent Lithuanian writer, Roman Catholic priest, social activist, literary historian, and one of the founders of the Party of National Progress. He wrote novels, short fictional pieces, and non-fiction. His most notable works include the novel Pragiedruliai (Rays of Hope) and the narrative Dėdės ir dėdiėnes (Uncles and Aunts). Tumas is considered one of the most important Lithuanian writers of his era.

A mother’s day concert was also held at Lithuanian House on the same day.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Friends of Lithuanian Minor Adelaide Branch

Adelaide Mažosios Lietuvos Bičiulių Draugijos

Lithuania Minor is a historical ethnographic region of Prussia, later East Prussia in Germany, where Prussian Lithuanians or Lietuvininkai lived.  Lithuania Minor enclosed the northern part of this province and got its name due to the territory's substantial Lithuanian-speaking population. Today a small portion of Lithuania Minor is within the borders of modern Lithuania and Poland while most of the territory is part of the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia. 

On 25 January 1953, over 200 people gathered in the Excelsior hall in Adelaide for a Klaipėda region commemoration.  The event was to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Klaipėda Revolt. The region was detached from the East Prussia of the German Empire by the Treaty of Versailles and became a mandate of the League of Nations.  It was placed under provisional French administration until a more permanent solution could be worked out. Lithuania wanted to unite with the region (part of Lithuania Minor) due to its large Lithuanian-speaking minority of Prussian Lithuanians and major port of Klaipėda – the only viable access to the Baltic Sea for Lithuania.  The Lithuanians organized and staged the revolt. The rebels established a pro-Lithuanian administration, which petitioned to unite with Lithuania citing the right of self-determination.  The League of Nations accepted the fait accompli and the Klaipėda Region was transferred as an autonomous territory to the Republic of Lithuania on February 17, 1923.  After prolonged negotiations a formal international agreement, the Klaipėda Convention, was signed in May 1924. The convention formally acknowledged Lithuania's sovereignty in the region and outlined its extensive legislative, judicial, administrative, and financial autonomy. The region remained part of Lithuania until March 1939 when it was transferred to Nazi Germany after the German ultimatum.

The commemoration began with Dorothy Oldham playing the Australian and Klaipėda region national anthem.  The event was opened by the Friends of Lithuania Minor president Valentinas Zalkauskas.  He honoured those who had died for Lithuania and the Klaipeda regions freedom. Mr Reinke gave a speech which was followed by a concert.  Eglė Rūkštelienė and Paulius Rūtenis sang a folk song.  They have a flair for interpreting songs and their song choice was very apt.  The songs beautifully showed their love of their homeland.  They sang ‘Sėdžiu prie langelio’ (Sitting by a window) and ‘Giedu giesmelę’ (I sing a song).

Adelaide theatre student Kučinskas gave an impressive recital of Prosčiunaitės “Vėjai iš rytų’ (wind from the east).

Dorothy Oldham was an outstanding Adelaide pianists, she is not Lithuanian but would often play piano for members of the community. 

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Mixed Voice Double Quartet Choir

Two quartets, one women’s ones men who sang Lithuanian folk songs.  The choir organised a one off performance on February 16th, 1951 in the Adelaide Town Hall.  From this invitation were extended the choir to perform at the ABC, Nuriootpa wine festival.
Women’s quartet consisted of Leonayda Kilikonienė, Janina Maželiene, D (probably Ona) Naudžiuvienė, E. Duchauskas (who later changed with A. Maželienė).  

Men’s choir consisted of Česlovas Zamoiskis, Jonas Abromas and Mečislovas Rudzenskas and ?.  Jonas Zdanavičius was the musical director.  Soloists were sung by Antanina Gučiuvienė, Elena Rūkštelienė and Paulius Rūtenis. 

Proceeds from the evening went in support of the Vasario 16 (February 16th) Lithuanian high school in Germany.

The group later released two folk songs produced in Chicago in 1952.

It was interesting to note that many of those mentioned soon left Adelaide for the USA.  Leonayda and her husband Vytautas Kilikonis moved to Elgin, Illinois, leaving Australia in 1956. Elena Rūkštelienė, her husband and four children moved to San Francisco in June 1955.  Ona Naudžiuvienė   and her husband, Kostas went to live in Los Angeles, leaving in May 1955. Jonas Zdanavičius also left the Commonwealth on the 29th March 1955, but I wasn't able to find out where he migrated to.  

A write up of the event appeared in the Advertiser.

Lithuanian Music and Dancing 
A concert of Lithuanian music and dancing, given in the Adelaide Town Hall last night to celebrate the Commonwealth Jubilee, was well attended.

In the first half of the programme solos were contributed ay Pranas Matiukas (violin) Elena Rukštelė (soprano) and Vivien Tuck (piano).

National dancers, under the leadership of Maria Grėbliunas, gave three groups of dances in costume during the second half, and a double quartet, conducted by Jonas Zdanavičius, sang groups of folk songs.

A collection of Lithuanian handcrafts was also on view.

The Advertiser 17 Feb 1951

Friday, 30 August 2013

Digitised Lithuanian heritage

It was with much excitement that I learned that Lithuania had began to digitise and place on-line historic records. 

They are calling it The Virtual Electronic Heritage System (VEPS).  Through the portal called epaveldas you can access thousands of cultural heritage objects newspapers, manuscripts, maps and sound recordings.  So far they have digitised 2 295 506 pages of documents preserved in archives, libraries and museums, 17 500 images from the Lithuanian Art Museum and 11 000 musical works (sound recordings with the total duration of 71 580 minutes).

There are several reasons why this is great news to anyone researching Lithuanian history or their family.  Digitised records include Birth death and marriage records for numerous areas.  Its not complete and you may have to know Latin, Russian or Lithuanian cursive.  It is also not indexed, so you have to go through page by page.  You also need to know the area your family came from and then search for records around that area.  If you do find something yo can save and or print.

The other great news is that they have digitised the Australian Lithuanian newspaper 'Musu Pastoge" from 1949 to 2010.  Again its not indexed, so unless you have a reference it may take awhile to go through.  

You can translate the web page to English, but all documents are in Lithuanian. Having been used to our wonderful Trove website, this appears very clunky, but it can only get better.  Its well worth a play and a few hours of your time, you never know what you will find.

Monday, 26 August 2013

V-16 school in Germany

Vasario 16, (February 16) Lithuania’s Independence day is the name given to the only Lithuanian High School high school outside Lithuania.

During World War II, thousands of Lithuanians left their homeland fleeing Soviet occupation. By the close of the war, most of them had ended up in Germany. As war refugees they were housed in “displaced persons camps.” Conditions were harsh and their future uncertain. Yet they did not allow that to discourage them and went to work establishing Lithuanian educational institutions for themselves and their children.  By 1947 there were 26 Lithuanian high schools, five Lithuanian technical colleges, and 112 Lithuanian primary schools in Germany.

As Lithuanians emigrated many of these schools were closed, but 8,000 Lithuanians chose to remain in Germany.

In 1950, Germany’s Lithuanian Community established a single high school for Lithuanian students. The high school was founded in Diepholz—the site of a displaced persons camp where many Lithuanians had lived since the end of the war. In 1954, the Lithuanian Community acquired Rennhof Manor House with its twelve-acre park in the town of Lampertheim-Hüttenfeld. The school was relocated there.
Following the reestablishment of independence, the school continued to serve as a cultural centre for Lithuanians in Western Europe and a bridge between Lithuania and the West, providing an opportunity for the children of Lithuanian expatriates to integrate without losing their Lithuanian identity.

The Australian Lithuanians did not forget this school and many gave donations in support.  For Lithuanian Australians the school was physically and economically out of reach for many years.  It wasn’t until 1980 that someone from Australia enrolled in the school.  In 1980 Raimondas Andrekus donated $1000 for an Australian Lithuanian to attend the school for one year.  The gift was awarded to Andrius Binkevičius from Adelaide.  Andrius was to receive another $500 from N Butkus.

Other Adelaidians to attend the school have been;
Dana Baltutytė
Anita Baltutytė
Birute Stalba
Linas Pocius
Daniele Pocius
Vanessa Milen
Matthew Page-Hanify

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A women's work is always done!

The year is 1995. 

In the year 1995, Salomėja Vasiliauskienė was president of the the Lithuanian Catholic Women’s Society , Saulienė Pušdešrienė was secretary, Birutė Budrienė was Treasurer and Jovita Vosylienė looked after everything else.

They did have helpers, Terese Gasiunienė was the Prayer Coordinator, Stefa Ciplienė organised the church decorations, Prane Horskienė took care of the priests robes and Judita Nekrošienė visited those sick in hospital.    Elena Baltutienė was in charge of inventory and Stasė Bardauskienė oversaw the kitchen.

In that year, Judita visited 74 sick people, 48 of whom were in nursing homes.
Six priests visiting and stayed at the Catholic centre, which meant the women oversaw all their food and accommodation needs.

The Catholic Women held 15 meetings, they participated in the Australian Catholic procession in honour of St Mary.  They visited the Baltic homes, organised and catered for the ‘Užgavėnės Balius’ (Ash Wednesday Ball).  They organised the annual ‘Šiupinys’ (medley concert), this being the 35th one. 

Lithuanian participating in the Catholic procession
of St Mary, at Rostrevor.
Lunch followed by coffee and cake was made after each Sunday mass.  Then the dishes had to be washed, the church hall cleaned and the church cleaned.

The women held lotteries which supported the Australian Lithuanian newspapers, Šventadieno Balsas, Melbourne’s Tėviškes Aidas, and churches in Lithuania.

Many of these activities made money, and so what did the women do?  They donated it of course.  The profits were donated to those in hunger, Lithuanian church, St Casimir’s College in Rome, a blind nephew of a church member, and the Deportees home in Vilnius.  Money was donated to local groups, the Vytis sports Club, the Radio hour, the Lithuanian weekend schools.  Some money was spent on new table cloths for the church hall and a new meat mincer.

The Women’s Society earned that year $10,399.15.  They spent $10, 221.54, leaving them with a total of $177.61.

The hours of volunteer work that these women gave, year after year always astounds me.  They had their own families, their work, their own homes to tend, but the Lithuanian community was so vital to their existence that they always found time.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The Lithuanian Lion visits Adelaide

His long blond locks of hair and his fierce attitude on court earned Vitas Gerulaitis the nickname 'the Lithuanian lion'.  Born in Brooklyn, USA to Lithuanian parents, he followed his fathers talent on the tennis court.  Vitas senior had won the Lithuanian tennis championship in his youth.  By 1984, Vitas junior, had won 27 titles and was ranked no.4 in the world.

In 1980, he visited Adelaide, with his father, where they visited another former Lithuanian tennis champion, Alfonsas Remeikis.  Remeikis was living in Adelaide at that time.

Vitas accidental died in 1994, aged only 40.  While sleeping at a friends house, he was poisoned by carbon monoxide leaking from a faulty swimming pool heater.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Adelaide's own 'The other Dream Team' member

In 1990 Basketballer Romas Brazdauskas came to work and live in Adelaide with his wife, Rasa and son, Lukas.  Romas had come to Australia previously and had attended the Australian Lithuanian scports festival in Melbourne.   He came to Adelaide to play with West Adelaide.

The Other Dream Team, 1992 bronze medal winners in Barcelona. Romas is far right.  
Romas was born on 20 February 1964 in Kretinga.  At 204cm tall, he wasn’t someone to miss.  Previous to coming to Australia he  played for Panevėžys "Lietkabelis", Vilnius "Statyba",. Ryga "ASK" (Latvia), Vilniaus "Statyba", and Kaunas"Žalgiris".  He was awarded the ‘All Stars Five’ medal here and had a 76% shooting rate.  

In 1992, while still in Australia, Romas was selected to play for basketball for Lithuania at the Barcelona Olympics.  This was the first time Lithuania had a national team since the restoration of independence in 1990.  The team went on to win a bronze medal, defeated by Croatia and the American ‘Dream team’.  Wearing their ti-dyed, yellow green and red t-shirts the Lithuanian team included some of the greatest Lithuanian players Valdemaras Chomičius, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Arvydas Sabonis, Šarūnas Marčiulionis.  Upon his return to Adelaide, Romas was proud to show off his medal at Lithuanian House.  He even made a special appearance at the Saturday school where all the children wanted to be included in a photo with Romas and his medal.

Romas and family lived in the caretakers house on Grey street.  He also took care of the Lithuanian hall.  Romas also played for the Adelaide Lithuanian team ‘Vytis’ and on Saturday would coach the younger team.  Another son was born while in Adelaide, Tadas. 

On his return to Lithuania he played for Plungė Olimpas, then a year in Slovakija with Inter.  He finished his basketball career playing for Kaunas ‘Atletas’ in 2001.  

With a basketballer father it is no surprise that Lukas is following in his father’s footsteps.   A centimetre taller than his father, Lukas is now playing for Alytaus ‘Dziūkija’.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Easter celebrations 1961

On April 9th, 1961 an Easter Egg exhibition was held at St Casimir’s church hall.  The Easter granny  (Velykų Bobutė) was present to give chocolate eggs out to over 100 children.  The program was instigated by A. Stepanienė, who warmly thanked all for coming to the event.
The church stage was decorated in green foliage, with a window of Easter granny house. From here  you could see the children begin their performances, of dancing, poems, games and a pageant.  Mr A Barauskas read the story of the Easter legend.  Keršytė read, M. Staugaitė and M. Blaževičiutė performed a dance.  K. Kuncaitis, V. Bardauskaitė, J. Juciutė and R. Staugaitė beautifully recited from memory an Easter poem.  R. Kubiliutė narrated a long story about the Easter bobutė.  L. Varnas and V. Gudiškis staged Easter egg painting.  N. Vyšniauskaitė and R. Kubiliutė read from works of Antanas Baranauskas, a famous Lithuanian author.  

After another dance the performances continued.  V and F Antanaitytė’s, D. Barauskaitė, R. Jasiūnas and J. Beinoravičiutė recited poems.  The Easter bobutė signalled from her house window and a flock of rabbits to appeared, G. Kubilius, L. Varnas, A. Blaževičius, J, Juciutė, S. Valčiukas and M. Blaževičiute.  They each held baskets filled with Easter eggs.  They greeted the surprised children and danced a rabbit dance.  Following this, the rabbit flock came down from the stage and handed out chocolate eggs with everyone in the hall.  

The event was organised by E. Varnienė, A. Stepanienė, A. Zakienė and K. Pažerienė.  The Catholic Women’s group prepared a supper for the performers and parents who sat and enjoyed the delicious food. 

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Juozas Bačiunas Library

A library was established not long after the Lithuanian House was purchased in Eastry street.  It began with an old cupboard filled with donated books.

On 30 December 1962, the Library was officially opened by Juozas Bačiunas, President of the World Lithuanian Society, visiting from America.  Bačiunas was honoured by officially having his name bestowed to the Library and cutting a Lithuanian sash.

The Library workers appealed to the community for further donation, and Bačiunas sent several parcels of books from America.  The ALB Adelaide Community Society donated 50 books, and later would donate books in the memory of deceased community members.
After a short time the Library had over 1000 catalogued books.

The Library expanded its purpose by selling books, music, Lithuanian folk art and jewellery.  Visiting authors and book launches were supported by the Library.

In 1990, the Library held 3,800 books, subscribed to 18 newspapers and journals and had 121 borrowers.  

After 51 years the Library is closing, with only two borrowers and tired staff it is a logical decision.   Having said this it will open again, not as the Library we knew it as but a place that will hopefully have more benefit to the community at this time.  More to come. 

Library workers
Bronius Straukas 1957
Mečislovas Urbonas 17 August 1963
Elena Reisonienė 21 January 1967
Kostas Pocius 1 January 1981
Nata Alvikienė Sept 1985 – still there in 1992
Renata Urmonienė 11 April 1999 – 30 June 2013 
Marytė Neverauskienė 1973 – 2013 (40 years)
V. Vitkunienė 1985 - 1999
J. Kutkienė 1967 - 1982
Brone Lapsienė there in 1992
Ona Baužienė there in 1992

Stefanija Rudzenskienė 1967 - ?
Katryna Garbalauskienė 1967 - 1980
Laisve Daugalienė 1985 - 1999
Dana Pretty 1999 - 2013
Albina Gudelienė 1999 - 2013