Friday, 29 March 2013

American All Stars program

American All Star team arrive in Adelaide
Jonas Jonavicius (Organiser) in light grey suit, Standing on first step is Vladas Adamkus (Tour Manager), next to him is Martynas Pocius (President of the Adelaide Lithuanian community)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

American All Star tour of Australia pt II

The American All Star Basketball team was in Adelaide between Tuesday 28th July to Monday 3rd August 1964.  They played six of those seven days various teams.

Tuesday 28th July                     American All Stars vs Adelaide Vytis
Wednesday 29th July                American All Stars vs Australian Latvians
Thursday 30th July                   American All Stars vs Australian Lithuanians
Friday 31 July                          American All Stars vs SA State Team
Saturday 1st August                 American All Stars vs Australian Representatives
Monday 3rd August                   American All Stars vs SA State Team

Adelaide VYTIS team
5     R. Petkūnas
6.    Sigis Visockis
8     J. Gumbys
9     L. Urmonas
11   A. Ignatavičius
12   Eddie Gudelis
13   Rimas Daugalis
14   Romas Pocius
15   V. Ramonaitis
30   V. Stankevičius

USA All Star team
Date of birth
Home town
Points scored
Valteris BAZENAS

6’ ½
Andrius ADZIMA
Centre or Forward
Los Angeles
Centre of Forward
Centre or Forward
Forward or Guard
Centre or Forward
Forward or Guard

Sunday, 24 March 2013

USA Lithuanian All Star Basketball team in Australia 1964

The idea of the American Lithuanian team was born in 1962 during the Sports festival by J Bačiunas (President of the World Lithuanian Communities) who was touring Australia at that time. Early in 1963 the Lithuanian Athletic Union of North America contacted the Federation of Australian Sports Clubs and these two bodies began planning a tour.  

The Manager of the USA team was Mr Vladas Adamkavičius (Adamkus, recent President of Lithuania) who had led them on a successful South American tour in 1959.  Adamkus was an all round sportsman but his successes were in athletics.  In 1949 he migrated to the USA and partook in Lithuanian community sports events.  He retired from sports in 1954 and turned his interests to sporting administration.  

The coach, Vytautas Grybauskas grew up playing basketball in Lithuanian and while he attended Vilnius University.  While in exile in Germany he was selected for a Lithuanian All Star Basketball Team that toured France in 1948.  He played exceedingly well and was given an opportunity to stay in France to play and coach.  In 1953 he moved to the USA and participated in basketball, tennis, table tennis and soccer.  He coached the South American tour of 1959.

Eleven players formed the All Star team, ageing from 18 to 28 years.  The tour to Australia lasted for a month with matches played in Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth and Tasmania.  

The Adelaide organising committee consisted of Jonas Jonavičius (Chairman), S. Urnevičius (Vice-Chairman), J. Pyragius (Vice-Chairman), Viktoras Baltutis (Secretary), and Robertas Sidabras (Treasurer).  Members were: A. Šliužas, G. Rakauskas, Balys Nemeika, A. Merūnas, Mrs Bronė Lapšys, Juozas Doniela, Juozas Lapšys, J. Jaunutis, Petras Andrijaitis, S. Milaknis, P. Lukošiunas, V. Jankauskas. 

To be continued.....

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Nemuno Dukros (Daughters of Nemunas)

Uršulė Juciene, Anelė Urnevičienė,
Birutė Budrienė, Teresa Gasiunienė

Kur bėga Šešupė, kur Nemunas teka
Tai mūsų tėvynė, graži Lietuva

(Where the Šešupė runs, where the Neman flows That's our homeland, beautiful Lithuania)
Almost every Lithuanian can recite these words by heart. It is so well known that it is treated as an unofficial national anthem.

The Adelaide Lithuanian Catholic Women from 1961 organised an annual “Šupini” (mixed concert).  The women wanted to strength these concerts with Lithuanian songs and so a women’s vocal quartet was formed.  It was led by Anelė Urnevičienė.

The quartet first performed on May 15th 1965.  The group comprised of Birutė Budrienė, Uršulė Juciene, Teresa Gasiunienė (soprano), and Anelė Urnevičienė (Alto).  They were accompanied on the piano by Nemira Masiulytė Stapleton.

The group was a great success and so began to perform at festivals, literature evenings, gatherings, national festivals, at Baltic gatherings and at the Baltic homes.

On occasion they became a quintet with soprano Agota Kaminskienė. On other occasions N. Urmerienė and N. Vitkunienė joined them.

In 1971 they released an album of 16 songs, the record was called “Rankšluostiniausiu Lietuva Tėvyne”. They chose the name of Nemuno Dukros (Daughters of the Nemunas).  Performing on the album were members Birutė Budrienė, Agota Kaminskiene, Uršulė Jucienė, Anelė Urnevičienė The first side was accompanied Rasa Kubilius and the second  by Nemira Masiulytė. J Česna produced it, the covering photo was taken by A. Budrys, cover design by Pranas Pušdešrys and Administrator was P. Gasiunas, advisor was soloist A. Gučiuvienė.  The record was launched at the Lithuanian Catholic centre on February 22, 1972.

At various times the group was accompanied by Nemira Masiulyte-Stapleton, Rasa Kubiliutė-Mauragienė, Maria Dumčiuviene, R. Ziukelytė, Svietynas Kubilius, R. Pranckunaitė, S. Vasilauskienė, Dalia Kaminskienė, Father A Savickas, R. Kubaitienė, Algis Laurintaitis, and organ player J. Ramanauskas.

In 1975 Uršulė Jucienė left the group and Saulenė Pusdešrienė joined.  It was again a quartet which remained until 1981.  During that year Anelė Urnevičienė left and Saulenė Pusdešrienė became leader. In 1984 two young singers joined, Judita Nekrošius and Zinaida Vencius. Now a quintet they sang where they were asked and required.

On 30 November 1985 at the Lithuanian Catholic Centre a concert was held to celebrate the 20th year of the group.  Birutė Budrienė, Agota Kaminskienė, Judita Nekrosienė, Zinaida Vencienė sang with Saulenė Pusdešrienė as Manager.  Also performed was Sietynas Kubilius who gave a recital.  While the singers rested their husbands poet Kazimieras Kaminskas recited a poem and Pranas Pusdešris spoke.  Pranas also made the stage decorations. The concert was choreographed by Elena Varnienė.

In 1986 the choir was invited to perform at Melbourne’s Lithuanian catholic Women’s 35th anniversary.  They were accompanied by Zita Prašmutaitė.

Another Nemuno Dukros concert was given on December 9th 1989 with the same quintet as previously, the same manager and accompanist.  Twenty eight songs were sung, the first half was called Nemuno kloniais (Nemunas hollows) and Tėvynės laukais (fields of homeland).  The second half ‘Ilgesio dainos’ (songs of longing) and Lietuva širdyje nešu (Lithuania, I carry you in my heart).

Pranas Pušdesris wrote of them
Gyvuokite, dainuokite ‘Nemuno Dukros’, išeiviškos nostalgijos pagimdytos, ją sugebančios perduoti savo dainose, kad mes vis giliau pasinėrę svetimybių jūroje, nepamirštume Nemuno ir Tėvynės, aušros nušviečiamais keliais. 

Following her husband’s death in 1991 Saulenė Pusdešrienė hesitated to continue. Birutė Budrienė is the only singer who has sung since the group was conceived. 

Nemuno dukros sing songs of longing, they celebrated Lithuania’s independence but in their heart the pain of living over 50 years without being able to return to their homeland still exists.

The daughters of Nemunas sang well in to the 2000’s.
Uršulė Juciene, Anelė Urnevičienė,
Birutė Budrienė, Teresa Gasiunienė
Accompanied by Rasa Kubiliute

1.  Nemunas is the largest river in Lithuania.  It flows through Lithuania before draining into the Curonian Lagoon and then into the Baltic Sea at Klaipėda.  It is the northern border between Lithuania and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast in its lower reaches.  

Monday, 11 March 2013

Early life for Mt Gambier Lithuanians

Some Lithuanians undertaking their two year contract worked in the Mt Gambier area.  They worked for SA Forestry, in the local saw mill and wool processing factory

An extract from Mūsų Pastogė on the work they did in the forest.

We had a water tap by the barracks but no where to shower.  There was no river and the weather was cold.  The kitchen had a wooden stove and one pot.  Once a week we would organise to wash.  Washing was chaotic.  The last two people  had to be washed by 8am so that we could catch the bus to Mt Gambier.  A list of items to purchase was already done as we had to buy a week of food as there was no shop in the forest . A farmer nearby sold us milk and eggs.  Bread was delivered daily to the barracks.

Everyone had to cook their own food, there was only one stove on which one pot would fit.  It was decided that they needed a cook who was paid  a shilling per week. Modestas Čiplys got the job.   Our cook had to boil water every day for tea and cook dinner for us.  We all had to collect wood from the forest for the stove.  

Forester Stolz required an office worker, and as Čiplys had attended Trade school in Lithuania so he went to work there.   Other Lithuanians worked as labourers.  

The nights were cold and we put on all we had brought with us, between the blankets we placed our shirts and tops, anything to keep warm. In the evening we stoked the heater, one stood in each room.  If it was extinguished it got very cold.  
Lithuanian Dance troup

By 1953 there were 12 Lithuanian families and eleven single men living in the town.  Several Lithuanian's 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. And after 1960 had no formal interaction with the Federal Executive of the Australian Lithuanian community.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Memorial to the fallen

Paminklas “Žuvusiems už Lietuva”

Minint Lietuvos kariuomenės atkurimo 50-ties metų sukaktį, Liet Sajungos sodelyje, Adelaidėje, buvo pastatytas paminklas “Žuvusiems už Lietuva” prisiminti. Paminklo bareljiefą sukūrė ir isliejo sculpturė I. Pocienė. Paminklo statybos darbus vadovaujant inž arch K. Reisonui, atliko ramovėnai.

Paminklas buvo atidengtas 1968m laprkričio men 24. Po paminklo tituliniu akmeniu yra įmuryta paminklo Pašventinimo aktas, sauja Lietuvos zemės ir Nepriklausomos Lietuvos monetos.

Memorial to the fallen

At the rear of Lithuanian House in Adelaide stands a memorial that commemorates the 50-year anniversary of Lithuania regaining independence in 1918.  The memorial was built to commemorate those who died for Lithuania.  The sculpture was designed and made by local artist Ieva Pocienė. 

A woman, holds a dying or dead man in her arms.  The woman wears a wimple favoured by married women, maybe the man is her son or husband who has fought for Lithuania’s freedom.  It bears resemblance to Michelangelo’s ‘Pietà’ . This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. 

The memorials construction was supervised by Architect K. Reisonas and constructed by Ramovė members.

The monument was unveiled on 24 November 1968.  A cover of rocks surrounds the memorial which is imbedded with a handful of soil from Lithuania and coins from independent Lithuania. 

A small brass Vytis (knight) is placed at the top of the sculpture, followed by a metal cross in Lithuanian style.  The pillars of Gediminas 
(Gediminio stulpai)  are one of the earliest symbols of Lithuania and one of its historical coats of arms. During the period between World War I and World War II they were used by the Lithuanian Republic as a minor state symbol, e. g. on Litas coins and military equipment.  On the other sign is another Lithuanian symbol the roundel.

A wooden Lithuanian style cross has been erected near the moment, two flag poles stand behind where on commemorative occasions flags are raised and wreaths are laid at the memorial base.