Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Scout Balls

On 24th August 1963 the annual scout ball was held.  The theme for that year was “Pušynuose” (In the Pine forest).  Upon entering the hall at Lithuanian House, the aroma from pine trees filled your nose.  Pine branches hang from the ceiling and off the walls. 
The Vyčiai (Rovers) served beer and red and white wine.  The drinks were served from containers on which was written ‘Hospital’ with a red cross.

The band ‘Songailos kapelija’ played waltzes and tangos and even the twist was played for the youth. An assortment of goods made up the raffle for some lucky winners. 

The following year on Saturday 22 August, a more chilling theme was chosen.  From the wooden beams in the hall hung a flying witch on her broom, dressed in black with a large hat.  Bats decorated the walls, a pair of glass owl eyes glared from some pine branches.  Black cats could also been seen.
‘Songailos kapelija’ again played music, and many danced to the waltz, twist and tango.

The tables bent from the weight of food, the hall was crowded, with over 160 people.  The money raised was used for scouts to travel to Melbourne for the national camp at the end of the year.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Vilniaus scout room

Father Kungys blessing the room
A inviting room at Lithuanian house was devoted to the ‘Vilniaus’ troop scout group.  The walls were covered with Lithuanian artwork, each piece had to be of Lithuanian basis.  The room was opened and blessed on 23 April 1961, St George day also World scout day.

Following mass at Lithuanian church a scout meeting was held at Lithuanian House.  Father Kungys, blessed the room, and urged the scouts to continue with scout principles.  Vaclovas Raginis, President of the Adelaide Lithuanian society provided the scouts with their own room where the youth could cultivate their Lithuanian heritage.
Jonas Vanagas was the scout master at that time.   Vanagas as the Museum Curator was able to prepare a display of scout journals and made a guest book was available to sign. 
After some brief speeches participants were able to view the room.  A large table had been made without nails, the legs and frame fixed together with rope.  The curtains had embroidered Guide logo sewn into them by the Guides.  A map of Lithuania, Vytis, wooden cross, photographs and framed letters also graced the walls.  The majority of the material were made by the scouts. 

As it approached sunset, the V. Šulcas prepared a fire where all gathered.  The Girl Guides (paukštytės) gave a recital, and 17 scout camp songs were sung.  The evening ended with the traditional ‘Ateina naktis’ (Night is approaching song) and the fire extinguished. 

The room was were the present day bar is, near the ladies restrooms.  It could be accessed through the hall and had an external door.  The scout room was moved at a later date to one of the rooms in the cottage, adjacent the Lithuanian House where the Saturday school was held.  Many years later, the scout room was again transferred to the Lithuanian Catholic centre where it remains today.  The room however is more of a storage room than a display room.
Kungys, Paceviciene, R. Urminas, J. Lapsys, Vanagas, Neverauskas, Raginis

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Woodside meeting 1949

Lithuanian communities in Australia 1953
ALB Apylinkių ir seniūnijų vadovybėms

Seniunija (Elderate) small community that were founded but did not have sufficient numbers to elect executive committees.  Each elderate had an elected alderman or elder who would coordinate cultural activities and be the liaison with the Australian Lithuanian Community Federal Executive.
The larger groups called apylinkė (community) would elect its own committee to manage the local community affairs. Each committee was directly accountable to the Federal Council (Krašto Taryba).

Adelaide Apylinkės Valdyba      SA
Bankstown Apylinkės Valdyba   NSW
Bonegilla Apylinkės Valdyba     NSW
Brisbane Apylinkės Valdyba      QLD
Canberra Apylinkės Valdyba     ACT
Cabramatta Apylinkės Valdyba  NSW
Geelong Apylinkės Valdyba       VIC
Hobart Apylinkės Valdyba         TAS
Launceston Apylinkės Valdyba   TAS
Melbourne Apylinkės Valdyba   VIC
Newcastle Apylinkės Valdyba    NSW
Perth Apylinkės Valdyba           WA
Sydney Apylinkės Valdyba         NSW
Beechworth Seniūnija              VIC
Benalla Seniūnija                    VIC
Radium Hill Seniunija              SA
Mornington Seniūnija               VIC
Mount Gambier Seniūnija         SA
Wentworth Seniūnija               NSW
Sale Seniūnija                         VIC
Cowra Seniūnija                      NSW
Merriden Seniūnija                  WA
Wagga Wagga Seniūnija           NSW
Cooma Seniūnija                     NSW
Snowy Mountain Seniūnija       NSW
Albury Seniūnija                     NSW
Goulbourn Seniūnija               NSW
Lobethal Seniūnija                 SA
Woolongong Seniūnija            NSW
NSW      14
VIC        6
SA          4
TAS        2
QLD       1
WA        1
ACT       1

Six years after the first post WWII Lithuanians arrived in Australia there were 29 communities.  South Australia had 4, one large community (Adelaide) and three small ones in Lobethal/ Woodside, Mt Gambier and Radium Hill.  Radium Hill and Lobethal existed for only a short time, Lithuanians lived in those places to fulfil their two year contract and then most moved on to larger towns.  Radium Hill existed from 1953 to early 1960’s, Mt Gambier never formally established an elderate, but was most active in the early 1960’s. 
Lobethal/Woodside held a meeting on 15 August 1949 regarding the establishment of Australian Lithuanian Chapter. Thirty-six Lithuanians signed the attendance sheet and the meeting discussed established a folk dancing group so their children could learn.  They had only been in Australia a short time, many didn't speak the language, didn't know the culture, didn't know where they would work or live, and their thoughts were on retaining the culture of Lithuania.  I find that amazing.