Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A little bit of Lithuania in the outback

The town of Eucla is beautifully positioned on the top of an escarpment with ocean views, some 12 kilometres to the WA/SA border in the middle of Nullarbor Plain.  The township consists of six streets, with a Police Station and Motel Hotel complex with restaurant and Caravan Park catering to the needs of passing travellers.  With a population of just 50, it literally is the middle of nowhere. 

One might however see a touch of Lithuania in the town.  One of the streets is Patupis street, named after Gediminas or Steve as he was known.  Gediminas and his brother Vytautas  (Patupas, not quite sure how they ended up with different spellings of their names) arrived in Australia at the end of 1949.  Gediminas ended up owning Eucla's Amber Motel, just off the Eyre Highway.  The hotel is very much the heart of the small settlement.

If that’s not enough to convince you of a Lithuanian bond then the 20 foot high white metal cross with stylized tulips may persuade you.  This cross is dedicated to all Christians and to those whose efforts made the highway and a new Eucla, constructed on 13th October 1969.  Despite its name ‘Travellers cross’ it has become a memorial to Eucla residents.  Two of those memorials are dedicated to Steve. They both feature the Gedimino stulpai (Columns of Gediminas) an iconic Lithuanian symbol.  I couldn't find out who made the cross, but a reasonable guess would be that Steve had a hand in it.

Steve passed away in 2005. 

Cross at sunset 2 http://www.theatreperson.com/tag/homestead/

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