Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Šaruno Marciulionio Basketball Academy

Basketball to a Lithuanian is known as the second religion.  Australian Lithuanians also embraced the love of this sport, so much so that when a youth basketball team from Šaruno Marciulionio Basketball Academy came to Australia in 1990 it was a big deal. 

A boy’s youth team arrived in Adelaide on 11 March with their sponsors and Zita Mačiulionyte, Šarunas’ sister.  They arrived to Adelaide heat, maybe not hot for those who grew up here but coming from Lithuania the 35 degrees would have been felt.  Aged between 16-18 years the team played several games in Adelaide against the SA Sports Institute.  The first game was won by the Lithuanians by 4 points, 71-67. The second game held on the 13th at Seymour College which they won, 90-79.  The third and final game began poorly for the Lithuanians, being 14 points behind before they scored.  They pulled together and again managed to win 78-69.  The Lithuanians played a friendly match against Adelaide Vytis again winning.  Following the game, the players returned to Lithuanian house for a meal and camaraderie with the Adelaide community members.
On the 15th, Adelaide bid goodbye to the team as they caught a bus to Sydney. 
I can remember the tshirts and pendants given out by the players, orange and black featuring an eagle. Like the one below for the Academy’s opening in Vilnius.  The Academy is still running.

Š. Marčiulionis is one of the best Lithuanian basketball players of all time. He was a first player to go to the NBA from the Soviet Union, and one of the first European players to enter the NBA. Šarūnas is a cavalier of the 1st, 3rd and 4th Order of Vytautas the Great, and Order of the Badge of Honour.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Kaminskas poet from Kaunas

Kazys Kaminskas amongst other things was a poet.  He married and raised a family in Adelaide after arriving heer after WWII.  His poetry was often printed in the Adelaide Catholic newsletter.

Forced to leave one’s homeland would have broken many hearts and ending up under a foreign land, different language, culture, landscape was too different for some. His poems often mentioned his beloved homeland, his childhood memories of growing up near the banks of the river Nemunas and his parents.  His book is titled ‘Po svetimu dangum’ ‘Under foreign skies’ published in Adelaide in 1981. 
Tėvynėje liko lyg sapnas praeitis:
Jau pradingo jaunystės dienos ir laimė,
Beliko tik svajoniu žiedai,
O mano gimtąjį kaimą
Aplanko tik ilgesio sapnai.

As fate unfolded, he actually passed away in Lithuania, fortunate to see his beloved homeland free once again. He once wrote in a poem about death, ‘Mano kūno pelenis svetiname krašte’ (my ashes will be in a foreign land).  I think he would be happy they weren't.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Clothes and Shoes to Germany

In 1954, the Adelaide Lithuanian community was still sending clothes and shoes back to Germany.  Destined for Father Vaclovas Šarka in Hamburg, the boxes were to be distributed to Lithuanians residing in Germany, but who do not reside in cities and do not receive BALF packages (United Lithuanian Relief Fund of America (Bendras Amerikos Lietuvių Fondas A Šalpos)  (BALFAS).  These Lithuanians often live far from the larger Lithuanian communities in DP camps and are hard to reach and sometimes forgotten.

Father Šarka wrote to the community thanking them for their generous contribution and that material from Australia lessens their need and strengthen their spirit.