Thursday, 26 March 2015

What were their occupations?

Most of the information on the early migrants from Lithuania that we can find today seems to focus on the men; so far very little has surfaced about the women.  Partly this would be a reflection of the fact that there were fewer women coming to Australia from that part of the world, but it would also be a reflection of the social norms of the time.

Luda Popenhagen, writing about early twentieth century Lithuanian immigrants in Australian Lithuanians (pp 19-20) noted that:
In the first decades of the twentieth century many Lithuanians continued to immigrate to Australia via Great Britain.  The majority came from Scotland (especially from the coal mines around Glasgow) ... Other Lithuanian immigrants included former soldiers who had served in Manchuria during the Russo-Japanese War, merchant marines working their way around the world, and clerics sent on religious missions to Australia ...
During the 1920s and 1930s several Lithuanians ... became prosperous businessmen, farmers and real-estate agents.  Others found employment as tradesmen ... Still others obtained jobs as manual labourers, miners and loggers.

Looking at a smaller segment - those who joined the AIF during World War One -  Elena Govor's analysis, in Russian Anzacs (p 45) was that:
Overwhelmingly, Baltic Anzacs were young, single men predominantly employed in seafaring - related occupations ... The Baltic men arrived for the most part individually (or in a few cases with brothers or cousins) - either being discharged at Australian ports or deserting their ships ... Seafaring men accounted for 59 per cent of all Baltic Anzacs ... Labourers (including a few miners) accounted for slightly less than 20 per cent and about 14 per cent were tradesmen ... The remainder was made up of a mixture of professional men ... and farmers.  

My impression is that the spread of occupations was fairly broad, not too dissimilar from that of the Australian-born populace; one anomaly, perhaps, is that coming from a largely agrarian society so few took up farming pursuits in Australia.

Here are a few examples of the variety of occupations that the new migrants pursued in Australia:
  • Apothecary - Leopold Nurock (Broken Hill);
  • Bookseller - Abraham Weiner/Alfred Wyner (Qld/NSW);
  • Bootmaker - Ignas Geryba (Sydney);
  • Coal miner - Vincas Dailidė/William Delade (Dapto);
  • Carpenter/builder - Kazys Astrauskas/Charles Ashe (Kalgoorlie);
  • Cabinet-maker - Antanas Juknaitis (Sydney);
  • Draper - Judelis Bekesefas/Judah Bekeseff (Melbourne);
  • French polisher - William Jaks (NSW and ACT)
  • Greengrocer - Jonas Mickevičius/John McCowage (Sydney);
  • Hairdresser - Martin August Trikojus (Sydney);
  • Hotel porter - Alfred Salon (Melbourne);
  • Kitchenman - Zigmas Baltrušaitis/Sid Bolt (Sydney);
  • Market gardener - Vincentas Zwikevitch (Melbourne);
  • Photographer - Jonas Jakovlevas (Melbourne);
  • Priest - Paul Ephraim Zundolovich (Victoria);
  • Shopkeeper/real estate agent - Antanas Bauže (Sydney);
  • Skin dealer - Samuel Heiman/Hyman (Broken Hill);
  • Tailor - Jonas Vedrinaitis/John Wedrien (Sydney);
  • Taxi driver -  Mamertas Marcinkevičius (Sydney);
  • Wool agent - Georg Griff  (Broken Hill);
  • Workshop proprietor - Aleksandras Bartkevičius (Newcastle).

Sources include: NAA (naturalisation certificates); Metraštis No. 1; A Lithuanian in Australia.

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