Monday, 29 June 2015

Settlers in Western Australia

Migrants from Lithuania have been arriving in Western Australia for well over 100 years, yet I have found nothing published about the early (pre-World War 2) settlers.  So here's my contribution.

Previous posts in this blog have already outlined the stories of those Lithuanian Anzacs who had arrived as single men and enlisted in Western Australia, including:

  • Kazimieras ČEPKAUSKAS (Charles Cepkouski/Capouski), born in Arlaviškės (near Kaunas) in 1891, arrived in Australia at Fremantle in 1910;
  • Joseph JOSEPHSON, born in Vilnius in 1886, arrived at Fremantle in 1912;
  • John LOVRIAEN, born in Kaunas in 1889, arrived around 1909; and
  • Kazys VALUKEVIČIUS (Kazis/Charles Walinkevic/Volukavitz, born in Marijampolė in 1884, arrived in 1910.  
Several others also arrived and settled immediately prior to the First World War, including family groups.  The ALANSKAS family arrived in 1912 after having lived in Scotland for 9 years: Antanas (Antoni), who was born in 1882 in the southern Lithuanian region of Suvalkija, arrived with his Lithuanian-born wife Eva (Ieva) - who was also the sister of John Lovriaen -  and their 3 daughters who had been born in Glasgow, Scotland.  The family settled at Bellevue, now a suburb of Perth, where Antanas tended 50 acres and worked as a labourer and brickmaker (source: NAA records).

Perhaps one of the earliest arrivals with Lithuanian connections was Robert Carl Heinrich REICHEL, born in 1834 in Memel (now Klaipėda) who arrived at Melbourne from London in 1859.  He married in 1862 in Melbourne and settled in Victoria but around 1895 moved to Perth where he was naturalised in 1909 at the age of 74 after 50 years in Australia.  At that time he gave his occupation as woodcutter, married, with 8 children alive and 5 deceased.  Robert died soon after, in 1912 (source: family trees).

Another migrant with Prussian Lithuanian connections was Otto Bernhard RIEGERT, born in 1861 in Minjotai.  He had married in South Australia in 1886 but moved to Western Australia with his family in the first decade of the 1900s.  Otto worked as a school teacher and died in 1916 at York, WA (source: family trees).

More migrants arrived after the First World War, anxious to make a start in the New World:
  • Pranas ŠEŠKAS (Frank Seskas) from Kaunas was living at Muchea, WA.  By 26 May 1938, when he placed a notice in the Western Mail of Perth regarding his intention to seek naturalisation, he reported that he had been an Australian resident for 20 years; 
  • Liudvikas KURTINAITIS from the Marijampolė area was living at Northam with his Lithuanian wife Katarina and daughter Adelė when he placed his naturalisation notice in The West Australian of 12 September 1938, stating that he had been living in Australia for 9 years and 9 months;
  • Juozapas LAZORAITIS (Brown), born in Pilviškiai and living at Planet Street, Perth, stated in his notice in the Westralian Worker of 15 November 1929 that he had been in Australia for 13 months, and prior to that for 35 years in Scotland;
  • Zale ZAPOLSKI (known as Zalman Levi) born in Lazdijai in 1904 had been in Australia for 9 years and was living at Bayswater (Perth) when he placed his notice in the Daily News of  13 July 1939 (he went on to serve for Australia in World War 2, 1942-46);
  • Theodore Charef SHARP, born in 1876 in Kedainiai, worked as a salesman and died in Perth in 1940 (Source: family trees).
Kazys ASTRAUSKAS departed on the Osterley from London on 24 November 1928 in the company of the Marcinkevičius family.  However, after only a few months in Sydney, Kazys opted for Western Australia.  The passenger list show that he was 28 years old and his occupation was listed as farmer.  He also had left a family behind in Liudvinavas, Lithuania; 8 months later, having established himself as a carpenter at the Golden Horseshoe Mine in Kalgoorlie he applied to the Commonwealth for permission to bring his wife Albina, two young sons and sister-in-law to Australia; in April 1930 his wife and sons boarded the Orvieto for Australia.  Kazys later called himself Charles Ashe; he became a successful building contractor in Kalgoorlie and a third son was born in 1933.  In 1938 he sought permission to sponsor a good friend from Lithuania, Joseph Samulaitis of Marijampolė, to Australia, but it is not known what the outcome was (Source: NAA records).

With thanks to Daina Pocius of the Australian Lithuanian Community Archives for sharing her research results.

No comments:

Post a Comment