Monday, 8 June 2015

Two historic letters from Brisbane?

Thanks to Tony Čibiras of Canberra who located and forwarded this 1920 letter to the editor, sent from Brisbane to the newspaper Karys (the Soldier) in Kaunas, Lithuania:


In brief, the letter begins with references to Lithuania's rebirth and struggle for independence (while independence had been proclaimed in February 1918, it took several years to secure the new state's borders and gain full international recognition; e.g. from Soviet Russia in 1920, Switzerland in 1921, and the USA in 1922).

The writer, E Pilyps, regrets that he is not able to help in the wars for independence but encloses one US dollar and hopes that he might receive at least a few editions of the newspaper.  One dollar was probably not a large amount in 1920 (a public school teacher in the US earned around $1000 per annum) but it may have been similar to someone sending say $50 today.

I'm not aware of any other articles or letters sent from Australia to publications in Lithuania so early in the twentieth century; perhaps this was the first one?


Here is another letter that I also found interesting for a few reasons; this one was published in The Telegraph, a Brisbane newspaper, on 20 July 1917:


Luda Popenhagen (Australian Lithuanians pp 24-25) wrote about E.C Phillules, giving his Lithuanian surname as Paliulis or Piliulis.  He was 'a self-made man with great ambitions for the Lithuanian community in Brisbane in the 1930s'.  Given that he wrote this letter to The Telegraph during the First World War, he appears to have been promoting Lithuania much earlier.

Although I have no hard evidence to back this with, my feeling is that the two writers above - Edward Charles Phillule and the person who signed his name as E Pilyps - were probably the same.  How many Lithuanians could there have been in Brisbane with the same initials who wrote letters to newspapers?

We know that Edward Charles Phillule arrived in Australia around 1914 and died in Brisbane in 1945.  However I have found no record of anyone called E Pilyps, which leads me to assume it was a pseudonym.

I'm also not aware of any earlier letters to Australian publications on a Lithuanian topic.  Perhaps this was the first?

No comments:

Post a Comment