Monday, 14 September 2015

Queensland #2

Last week's post outlined early Lithuanian migration to Queensland and mentioned one of those settlers, E C Phillule:


E C Phillule appears to have been an energetic personality.  My post of 8 June 2015 described two of his letters to the editor, one to The Telegraph (Brisbane) printed on 20 July 1917 and one to Karys (Kaunas, Lithuania) printed in 1920; both letters were strongly in support of Lithuania's struggle for independence.

Despite the very small number of ethnic Lithuanians there at the time, Phillule 'had great ambitions for the Lithuanian community in Brisbane in the 1930s', as described by Luda Popenhagen in Australian Lithuanians pp 24-25:
After arrival in Australia his first job was as a taxi-driver; he then purchased a service station, and eventually entered the import-export business.   He drew up plans to build a Lithuanian club at his own expense, and whose design would combine traditional motifs and contemporary architecture.  It was intended to function as a large-scale centre promoting Lithuanian culture to the greater Australian public.  The Australian Lithuanian Society .. [based in Sydney, of which he was an honorary member] .. was consulted about the plans ... Unfortunately, disagreements on administrative and technical details prevailed, and the project was abandoned.
After WWII broke out in 1939 .. [he was] able to assist Lithuanian migrants who arrived in Brisbane.  In 1940 approximately thirty Lithuanians arrived from Vladivostok. ... [They] were destitute and needed assistance to acclimatise to living in Brisbane.  The generosity of Paliulis and another Lithuanian businessman, Ruzgys, came to the rescue of many newly arrived Lithuanian families in Brisbane during WWII. 

Edward Charles Phillule's background before arriving in Australia is unclear.  He applied for British citizenship in Brisbane in July 1916, stating on his application for naturalisation that he was born on on 4 March 1881 in Chicago Illinois (USA) and that he was an American citizen by birth.  On the other hand, the headstone on his grave in Brisbane tells us that he was born in Lithuania.  I have not been able to confirm either claim.

His application for naturalisation also states that he arrived in Brisbane from 'Russia, Lithuanian' on 9 July 1915 aboard the 'Sant Albons'.  The St Albans did dock at Brisbane on that day, so it seems likely that he was indeed aboard, one of '20 Russians' whose names are not listed.  The St Albans sailed to Australia from Japan, so it appears that Phillule may have departed from the Russian Far East.  His spelling of the ship's name as 'Sant Albons' suggests a primarily Russian, as opposed to American, education.

Phillule married Lydia Annie Klatt in Brisbane in September 1915.  His application for naturalisation the following year shows that they were living on the corner of Hope and Melbourne streets in South Brisbane and that he was a shopkeeper.  His request for naturalisation was granted in August 1916.

By the mid 1920s he was operating a garage and auto workshop and had become a successful small businessman in Brisbane.  Trove carries numerous newspaper references to Phillule's business dealings, including advertisements for rental accommodation and automotive services; there were also fines for false income tax returns.  E C Phillule sold his Clayfield service station, locally known as 'Phillul's garage', for 4000 pounds in 1939.

He died in February 1945, aged 64, and was buried at Lutwyche Cemetery, Brisbane.  His grave displays two of the important elements in his life: his Lithuanian identity (the Lithuanian cross in the centre) and Freemasonry (the masonic symbols on the left and right).

Source: Australia and New Zealand, Find A Grave Index,
[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012

Notes:  The secondary records variously show this man's Lithuanian surname as Piliulis or Paliulis.  I have used Piliulis as per Metraštis No. 1.

Sources: Trove; National Archives of Australia;; Australian Lithuanians.

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