Monday, 30 November 2015

Arrivals from Scotland

Individuals have moved between Scotland and Lithuania since at least the sixteenth century. However it was only from the 1880s that significant numbers of Lithuanians began settling in Scotland. By the first decade of the 20th century there were several thousand Lithuanians living and working in Scottish coal mines and steel mills; the linked article from the BBC (click here) provides some background to their lives and communities. If you have a little more time, the linked educational video from (click here) may be entertaining.

Scottish Lithuanians migrating to Australia generally arrived either immediately before the First World War or during the 1920s. A feature of these migrants was that they tended to arrive in family groups; most had lived in Scotland for several years, in some cases for decades, and many arrived with spouses or children who had been born in Scotland.  Another feature is that many of these migrants had already anglicised or simplified their Lithuanian names. Here are a few examples of their stories.

Naturalisation records from the National Archives tell us about Antoni (Antanas) and Eva (Ieva) ALANSKAS who had arrived in Western Australia in 1912 with their three daughters. The parents had been born in Lithuania and lived in Scotland for 9 years, while the children (Annie Kathleen, Mary Cecelia and Maggie Veronica) had all been born in Glasgow. The family settled at Bellevue, near Perth.

The KAIRAITIS/PETRAITIS family had a somewhat different composition. Two brothers, Petras (Peter) and Vincas (William/Bill) Kairaitis had arrived in New South Wales from Scotland before World War One and settled at Blacktown, near Sydney, where they worked as dairymen. Anna Bauze's memoirs relate that by the 1930s they had been joined by their niece Nelly and her husband George Peters, their nephew Bronius and his wife and children, and their nephew Antanas (Tony) who was single. Bronius and Antanas used the surname PATRICK in Australia in place of the Lithuanian Petraitis.  Nelly, Bronius and Antanas had all arrived in 1928 from Scotland.

Another migration pattern is represented by the JESNER family. Isidor Jesner was a Lithuanian Jew who had left Tsarist Russia in 1904 at the age of 19, arriving in Hobart from Glasgow in 1911. Some time later he established himself in Lygon Street, Carlton (Melbourne) where his younger sister Lena joined him in 1928. Lena was aged 33, unmarried, had lived in Scotland for 17 years, and was initially employed by her brother as a domestic. Records at the National Archives suggest that Isidor also sought to sponsor the immigration of other Jesner family members.

William and Margaret DELADE (Vincas and Magdalena DAILIDE) arrived in Australia in the late 1920s with their daughter Natalie, settling at Dapto, New South Wales, where Vincas found work in the coal mines. As recounted in their published family history (click here for the earlier post), Vincas was born in Suvalkija (Lithuania) but left for Scotland in 1912 at the age of 19. Magdalena, on the other hand, had been born in Scotland to Lithuanian parents in 1898.

In Australia the Delade family were friends with another extended Scottish Lithuanian family - the AUGUSTUS/AUGUSTAITIS family. Pranas (Frank) Augustaitis had been born to Lithuanian parents in Scotland in 1892, reached Australia in 1924, and settled in Redfern, Sydney, with his wife Maggie and two sons. They were joined in Sydney by Frank's sister Bella who was married to Juozas PLAUSINIS/known as Joe MILLER; this family lived at Waterloo with their two sons (source: Anna Bauze's memoirs).      


Monday, 23 November 2015

Arrivals from America

Pre-WW2 Lithuanian arrivals in Australia came from a range of intermediate destinations, including continental Europe, England and Scotland, the Far East and South Africa. Some had merely transited through those places, others had lived there for years before embarking for Australia. This post will look at some examples of those who came here via North America. The linked Wikipedia article provides some historical background on American migrations to Australia.

Previous posts have noted a number of arrivals with North American connections: the three Anzacs Adolfas MISKINIS (Adolph MISHKINIS), William KALINAUSKAS/KALINOVSKY/KALIN and David MINOR; as well as Kazys BRAZAUSKAS (Key BRAZ); Edward Charles PHILLULE (PILIULIS); and Vincentas and Kazimiera ZVIKEVITCH.

Possibly one of the earliest stories with an American chapter is that of John Henry SMITH, who according to a record on was born in Klaipeda in 1825, married in San Francisco in 1850 and arrived in Australia shortly thereafter, possibly during the Victorian goldrush.  He died at Eaglehawk, Victoria, in 1885 leaving a wife and three children.

Carl (Charles) OSTERODE, born in 1878 in Tilsit, arrived in Australia in 1903 from San Francisco.  He lived in Queensland for a while but at some point decided to return to the USA; he died in Fresno, California, in 1949.

George BARON was born in Marijampole in 1874 but moved with his parents while still an  infant to the UK. He lived in London for 22 years, followed by 2 years in France, 2 years in Canada and 8 years in the USA before arriving in Australia in 1908. George lived at Manly (Sydney) and became a naturalised subject in 1923, giving his occupation as self-employed gem merchant. He was a single man and died in Sydney in 1929.

Frank BOBRE was born in 1881 in Vilnius and arrived in New York in 1907; he sailed for Australia from San Francisco in 1914. Settling in Rockhampton (Queensland) Frank and his wife raised 4 children. He died there in 1939.

Donnat (Henry) CAPLAN was born in Vilnius in 1893; he lived in the USA for 8 years before arriving in Australia in 1918. He settled in Melbourne, working as a carpenter, and died in St Kilda in 1953.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Victoria #2

Last week's post touched on the migrants of the 1920 and 1930s, and I'll continue on that theme with this post.

The majority of arrivals in Victoria with origins in Lithuania during this period appear to have been Lithuanian Jews (Litvaks) who clustered around inner Melbourne where a Kadimah (cultural centre) had been established in Drummond Street, Carlton, for example:

  • Judelis BEKESEFAS, known as Judah BEKESEFF; his 1942 naturalisation certificate shows that he was born in Vištytis on 7 July 1903; he was recorded as a single man, employed as a draper, living at Drummond Street, Carlton;
  • Mr I LEVINAS, a watchmaker from Lithuania, was on the passenger list for the Oronsay from London in 1930; his destination was Alma Road, East St Kilda;
  • Nathan NOSSEL, from the Kaunas region, notified his intention to seek naturalisation in the Argus of 6 November 1933; he was living at Barkly Street, East Brunswick;
  • Aisikas SEGALIS, known as Isaac SEGAL; his naturalisation notice in the Argus of 4 September 1935 shows that he was born at Žagarė, had arrived in the late 1920s, and was then living at Park Street, North Carlton.    

However, ethnic Lithuanians were also making their way to Victoria between the two world wars.  They did not necessarily settle in Melbourne; an earlier post noted Juozas Ruzgas and his son Balys who lived in regional Victoria before moving to Tasmania in the late 1940s. 

Another example was Vincentas and Kazimiera ZVIKEVITCH who arrived in Melbourne with their three children (daughters Kazimiera and Vincentina and son Albertas) in April 1929. A second son was born in Australia in late 1929, and the family then moved to Bayswater, east of Melbourne, where Vincentas became a market gardener. This family's story is special in that it is one of the very few so far uncovered where we have photos of both partners; the photos reproduced here are from their applications for alien registration in 1939.

Vincentas Zvikevitch was born in Joniškis on 15 August 1888, son of Kazimieras, a farmer, and Anelia. He married Kazimiera (nee Klemkutė) in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA, in February 1916 where he was employed as a mill operator. Kazimiera had also been born in Lithuania, in 1889.

Some time after the birth of Albertas in 1922 in the USA, the family made its way to Europe. In 1929 they sailed to Australia aboard the Ville d'Amiens from Marseille, France, via Colombo. We don't know why they were coming from France, although the internet does suggest a possible answer; there was a Zvikevitch family living in Marrakesh, Morocco. Perhaps Vincentas had planned to settle there?

The family did settle at Mountain Highway, Bayswater. Vincentas received his Australian naturalisation certificate in July 1941, which covered himself, his wife, and his two sons. Both daughters had been trained as tailoresses, the sons became mechanics. Albertas, who called himself Herbert, moved back to the USA as a young man, enlisted in the Air Corps during World War 2, then married and settled in Ohio but died there in 1976. Vincentas died in 1956 and his wife Kazimiera in 1971; both are buried at the Box Hill cemetery, Melbourne. At least one of their children is still living in regional Victoria and they are still remembered in the local Bayswater community; I noticed that prayers are offered at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church on each anniversary of their deaths.


Monday, 9 November 2015


The 1933 Australian Census recorded 37 males and 22 females in the state of Victoria who stated that their birthplace was Lithuania. As noted in previous posts and comments, given the changing jurisdictions in that region during and after the First World War, others born there may have recorded their birthplace as Russia, Germany, or Poland.

As with the other states, the early Victorian migrants included a mix of pre-World War One arrivals and those who arrived in the 1920s and 1930s. The earliest arrivals to Victoria were probably Lithuanian Jews (Litvaks) fleeing persecution in czarist Russia in the 1880s.  Some of their stories are well documented elsewhere, for example:

An economic depression hit Victoria in the 1890s and may have temporarily put a brake on further migration, but in the early twentieth century a steady stream of mainly single men - Litvaks, ethnic Lithuanians, and others born in the region of Lithuania - started arriving and settling in Victoria. Many of them enlisted in the 1st AIF and served at Gallipoli, Egypt or the Western Front during the First World War and have been described in previous posts:

  • Samuel BRITAIN from Vilnius (see my post of 7 May 2015);
  • Harry COOPER from Kaunas (7 May);
  • Joe IPP from Kaunas (14 May);
  • Adolph MISHKINIS from Zarasai (30 April);
  • Reuben ROSENFIELD from Raseiniai (2 April);
  • Emerick SCHIMKOVITCH from Zarasai (21 May); and
  • Nathan WATCHMAN from Navarėnai (19 March).

In the 1920s and 1930s a new generation of migrants arrived, for example:

Jonas JAKOVLEVAS, born in Kaunas in 1897.  Naturalisation records at the Australian National Archives state that his father was Russian and Jonas had spent his youth in Russia, serving as a pilot in the Russian airforce in World War One before returning to Lithuania in 1921. He married a Lithuanian girl from Telšiai in 1924 and a son Alex (Aliekseij) was born in 1927. Jonas arrived in Australia alone at the end of 1929 and his wife and son followed 3 years later. By the mid 1930s Jonas was operating his own photographic business 'Ivan Studios' at 190 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

Kazys ZAKAS, born at Lygumai in 1898.  His naturalisation records show that he arrived in 1930 and that by the mid 1930s he was operating his own business as a 'knitting manufacturer' in Melbourne.

Metraštis No.1 (1961) records that when the first ship carrying World War Two DPs (Displaced Persons) arrived in Melbourne in 1947 the Lithuanians on board were greeted by two early migrants; Jonas Jakovlevas and a man identified only by his surname, Paliokas, who had been born in Ventė and lived in Australia since 1928 (p.10). That publication also records a story by one of the first DPs (Kazys Mieldažys) that that they were visited on the ship by Paliokas and also by Mr and Mrs Jakovlevas who subsequently sent parcels to some of the Lithuanians when they were at the Bonegilla migrant camp and later allowed them to use their apartment in Melbourne for music and song rehearsals as well as helping the newcomers in many other ways (p 24).

Monday, 2 November 2015

Lithuanians in the Australian Outback

Lithuanians, like most migrants to Australia, tended to settle in the capital cities or adjacent coastal fringe areas. There were some, however, who pursued their dreams in the more remote parts of the country. For some, the mining centres of Kalgoorlie (Western Australia) and Broken Hill (New South Wales) were favoured destinations which usually offered better pay, but more demanding conditions. A few others found opportunities even further afield.

This blog has already looked at some early Lithuanian migrants who spent longer or shorter periods in the outback, for example:

  • the Lithuanian Jewish families at Broken Hill (see my post of 19 October 2015);
  • the Lithuanian Anzacs who enlisted while working in remote locations of Australia, including William KALIN/KALINOVSKY/KALINAUSKAS at Cloncurry and John LOVRIAEN at Kalgoorlie (23 April); 
  • Father Paul ZUNDOLOVICH at Wilcannia and White Cliffs (31 August);
  • Charles ASHE/ Kazys ASTRAUSKAS at Kalgoorlie (29 June); and
  • Bruno GREITSCHUS at Offham Siding, Goolburra Station (16 April).

Here are two more stories of the men who settled in outback Australia:

Mykolas/Michael REPECKA - Mount Isa, Queensland

The township of Mt Isa, 1958
from the collection of the National Archives of Australia
 (NAA: A1200, L27995))
National Archives of Australia records indicate that Mykolas was born in 1877 at Kurkliai, near Ukmergė, and that he was later a resident of Vladivostok before arriving in Australia (probably around 1910). He settled in Queensland and in 1928 lodged an application to sponsor another Lithuanian, Julius CESIUNAS, to Australia. In 1941 he lodged a notice in the Townsville Daily Bulletin (30 July, 1941) advising his intention to seek naturalisation; he stated that he was a Lithuanian national who had been resident in Australia for 31 years. His naturalisation certificate was issued in March 1942, noting that he was a 64 year old labourer living at Coal Stage, Mt Isa.

Electoral Roll records for 1963 and 1968 show Mykolas in his later years as a resident at the Salvation Army Home, Riverview (Ipswich, near Brisbane).

Joseph MANJIKE - Broken Hill, New South Wales

The Barrier Miner (a Broken Hill newspaper) of 27 September 1929 carried a notice inserted by Joseph Manjike stating that he had been born at Vilnius, was of Lithuanian nationality, had been a resident of Australia for 18 years, and now intended to apply for naturalisation. He gave his address as 117 Chloride Street, Broken Hill. National Archives of Australia records throw a little more light on him: he was born on 28 January 1873 in Vilnius, his father Michael was a Lithuanian, he arrived at Brisbane on 20 August 1911 from Manchuria, and prior to settling in Broken Hill he had lived for short periods of time in Brisbane, Bundaberg, Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide. At the time he applied for naturalisation in 1929 he was a miner with South Broken Hill Mining Co and was aged 56.

Joseph had married Mary Antonoff (who had been born in Russia) in 1918 in Victoria and together they had brought up two girls and a boy in Broken Hill. However the Depression of the 1930s hit Broken Hill hard; many people lost their jobs and were forced to seek work elsewhere. That is probably why the 1937 electoral roll shows Mary Manjike still at 117 Chloride Street, but not Joseph; he was working at the Wurang Unemployed Wood Camp, 183 miles from Broken Hill, which was a community project established to cut and supply wood to unemployed families in Broken Hill. Sadly, the Barrier Miner of 23 July 1937 reported that Joseph Manjike was found dead at the camp the previous morning. He was 64 years of age and was buried in the Roman Catholic section of the Broken Hill cemetery; the Barrier Miner recording that the funeral "is expected to be largely attended by members of the Unemployed Union, who have been requested to march".  

The NSW Births Deaths and Marriages record lists Joseph Manjike's death and records his parents' names as Nicholas and Marcella.