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.


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