Much of what we know about individuals was published in two blog posts last year, imaginatively titled Queensland #1 (7 September 2015) and Queensland #2 (14 September 2015). The following are some more general observations:
Census recordsThe Australian Census of 1933 - the first one to specify "Lithuania" as a place of birth - recorded 15 people in Queensland who had given that as their place of birth (12 males and 3 females), while the 1947 Census recorded 21 people (13 males and 8 females);
- by 1954, with the influx of post-WW2 migrants, the number of people in Queensland giving Lithuania as their place of birth had jumped to 405, although males continued to predominate approximately 3:1.
Geographical dispersalMany Lithuanian-born migrants appear to have settled in regional Queensland, not in the capital city of Brisbane. Metraštis (the Lithuanian Yearbook, 1961) reported EC Phillule's advice that by 1938 there were only two Lithuanians living in Brisbane, although there had been more previously.
- Other localities where settlers put down roots included Rockhampton, Mackay, Proserpine, Charters Towers, Ipswich, Chinchilla, and Mt Isa;
- in contrast, Lithuanian-born migrants to most other Australian states appear to have preferred settling in the capital cities.
Migration patternsUsually the Lithuanians arrived as single men. Some remained single, others married Australian-born women, for example Edward Charles PHILLULE/PILIULIS married Lydia Annie Klatt in 1915 and William KALIN/KALINAUSKAS married Clarisse McFeeters in 1924.
However there were also some examples of family and chain migration:
- Josephine RUCKMAN, a Pole from Kaunas with Lithuanian citizenship, arrived in 1923 with her two sons and daughter;
- Sigismund ROMASZKIEWICZ, a Pole from Krekenava, arrived in 1910 with his wife and children;
- David BECKER - also known as Alex GRAY - a Jew from Kaunas with Lithuanian citizenship, had arrived in Australia from Palestine in 1927 and was later joined by his wife Hannah (born in Kaunas) and children (born in Sebastopol and Jerusalem).
Arrivals on the SS HaitanIn the early part of World War 2 (1940) a group of 32 Lithuanians with British citizenship arrived in Brisbane as part of a larger group of evacuees following a journey from the Baltic States across Siberia to Vladivostok, Hong Kong and finally Australia. Theirs is an epic story which has been researched by one of their descendants, Eve Puodžiunaitė Wicks.
The evacuees remained in Brisbane for the duration of the war, but largely dispersed once hostilities had ceased. The Courier Mail of 18 February 1941 included this story:
Social and Dance: Lithuanian national dances were a feature of the programme at a social and dance held in the Danish Hall, South Brisbane, last night by the British-Lithuanian evacuees. Lithuanian songs were given by a mixed choir, and others who contributed items were Mrs Balcunas, Mrs K Puodziunas, Misses Lena Ruskey, M Massey, F Kdesnikas [sic], A Grey, and F Kolesnikas.
Brisbane's Sunday Mail included the following on 26 November 1944:
Party for Evacuees: Nearly 600 guests ... were entertained yesterday at the New Settlers' League's Christmas party for migrants and evacuees, at the Railway Institute. The oldest guest was Mr G P Page, who is 78. He formerly lived in the Baltic States. ... Other guests were from Great Britain, Poland, Latvia, Esthonia [sic], Lithuania, Roumania, China, Malaya and Darwin. Each child received sweets from the Christmas tree.