Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Anzacs from Ukraine: Part 2

We know that some emigrants from Lithuania also made their way to Australia via the Far East before the First World War in parallel with those from Ukraine described by Elena Govor in her 2017 book Falling Stars: an earlier blog post linked here lists examples including the Anzacs Bronislaw Kretovitch from Vilnius and Sigismund Romaszkiewich from Krekenava. To these we could add the Anzac Stanislaus Urniarz (Stasys Urniežius) from Vilnius who arrived in 1904 from Port Arthur, China. However the majority of Lithuanian Anzacs appear to have arrived from Europe or the USA.

Another case study from Falling Stars is that of Reuben Laman Rosenfield who was born in Raseiniai, Lithuania, in 1872 and grew up in Simferopol, Crimea, before emigrating to Australia in 1888 with his Jewish family via Port Said in Egypt.  Reuben Rosenfield (he later changed his name to Rosefield) studied medicine at the University of Melbourne and served as a major in the Australian Medical Corps during WW1, first in Egypt and then Britain.

Heliopolis, Egypt c1916. Interior of Medical Ward F at No. 1 Australian General Hospital (1AGH), located in the former Heliopolis Palace Hotel (copyright expired - public domain; source: AWM, H16957)

The story of Edward Charles Phillule (Piliulis) also has parallels with some of those in Falling Stars; see an earlier post here.  He arrived in Brisbane in July 1914 on the St Albans from Japan together with 20 or so other 'Russians' and by the next year had settled near the Immigration Depot, in South Brisbane - which Falling Stars notes included a sizeable 'Russian-Ukrainian-Jewish' community. E.C. Phillule is likely to have participated in some of that community life: he and his wife Lydia lived for at least a few years on the corner of Hope and Melbourne Streets in South Brisbane (directly opposite today's Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre).
Yungaba Immigration Depot at Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, 1907 (copyright expired - public domain; source: John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland).

Phillule gave his occupation as shopkeeper, but he can also be found in newspaper advertisements of the time as a landlord. An interesting conjunction is that Elena Govor notes that 'A Russian family from Odessa with the English surname Douglas opened a 'Russian' fruit and grocery shop on the corner of Melbourne and Hope Streets and supplemented their income with boarders' (p37); while there seem to have been several stores on that corner at the time, it may be that the Phillules were associated with the Douglas business. The Telegraph of 31 May 1916 records that E.C. Phillule was one of several shopkeepers fined in the City Summons Court for having kept their businesses open after hours.   

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