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Canberra

Australia's capital Canberra is a small city (~300 000) and it lacks the massive minority communities of Sydney or Melbourne. However, as a capital, it has its own ways to honor the diasporas that formed Australia, including Lithuanians.

Cockington Green Gardens of Canberra contains miniature copies of landmark buildings from ~30 countries that gave Australia most immigrants. Each country and its migrant community are also briefly explained in the park plaque.

Among the miniatures, there is Trakai Island castle, built at 1:50 scale. It was created by a Lithuanian Mindaugas Mauragis, funded by Canberra Lithuanian scouts, veterans, and other community. Such "enthusiast" funding makes it somewhat unique as many other Cockington Green miniatures had been funded by respective embassies (Lithuania lacks an embassy to Australia, however).

A copy of Trakai castle in Canberra (Cockington Green Gardens). Image ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Glebe park of Canberra has a sculpture for Eglė the Queen of Serpents, a girl from a Lithuanian folktale who has been seduced and married by an underwater King of Serpents against her family wishes. Her family then managed to kill the King of Serpents, but was turned into trees as a result - together with Eglė herself. It is the only statue in this important park at central Canberra. It was gifted by Lithuanians for the bicentenary of Australia (1988). At the bottom of the sculpture on could read an English synopsis of the Eglė legend, while the statue itself (author: Ieva Pocius) looks like a cross between a girl and a canopy-less tree.

Eglė the Queen of Serpents statue in Canberra Glebe Park. Image ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

The HQ of Canberra Lithuanians is now located in Downer Business Park, 2 Bradfield Street (Room 33). As the community is small, there is no separate Lithuanian House.

One street in Lyneham district is called after a Lithuanian painter Henry (Henrikas) Šalkauskas (1925-1979). Salkauskas's palette with many blacks and grays is claimed to be chosen because of his father fate (Salkauskas's father was among hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians murdered by the Soviets. He died in Vorkuta concentration camp early during the Soviet occupation of Lithuania but Henry Salkauskas was informed about that only in 1958).

A painting by H. Salkauskas (left) and a street plaque for Salkauskas Crescent in Canberra. Google Street View.

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