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Sydney, New South Wales

Sydney is the only city of Australia that once had its own Lithuanian district. After Lithuania was occupied by Soviets and Lithuanian migrants came to Australia (~1950) many families have settled in Horton street of Bankstown suburb which was nicknamed "Litho street" at the time.

Until 2022 Bankstown still had a Lithuanian club "Dainava", now located on a ground floor of a residential high rise. The gazetted English name is "Meredith Club" as the club is located on Meredith Street 16-20. The premises included many rooms, a Lithuanian school, library, ballroom, publishing house for Lithuanian newspaper "Mūsų pastogė". There also was a Lithuanian restaurant (however it has ceased operating on weekdays and is now open Sunday-only).

Entrance of the Sydney Lithuanian House 'Dainava' / 'Meredith Club' with Vytis symbols on glass panels. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

These days very few Lithuanians live in Bankstown. The largest ethnicities in the suburb are Arabs and Vietnamese. However, Lithuanians from other districts still used to come to "Dainava" and Lithuanian mass at a nearby church.

The interior of "Dainava" was modern, with some Lithuanian elements such as Vytis signs on windows, maps of Lithuania, images of "poverty school" (illegal Lithuanian school at the time Russian Imperial regime had banned Lithuanian language) and Lithuanian presidents.

Interior of Sydney Lithuanian club 'Dainava' with a modern Vytis. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Unlike the Lithuanian houses of Adelaide and Melbourne "Dainava" has been established in 2006, much after the original settlement of Lithuanians. It has replaced a previous historic Lithuanian house in another part of Bankstown which had been sold. Therefore Sydney Lithuanian home has less of "Old Lituanity" atmosphere than the other Lithuanian-Australian clubs. However, as "Dainava" used to operate in rented premises, it meant that costs to maintain it were large. As such, in 2022 it was decided to close the club and move the Lithuanian events to the Latvian House.

The 'Christianing act' of the first 1959 Syndey area (Bankstown) Lithuanian house is presented in the modern Lithuanian house together with some Lithuanian crafts. ©Augustinas Žemaitis.

Memorial plaques of immigration at Circular Quay (Sydney downtown) claim that between the years 1947 and 1951 a total of 36806 Baltic States people migrated to Australia, making 7,9% of Australia's immigrant intake in those years.

Since 1984, the suburbs of Sydney have a Lithuanian Retirement Village (-34.058572, 151.025419; 23 Laurina Avenue, North Engadine), a little piece of Lithuania where retired Lithuanians could move to live in separate homes, surrounded by Lithuanian symbols and Lithuanian amenities such as a library.

In Rookwood cemetery Catholic area there is a Lithuanian section, marked by a monument. It was built in 1971 and the author is a famous Lithuanian sculptor V. K. Jonynas.

Sydney cemetery Lithuanian memorial (archival image)

Sydney cemetery Lithuanian memorial (archival image)

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  1. My husband and I have been to the Lithuania Club on many occasions. The food is always delicious.

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