Global True Lithuania Encyclopedia of Lithuanian heritage worldwide

Australia and Oceania

Australia, the furthest continent from Lithuania, attracted some 10 000 Lithuanian refugees after the World War 2 (~1950).

This was a community of intellectuals: artists, former teachers, university professors, lawyers. It was the intellectuals who were the most persecuted by the Soviet regime and therefore many chose emigration over a likely death in Soviet-occupied Lithuania.

Lithuanian Houses were constructed or acquired in every main city. They still operate providing activities and Lithuanian food on pre-set hours but their history was not that easy. While Lithuanians hoped to preserve their culture until Lithuania is liberated the Australian officials, still under "White Australia" policy at the 1950s-1960s, hoped that Lithuanians would assimilate as quickly as possible into the British Australian society. Lithuanian Houses and parishes were seen as impediments for assimilation and in some cases, their establishment was prevented or delayed. There are fewer Lithuanian parishes in Australia than America with Lithuanian Houses being the community centers.

Every second New Year week the Lithuanian-Australian community organize Lithuanian days event. The most Lithuanian heritage exists in the major cities: Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, Geelong.

Australia still attracts Lithuanians as it is a rich country. After 1990 Lithuanian community was also established in New Zealand. Other parts of Oceania lacks Lithuanian communities. However, some of the more remote locations in Australia and Antarctica are named after Lithuanian explorers.

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