The weekend of February 20-21, 2010, was the occasion for Australian Lithuanians in Sydney to host a celebration to commemorate three significant events in Lithuania’s history.
February 16th was the 92nd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 1918 and March 11th will be the 20th anniversary of the reestablishment of Lithuania’s independence from
Soviet rule in 1990. Lithuania’s Millennium Year of 2009 was also celebrated on this occasion. This event drew together many Sydney Lithuanians to the Sydney Lithuanian Club in Bankstown,
together with their Australian friends, visitors from Melbourne and Canberra and many distinguished guests.
Laurie Ferguson, Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs
and Settlement Services in Australian Parliament with Ambassador
Dainius Kamaitis. Photo courtesy lithemb.or.jp
On Saturday afternoon February 20 there was a concert at the Club. In attendance was Lithuania’s Ambassador to Australia, Dainius Kamaitis, who delivered the address for the occasion.
The invocation was delivered by Fr. Hermanas Đulcas, a missionary from Rwanda. The MC for the concert was Vytas Juđka, Vice-president of the Sydney Lithuanian Community. Taking part
in the concert were Sydney Lithuanian choir “Daina”, folk dance group “Sűkurys”, folk song group “Atspindys”, children from the Sydney Lithuanian weekend school, pianist Wojtek Wisniewski,
tenor Antanas Zakarauskas and guest artists “Tembras” from Melbourne. Poets Almis Juragis and Greta Savickaitë-Fletcher recited their own poems and other poetry was recited by
Dana Gailiűnienë and Domantas Kuzinkovas, who also played the piano.
Barry O’Farrell, Leader of Opposition in NSW
Parliament, addresses the gathering.
Photo courtesy lithemb.or.jp
On Sunday next day Fr. Hermanas Đulcas celebrated Mass for the Independence Day occasion and on that Sunday evening there was a gala dinner at the Sydney Lithuanian Club, with
Lithuanian Ambassador Dainius Kamaitis, many distinguished Australian parliamentarians and members of the consular corps present. Present were Laurie Ferguson - Parliamentary Secretary
for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services in Australian Parliament, representing the government, Philip Ruddock – Shadow Cabinet Secretary in Australian Parliament and former
Attorney-General and Minister for Immigration, representing the federal opposition, Barry O’Farrell - Leader of Opposition in NSW Parliament and Tony Stewart MP - Member for Bankstown in
NSW Parliament. Also present was Dr. Angonita Wallis, the President of the Federal Executive of the Australian Lithuanian Community, the Mayor of Bankstown Tania Mihailuk, and
representatives of the Latvian and Estonian communities. Again the MC for the evening was Vytas Juđka, Vice-president of the Sydney Lithuanian Community.
Australian parliamentarians at the gala dinner.
(L-R) Laurie Ferguson, Ambassador Dainius Kamaitis, Philip Ruddock,
Barry O’Farrell and Tony Stewart
After Ambassador Kamaitis spoke on the significance of the occasion, a number of Australian parliamentarians addressed the gathering. Laurie Ferguson, representing the Australian
Government, offered a toast to the President of Lithuania and Ambassador Kamaitis offered a toast to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Sydney Lithuanians and their Australian friends found the triple anniversary celebrations over the two days an inspiring experience to be remembered. Sydney Lithuanians have not had such
an occasion, where so many of them came together, for a long time. Congratulations to the organisers and artists, who made this event such a memorable occasion!
Further information: “Musu Pastoge” 03/03/10, www.lithemb.or.jp