Lithuanians in the Community
10th January 2009
Sydney hosts the XXV Australian Lithuanian Days
Sports teams line up during the Opening Ceremony
Attendees from all over Australia and from overseas gathered in Sydney to celebrate the 25th Australian Lithuanian Days (Australijos Lietuvių Dienos -ALD) Festival between December 27, 2008, and January 1, 2009. The Festival is a biennial event, during which the Australian Lithuanian Community comes together to debate the Community’s affairs and to celebrate their Australian Lithuanian heritage in a festival of cultural and sports activities. This year it was admirably hosted by the Sydney Lithuanian Community, with functions held at the Sydney Lithuanian Club “Dainava” in the Sydney suburb of Bankstown and venues close by.
Messages of support were received from the President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus, Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd, Premier of NSW Nathan Rees, Member for Bankstown Tony Stewart, Lithuania’s Ambassador to Australia Dainius Kamaitis and Lithuania’s Honorary Consul – General in Australia Andrius Žilinskas. Attending the opening ceremony were Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, representing the leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull, and Kayee Griffin MLC, representing the Premier of NSW, and who opened the Festival.
Kristina Gudžiūnaitė dances during the Opening Ceremony
The Australian Lithuanian Community Federal Council at its meeting voted for the 2009 -10 Federal Executive to reside in Sydney with Dr. Angonita Grincevičiūtė - Wallis as the new Federal Executive President. The Federal Council selected Melbourne to host the next Australian - Lithuanian Cultural and Sports Festival in 2010 and Adelaide to host it in 2012 or 0213. The Federal Council also approved the newly designed Australian Lithuanian Community flag, which had been designed by Mindaugas Simankevičius of Melbourne.
Lina Puodžiukaitė dances during
the Opening Ceremony, a work
choreographed by Birutė Letukaitė of “Aura”
Many people commented that this jubilee 25th ALD Festival has been one of the more successful ones. In a week full of activities, there were the Choir and Folk Dance festivals, the “Ballet Live” afternoon of Friends of Lithuanian Ballet (FLB), Literature and Music afternoon, an Art and Craft exhibition, a Youth Talent night, Sporting Competitions and a New Year’s Ball to cap all the activities. The Festival was very ably organised and run by the ALD Sydney Committee under the chairmanship of Arvydas Rupšys. It was a most enjoyable occasion for all.
Two events deserve special mention. By general acclaim the FLB “Ballet Live” afternoon was the most outstanding performance during the ALD. It was also a jubilee event - for the 10th anniversary of the foundation of FLB. During the very innovative professional level “Ballet Live” performance, for the first time in Australia, stars of Lithuanian ballet and contemporary dance performed live on stage. Kristina Gudžiūnaitė and Voicech Žuromskas from Lithuanian National M.K. Čiurlionis School of Arts, Ballet Division, and Lina Puodžiukaitė from the contemporary dance company “Aura” in Kaunas impressed the audience with their artistry. Also to be mentioned are the “Saduto” Lithuanian folk dance group from London, the famous “Sutaras” folk musicians from Lithuania, as well as the Australian contemporary dancers Kathryn Hailey and John Pickup, in a work choreographed for “Aura” by Australian choreographer Karen Kerkhoven.
The other event for special mention was the arrival in Sydney of the Millennium Odyssey yacht “Ambersail” on New Year’s Eve, which gave Sydney the honour to be the first in world to start off Lithuania’s 1000 year jubilee celebrations (Please see the companion news item).

Further information on this website:
- News 11/01/09 Australian Lithuanians in Sydney Lead the World in Commencing Lithuania’s Millennium Celebrations
- News 14/12/08 Artistic Exchange Cements Links between Lithuanian and Australian Ballet Worlds