Lithuanians in the News
16th November 2008
Cecilija Protienė Celebrates 100th Birthday
Cecilija Protienė
Cecilija Valančiūnaitė Protienė, an Australian Lithuanian from Sydney, celebrated her 100th birthday on November 11, 2008. She received letters of congratulations from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus, Governor-General of Australia Quentin Bryce, Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd, Governor of NSW Marie Bashir, Premier of NSW Nathan Rees, Federal Member for Watson Tony Burke, Federal Member for Warringah Tony Abbott, State Member for Oatley (NSW) Kevin Greene, the Mayor of Bankstown Tania Mihailuk and many others.
Cecilija was born in Lithuania in the village of Galeliai in the Vyžuonos district, Utena region. Together with her husband Povilas Protas and their two children Kęstutis and Birutė, the family had to flee Lithuania in 1944 to avoid the Soviet invasion. The end of the war saw the family as Displaced Persons in Germany and after four years they migrated to Australia in 1949, settling in Sydney. The whole Protas family became very active members of the Sydney Lithuanian community.
Cecilija Protienė (front row centre) with members of the “Daina” choir and her family in the
front row. Extreme left in the front row – Birutė Aleknaitė, conductor of the “Daina” choir.
For Cecilija the love of music has been constant in her life. The whole Protas family have been stalwarts of the Sydney Lithuanian choir “Daina” since its inception in 1954. So it was very fitting that the choir “Daina”, together with Kęstutis’ family, hosted a 100th jubilee party for her at the Sydney Lithuanian Club “Dainava” on Saturday, November 8 2008, with many members of the Sydney Lithuanian community and family friends in attendance.
Of great sadness to Cecilija has been that her daughter Birutė and all of Birutė’s family - husband and two children – have passed away. But she has been surrounded by the love of son Kęstutis’ family, with two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, and her many friends.

Congratulations, Cecilija! The Lithuanian community of Sydney wishes you many happy birthdays to come.