In Memoriam
24th April, 2005
Kastutė Brundzaitė - Jurskis (1921 - 2005)
Among the Very First Lithuanian Post World War II Migrants in Australia
Kostancija Brundzaitė - Jurskis
and Jonas Motiejūnas handing over a gift to
the Minister for Immigration,
the Hon. Arthur A. Calwell, in 1947
Konstancija (Kastutė) Kunigunda Jurskis (née Brundzaitė) was among the first Lithuanian migrants, who came to Australia in December 1947 on the USAT General Stuart Heinzelman. After a few days in Fremantle, they boarded the HMAS Kanimbla and came to Melbourne on December 7, 1947. On their arrival, they were greeted by the then Minister for Immigration, the Hon. Arthur A. Calwell, and other dignitaries. In the photograph we see Konstancija and Jonas Motiejunas handing over a small gift, a book and a typical Lithuanian bookmark, to the Minister from the Lithuanian contingent on the ship. The book is now in the Australian Cultural Museum, Canberra.
Konstancija was actively involved in the Scouts and Guides Movement. On the ship she was inducted as a Girl Guides Leader and on arrival in Fremantle, the Lithuanian boy scouts and girl guides were helped by the WA Girl Guides Leader, Mary C. Hodgkin, to organise a traditional camp-fire on the beach. This event was so successful, that the Lithuanian boy scouts and girl guides were invited to participate in a radio presentation the next day in Perth. (When Mary died a few years ago, her personal library was auctioned off for charity; and one of her favourite books turned out to be "Lithuania Through the Ages" by A.Šapoka).
After finishing her two-year compulsory work contract at the Concord Repatriation Hospital in Sydney, she intended to continue her interrupted university law studies. This plan didn’t eventuate, as she married Vytautas Jurskis and soon was bringing up a family. Vytautas graduated in commerce. Their three children followed in their parents’ footsteps in pursuing academic studies. The eldest son Paul is a Certified Computer Technician. Son Victor, with a degree in Forestry Science, is a prolific writer in his field, with many publications to his credit. Daughter Annemarie Jonson is a founding member of Contemporary Sound Arts, a writer on the arts, and has been a lecturer in the Arts Informatics Program at UTS, Macquarie and Sydney Universities. Their grandchildren have also chosen to seek higher education in various fields.
Konstancija lived in Wollongong and for 20 years worked at the Wollongong Municipal Library until her retirement. She was a member of the Country Women’s Association. She died in Sydney after a protracted illness on the 9th April 2005, a month and a few days after her 84th birthday.

Isolde Poželaitė-Davis AM