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Estonian House in Sydney Australia
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Holdings of the Estonian Archive in Australia

The EAA collection comprises a library, an archive and a museum of material collected from all over the world. Much of the collection is yet to be catalogued. The library contains books written in Estonian, by an Estonian or about Estonia in any language. A large part of the library consists of rare books published in Estonian prior to independence in 1918.

Some of the more interesting collections in the Archives that have been catalogued include the history of the Estonians in Australia as shown by the:

  • Records of Estonian organisations in Australia from 1912 onwards

Estonian House opening in 1940

Opening of Estonian House Sydney, 1940. Arvid Mielen about to hand keys of Estonian House to Louis Norrak.

Minute Book

Minute book of the first Estonian organisation in Sydney, 1912. Founding members shown in photograph, from left: J Lukats, G Einsaar and A Godberg

  • Records of the Council of Estonian Societies in Australia, 1952 onwards
  • Records of the 22 Estonian Festivals, 1954 - 2007
  • Newspaper "Meie Kodu" from 1948 onwards
  • Individual memoires of Estonians living in Australia
  • A collection of oral histories, on tape or video, in Estonian and English, of members of the Estonian communities in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

The Einsaar-Mielen family papers. Gustav Einsaar arrived in Australia in 1896 and was a founding member of the first Estonian organisation in Sydney in 1912. He worked as a miner and lived in the Hunter Valley, north of Sydney.

Gustav Einsaar's notebook

Gustav Einsaar's notebook

His daughter, Elizabeth married Arvid Mielen, the Hon. pre-war Vice-Consul for the Republic of Estonia. His son Len rowed for Australia in the 1936 Munich Olympic Games. Letters written home during the trip form part of the collection. Letters from the Einsaar children to their mother give a glimpse into the life of a migrant family in country Australia in th early 20th century.

The Mielen collection includes both personal and business letters, personal documents and artefacts.

Arvid and Elizabeth Mielen in Sydney, 1930s

Arvid and Elizabeth Mielen in Sydney, 1930s

The Jakob Lukats collection. Jakob Lukats was a scholar, surveyor, explorer, politician and founding member of the Sydney and Melbourne Estonian Societies. Lukats made numerous visits to the Pacific area, the first visit was in 1912. His papers include political writings, learned articles, manuscripts of his Masters thesis, manuscripts of his books, correspondence, diaries and maps.

The Evan Lumme collection. Evan Lumme arrived in Australia in 1881 and set up business in Ashfield NSW as a photographer. In 1900 he moved to Orange and spent the rest of his life in that area. On his death he left a collection of 3,500 glass negatives which formed the basis of a book "Faces of Mandurama" published by the National Library in 1997. The collection comprises copies of letters, personal documents and photographs.

The Kristof Kaldma collection. Kristof Kaldma was a prominent member of the Estonian community in Canberra. The collection comprises four volumes of "The Estonians in Canberra; 1948 - 1998", correspondence between K. Kaldma and his war time colleagues, correspondence between K Kaldma and his family, photographs, artefacts and ephemera.

The Walter Poder collection. This very important collection comprises a diary and scrapbooks which describe life as a refugee in post war Europe, the journey on the migrant ship "General Stuart Heintzelman" bringing the first Estonian refugees from displaced persons' camps to Australia and the early days of life in a new and strange land. Contains many newpaper clippings from Estonian, German and NSW newspapers in 1946-1950.

The Johann Tilk collection. Johann Tilk, winner of the Estonian Cross of Freedom, arrived in Melbourne Australia on 28 June 1951on the ship "Skaubryn". The Archive holds 11 volumes of his memoires covering the period 1895-1951. The topics covered include childhood, WWI, Estonian War of Independence, his life as a policeman, the "red years" of 1940-1941, the German occupation, escape from Estonia, life in the displaced persoms camps and migration to Australia .

As well as the international section which contains

  • Records of life in the displaced persons camps in Germany 1944-1952 comprising magazines, yearbooks, school texts, photographs, programmes, childrens and adult literature.

Magazine from Traunstein displaced persons camp, Germany 1940s

Magazine from Traunstein displaced persons camp, Germany 1940s

  • Newspapers published in Estonia, pre 1944
  • Newspapers published in Estonian communities in exile in Sweden, Germany, England, Canada and USA, 1944 onwards
  • Journals and magazines published in Estonia and abroad 1924 onwards
  • Records of Estonian organisations in United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, USA, South America, South Africa
  • More than 12,000 scholarly reprints by Estonian scholars in a variety of disciplines dating from 1921 to the present day. The information has been entered into a database which is also held in the Estonian Academic Library in Tallinn.
  • Memoires of Estonian migrants in Canada, and USA.

The Friedrich Lustig collection. Friedrich Lustig was a Buddhist monk who spent the latter years of his life in Burma. This unique collection comprises manuscripts and copies of his poems, a manuscript of the biography of Karlis Tennisons, correspondence, photographs, articles in Burmese newspapers.

Writings of Friedrich Lustig

Writings of Friedrich Lustig

The museum section contains many artefacts including

  • Flags from organisations in Australia 1927 onwards
  • Artefacts from the displaced persons camps in Germany
  • Estonian traditional handicrafts
  • Memorabilia from academic societies
  • Medals, stamps, Estonian money from various period

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Estonian House
141 Campbell St
Surry Hills NSW 2010 Australia

Email: archives@eesti.org.au

Postal address: PO Box 492
Darlinghurst NSW 1300, Australia

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This page is sponsored by the Council of Estonian Societies in Australia

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