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Estonian House in Sydney Australia
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News from the Archive

June 2008 - EAA has received funding from the Ministry of Education and Research, through the Compatriot Program to restore the flag of the Estonian Society in Sydney "Linda". The Society amalgamated with the Estonian Society in Sydney "Eesti Kodu" in 1927 to form the current ESS "Eesti Kodu Linda". Restoration of the hand painted silk flag will be carried out by conservators from the National Museum in Tartu.

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Blessing of the flag of SES " Linda", 1927

Three volunteers from the Archive; Maie Barrow, Reet Simmul and Jüri Woan, and Raivo Kalamäe, Deputy Chairman of the EAA Council, will attend an archive summer school in Käsmu, Estonia. The summer school is organised by the Baltic Heritage Network and funded by the Ministry of Education and Research through the Compatriot Program.

EAA gratefully acknowledges the support from the Compatriot Fund

January 2007 - "Eesti laste raamatud", a nostalgic look at our childhood. Everyone who loves books remembers books from their childhood, the books your parents read to you, the books you read yourself, the book you longed to own. This exhibition of children's books covers the classics of Estonian children's literature, the primers and children's books published in the early refugee years. Much discussion preceeded this exhibition as everyone had a favourite book that they were sure had to be included. The EAA holds a substantial collection of childrens books and primers from the 1920s to the present day.

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Everyone has a favourite book

February, 2006 - A new exhibition in the foyer of Estonian House, Sydney introducing Estonian foods and drinks. Estonian cuisine ranged from peasant cooking to fine dining but still used the same ingredients. Estonians traditionally ate what they could grow, collect, catch or hunt. Magazines and cook books from the early 20th century show how cooks were encouraged to become more health concious and improve the presentation of the food.

December 2005-January 2006 - The archives were open twice during the Estonian Festival. On Dec 28th visitors could view the "Kalevipoeg" exhibition and listen to a talk by Juri Woan on the theme of Kalevipoeg and its role in the culture and everyday lives of Estonians as shown by the many books and works of art and the use of the name "Kalev" in marketing. As well the visitors could view an exhibition "Grandma, why did you come to Australia?" which told the story of life in the Displaced Persons camps in Germany and the journey to and the early days in Australia after World War II. On Jan 1, in conjunction with the Estonian Food festival, visitors were able to view the exhibitions and discover the treasures held in the archive.

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Mother and daughter arriving in Australia May 1949

February 19, 2005 - A visit by more than 50 members of the Mosman Community College as part of the program "Travel at Home". The Honorary Archivist, Maie Barrow welcomed the visitors to Estonian House and introduced her colleagues Edgar Siimpoeg, Reet Simmul and Juri Woan. The programme was divided into three parts, each one introducing a different aspect of Estonian culture and history.

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Visitors enjoying the "Kalevipoeg" display

Juri Woan talked on "Kalevipoeg" the heroic epic poem, the Gunnar Neeme mural in the hall and the new "Kalevipoeg" exhibition in the foyer. The exhibition included a summary of the twenty chapters, in English, with accompanying works of art and a selection of privately owned paintings on the themes of "Kalevipoeg".

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"Kalevipoeg" Derisii Woan 1978. HSC major work

Reet Simmul introduced some of our most important and interesting collections and Maie Barrow highlighted the history of the Estonians in Australia through the "Happily Australian but Estonian too" exhibition.

December 2004-January 2005 - The exhibition "Happily Australian but Estonian Too" opened in the ACT Heritage Library, Woden Library, cnr Corinna and Furzer Sts, Phillip on Saturday 4 December and will remain open until 21 January 2005. An additional panel has been created to show the activities of the early Estonian migrants in Canberra and the display gives an overview of 50 years of the Estonian community in Canberra

June 2004 - The exhibition "Happily Australian but Estonian Too" is on display at the Estonian House, 141 Campbell St Surry Hills for one month. The opening is on 12 noon, Sunday, 31 May 2004 . The display reflects the activities of the Sydney Estonian community.

December 2003 - February 2004 - The exhibition "Happily Australian but Estonian Too " opened on 7 December at the Migration Museum, Kintore Ave Adelaide, South Australia, as part of the XX Estonian Festival in Australia. The exhibition, which reflects the lives of Estonian Australians and Australian Estonians in Australia, comprises panels, displays and a video which tell the story of the Estonians who migrated to Australia from the late 1890s onwards, with special emphasis on the activities of the Estonians in Adelaide.. The exhibition is open Monday to Friday 10am to 5pm and Saturday and Sunday 1pm to 5pm, closes on 19 February 2004.

May 2002 - UNSW School of History and Estonian Archives in Australia held a workshop on "Preserving the Multicultural Heritage in Australia" on Saturday 18 May 2002 at Estonian House.

This workshop included the following speakers, Helen Trepa from the Maritime Museum, Henry Chan from the Australian/Chinese Historical Society, Jim Andrighetti, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Marianne Dacey, Archives of Australian Judaica, Fisher Library, University of Sydney, Paul Convy, Australian/Lebanese Historical Society and Maie Barrow from the Estonian Archives.

These speakers, from different cultural communities, are involved with programmes designed to capture, preserve, and make accessible for historical and other research, the archives of those communities. The workshop allowed discussion about the ways in which different communities attempt to preserve their own archives, and included a visit to the archives of the Estonian community in Sydney.

This event was part of Archives and Record Management Week. An exhibition "Preserving the Estonian Heritage in Australia" was mounted in the foyer of Estonian House to coincide with the workshop.

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

November 2001 - Maie Barrow visited the Melbourne Estonian Society on November 25th to talk about the history of Estonians in Australia as part of the history of Australia and how this is is supoorted by the documents found in the EAA.

Maie Barrow at Melbourne Estonian House

The Archivist, Maie Barrow, in the Melbourne Estonian House. Photograph: Toomas Steinberg

October 2001 - The archive has been fortunate to receive funding from the 2001 Community Heritage Grant program of the National Library of Australia for the purchase of appropriate acid-free packaging for photographs and papers.

Maie Barrow with Hon. Peter McGauran, Minister for Arts

The Hon. Peter McGauran, Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation presents Maie Barrow of the Estonian Archives with a 2001 Community Heritage Grant at the National Library of Australia. Photograph: Loui Seselja


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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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