of the Society
Membership is open to all. Member benefits include receiving
the monthly bulletin of the Sydney Latvian Society, "Ritums"
eleven times a year (Ritums is not published in January).
Initial joining fee: $5.50
Adults: $40.00; pensioners: $35.00;
Life membership: $480.00
The annual subscription cost for "Ritums"
for non-members of the Sydney Latvian Society is $50.00.
All of the above fees include GST.
You can join in person at the Sydney Latvian
Society Bookshop, or by sending your cheque to the Society's
postal address. Cheques should be made out the Sydney
Latvian Society Ltd.
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of the Society
The Society’s aims are to promote and support
cultural activities for its members and Sydney’s
Latvian community. Specifically:
the Ladies Auxiliary and all incorporated organisations.
the monthly news publication "Ritums".
and financially support involvement of Sydney Latvian youth
in activities of the Latvian community, their participation
in Latvian schools, Latvian Cultural Festival, Latvian Youth
Festival, Anna’s Ziedare’s Summer School, 3x3 Latvian Culture
and Language Workshop, and the Society’s incorporated organisations.
to and support Latvian Federation in Australia and New Zealand,
and Latvian Youth Federation in Australia.
assist various Latvian organisations.
Support exchange of experts between Australia and Latvia in
the following fields: cultural, educational and youth development.
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SLB is managed by a Board elected by its members.
Its accounts are audited by Ināra Sīkais.
2017 Board of Management
||Ilona Brūveris, Klāra Brūveris, Andris Galviņš,
Pēteris Kļaviņš, Imants Līcis, Mārtiņš Tuktēns
Assisting the Board:
Advisors to the Board:
Aldis Birzulis, Jānis Mačēns, Janis Ronis
RITUMS monthly newsletter:
Peteris Kļaviņš - editor, compiler
Raimonds Krauklis - proof reader
Juris Rīmanis - dispatch
Juris Kažoks - printing
Andrejs Ginters - printing
Peteris Strungs - printing
Auditor: Ināra Sīkais
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"Ritums" is the Sydney Latvian Society's monthly
information bulletin and is published 11 times a year (monthly
except January). As well as news about the Society, it includes
news items about the Latvian Relief Society, NSW Latvian Sport,
the two Latvian Lutheran Congregations and, in English, the
"Baltic Review". Some 30 volunteers participate
every month in publishing Ritums.
Ritums has a circulation of around 650 and is posted to
subscribers not only in Sydney, but also in other parts of
Australia and overseas. The editor is Pēteris Kļaviņš, assisted
by Raimonds Krauklis and Lauma Krādziņa.
The library has some 2500 books for loan and for perusal in
the library, plus a selection of Latvian periodicals. The
library is open Thursdays and Saturdays – 10:00 – 12:00
In 1952 there were three Latvian Saturday schools operating
in the Metropolitan area –at Bankstown, Pennant Hills and
Windsor. There were also two schools attached to the Latvian
congregations. After acquisition of the Society’s premises
in Strathfield, the Saturday schools were gradually amalgamated
and became the SLB Saturday School. In 1969 there were about
120 students and 30 teachers. 1958 saw the establishment of
a high school group and in 1975 a play group. The school is
still operating. Between 1979 and 2005 the Department of Education
included Latvian as a matriculation subject. The subject was
taught as part of SLB Saturday School curriculum.
Between 1985 and 1990 the Society’s premises were used by
Flinders University for its course in Latvian. Currently the
SLB Saturday School has high school and primary classes as
well as the play group each Saturday morning in the Society's
premise in Strathfield. The main subjects are Latvian, Latvian
history and geography and various cultural activities.There
is a separate language class for those who do not speak Latvian.
High school principal - Valdis Krādziņš
Primary school Principal - Māris Bruzgulis
Play group organiser - Daiva Tuktēns and Ingrīda Veidners
Originally literary evenings were held each month. These were
well attended, with audiences over 100. Thus the regulars
became known as the "Literate hundred".
In the beginning the evenings were organised by Spodris
Klauverts and the most popular presenter was a former teacher
from Liepaja, Hugo Kaupmanis, who had an extensive knowledge
of literature. With the passage of time, and after some 316
Literary Group presentations, expert presenters on literature
became scarce and the theme of the meetings changed to examining
of correctness of Latvian language as it is used. The Language
Group meets four times a year, and once more has presentations
and discussions about Latvian authors. Organiser - Alfrēds
The Group meets once a month at Sydney Latvian House, with
presentations on current affairs in Latvia, topical items,
and talks by members who have had interesting overseas holidays.
Meetings also screen Latvian films and TV shows. Periodically
excursions are organized to places of interest. At the end
of the year the Seniors Group hosts a Christmas function.
Organisers - Ivars Šeibelis and Uldis Misiņš.
ensemble "Jaunais Vējš"
A group of young people singing a variety of styles including
folk songs which have been arranged by the Ensemble. They
perform at many of the Society’s functions. Leaders- Daina
Bogdanovičs and Vēsma Upenieks.
Consisting of about ten musicians, the Ensemble plays mainly
Latvian popular and folk music. The number of mu instruments
vary – combination of violins, accordion, guitar, flute, trumpet,
piano and percussion.
The Ensemble performs at the Society’s functions, provides
accompaniment for the folk dance group, and periodically organises
"Klubs Kaladu" music and dance evenings.
The Ensemble leader is Viktorija Mačēns.
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The Sydney Latvian Society (SLB) was founded in 1952. The
founding members were: Felikss Brūvelis, Bruno Strazdiņš,
Aleksandrs Rolavs, Vilis Motmillers, Juris Andersons, Elvīra
Laiviņš, Mārtiņš Siliņš, Roberts Studāns, Jānis Krauklis and
There were a few Latvians living in Sydney as early as at
the end of the 19th century. The numbers increased after 1905.
The first Latvian organisation was established in 1913. Any
Latvian speaking person could become a member. This organisation
lasted until 1926.
In 1928 the members founded the Sydney Latvian Club – bringing
together like-minded Latvian nationals who supported Latvia
as an independent nation. Between 1931 and 1940 the members
annually commemorated Latvia’s Independence Day on 18th November
and Mid-summer Eve Festival (Jāņi) in June. After
the Second World War, in 1947 the Australian Latvian Welfare
Organisation (Daugavas Vanagi) was established with
Felikss Brūvelis and Kārlis Šics as founding members. As a
result of post war immigration, membership of the Organisation
rapidly increased. This led to the start of community and
cultural activities. There were active literary, theatre,
sports, choir and tour groups. The Latvian Welfare Organisation
was set up as a welfare organisation and did not have the
legal right to own property. It was therefore necessary to
prepare new Memorandum and Articles of Association and to
found a new organisation, the Sydney Latvian Society Ltd.
(SLB). The Sydney Latvian Society had the legal powers to
acquire and own property where Latvians could meet and establish
a cultural centre. The founders of the SLB and signatories
to the Memorandum and Articles met on 26th of March, 1952
and appointed the first Board. Its president was Felikss Brūvelis
and members J. Andersons, K. Erdmanis, P. Laiviņš, E. Miezis-Plūme,
L. Resgalis A. Rolavs, M. Siliņš and B. Strazdiņš.
In 1953 Kārlis Nīcis, an active member of the Latvian community,
had located a suitable property in Strathfield. The property
was acquired and plans started to redevelop it to include
a hall suitable for theatre and concerts. On the 18th of November,
1959 the Hall was officially opened. It had a seating capacity
of 500. Through the following years the existing building
was altered and extended to provide suitable accommodation
for the activities of the Society. The Hall and various meeting
rooms are regularly used by other organisations apart from
SLB, such as Strathfield Musical Society.
Past Presidents of the Society
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Sydney Latvian Society Board
of Management 2015 - from left: Klāra Brūveris, Vice President Jānis
Grauds, Ināra Graudiņš, Imants Līcis, President Jānis
Čečiņš, Mārtiņš Tuktēns, Pēteris Kļaviņš,
Ilona Brūveris, Andris Galviņš.
Former Presidents of the Sydney Latvian
Society, Janis Grauds (at left) and his predecessor Jānis
Pēteris Kļaviņš is the editor of the
Society's monthly newsletter "Ritums".
Viktorija Mačēns, leader of the music
group "Sydnejas Muzykanti" with members of the youth
vocal ensemble "Jaunais Vējš" and guest artists
at a Youth Concert.
Sydney Latvian School children performing at the annual "Jāņi"
Ladies Auxilliary Committee preparing a feast.
The Sydney Latvian Society's Mixed Choir singing at their
Sunday afternoon lecture by choral conductor Kaspars Svenne
and recital by harpist Genevieve Lang.
Music ensemble "Sydnejas Muzykanti" playing at a
"Klubs Kaladu" music and dance evening. From left,
Maija Upenieks, Kaija Upenieks, John Mason, Andris Kariks,
Viktorija Mačēns, benny Goldsmith.
Pianist Ingrida Šakurovs, and violinists Daina Bogdanovičs
and Vēsma Upenieks playing at the annual Latvian Independence
Day commemoration on 18 November.