25. May 2022

Cheers to 70 years of Estonian Australian history

This month, the Estonian Archives in Australia officially turned 70. Established on the 5th of January, 1952, the Archive has served the Estonian community for 70 years by being the repository for the history of Estonian activity and achievement in Australia. It hosts visitors from all states of Australia and from overseas. The number of both local and overseas enquiries grows each year as descendants of the post war immigrants research their family histories. It hosts visitors from all states of Australia and from overseas. The number of both local and overseas enquiries grows each year as descendants of the post war immigrants research their family histories.

Dr Hugo Salasoo did a commendable job in collecting firstly material about activities in Australia and later activities worldwide. The Archive held books by Estonian authors, about Estonia and in Estonian. He collected scientific papers by Estonian scientist from all over the world, newsletters and newspapers.

Since the start of 2000, the emphasis has been placed again on material by Estonians in Australia and the international collection has been sent to various memory institutions in Estonia. The Archive is about to move into new premises in the Sydney Estonia House and will continue to be the centre for information about Estonians in Australia.

The Archive has continued to grow and thrive due to the enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers. We have a proud tradition of long service. Dr Hugo Salasoo was the honorary archivist for the first 40 years. Eili Annuk has been a volunteer in the Archive for 40 years and continues her work today in maintaining the online In memoriam database which is constantly used by people researching their family hitory. Maie Barrow has been the archivist for 27 years and Reet Simmul was the assistant archivist for 26 years. Together they have organised exhibitions and lectures to introduce Estonian history and culture to the Estonian and Australian communities. Taimi NurmValler LippingIvo Kauniste are long term members of the volunteer Archives family. Kristi Barrow has joined us to provide us with all the modern media platforms that are so necessary in these times. Most volunteers remain with the Archive until they can nolonger climb the stairs to the Archive rooms. The Archive is regarded as the premier ethnic archive in Australia and is often called upon to advise other ethnic communities on how to preserve their history. We are proud of our achievements. The latest achievement was early in 2021 when our oral history collection was inscribed into the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register.