Melbourne Latvian Society

Gather and unite Latvians for the cultural, social and aid work.

The Melbourne Latvian Society was founded in 1949.

The Chairman of the Melbourne Latvian Society is Iveta Laine.


At the end of 1940s in Melbourne developed second biggest Latvian community in Australia. Latvians wanted to gather. First organised Latvian meetings were church services. So, people decided to found Latvian Society.

On May 9, 1949 the editor Emīls Dēliņš started publishing of the newspaper „Austrālijas Latvietis” (Australia’s Latvian). Already on June 5, 1949 there appeared the announcement about the foundation meeting of the Melbourne Latvian Society and in the edition of June 19 it was said: „90 Melbourne Latvians accepted the statutes of the new Melbourne Latvian Society on June 12 meeting and with huge prevalence of votes the prof. D. E.Dunsdorfs was elected as a Chairman of the Board, but the Borad members became R. Kraulis, sworn advocate A.Novackis and teachers K. Sarma and R. Langins.”

The Board of the Society decided to establish drama group, folk dance group, literary section and mixed choir. The drama group actually existed already. Small amateur group organised the first Latvian drama performance in Australia. The well-known stage artists suggested establishing of „MLS Drama Ensemble and Studio” that worked from 1950 until 1953. Then an idea appeared to establish professional travelling theatre that would serve for whole Latvian community in Australia. As a result, in May of 1953 Australia’s Latvian Theatre was developed on the basis of MLS Drama Ensemble. The only unfulfilled idea of the Board was the folk dance section. Already existing dance groups decided not to join the Melbourne Latvian Society. Also the Literary Section did not become the part of the Society, but with its activities participated in the MLS events “Friday Evenings”. From 1949 to 1963 were organised 434 „Friday Evenings” meetings.

Time of huge activity started. Different interest groups started develop and gather under the wing of the Latvian Society. The library started its work in February 1950, inviting Latvians to donate books. First three months the library managed R.Remkina, after that the management took over L.Dunsdorfa and managed the library more than 50 years. The aim of the library manager was to gather all the articles about Latvians and Latvia published in the free world and abroad. She searched also the private person editions that were not accessible in book stores, including also handwritings. As a result the library became the biggest Latvian library outside Latvia. When Lilija Dunsdorfa left her position in the library it had more than 17 000 publications.

Under the wing of the Society more and more sections and branches gathered, but the Society did not have its own house. During the meeting of the Melbourne Latvian Organisations on June 4, 1952 the Melbourne Latvian Society Steering Committee was elected. As a result of the committee’s work the Melbourne Latvian House Cooperative was developed. The Melbourne Latvian Society does not have its own house as it is in other Australia’s cities, but almost everything that is important for Melbourne Latvians’ social life is suggested, started and supported by the Society.


The Melbourne Latvian Society organises traditional events and meetings. Under the wing of the Society work the MLS Mixed Choir „Rota”, MLS Daugava School and kindergarten „Daina”, Riga 1st Guide Unit and Riga 102nd Scout Unit.

The Melbourne Latvian Society’s Library, which has been working since 1949, is still the biggest Latvian library outside Latvia (more than 19 000 publications). The aim of the library is to gather and preserve everything that Latvians publish outside Latvia and what is published about them in other editions. In order to gather information that is available in the MLS Library, the project has been started to digitalise 19 000 unit catalogue. As a result the readers will be able to find fast and easily with their tablet PC’s the publications after the name of the author, title, editor, publisher, publishing year, theme or any other key word. The digitalised catalogue will be available also in the Latvian National Library, as well as in other interested libraries.

The Melbourne Latvian Society celebrated its 65th anniversary with a jubilee event in August of 2014.


Society’s address
Melbourne Latvian Society, Latvian House, 3 Dickens Street, Elwood, Vic. 3184

Chairman of the Melbourne Latvian Society Iveta Laine
E-mail: ALRedakcija@netspace.net.au ; iveta_lainis@hotmail.com
Phone: 613 9876 1448

Melbourne Latvian House

Address: 3 Dickens Street, Elwood, VIC3184
E-mail: latcon@ozemail.com.au 
Phone:  61 03 9525 6884
Home page:  www.latvianhousemelbourne.com.au