Sydney Latvian Society

"Awaken, arise, Work!" (Atis Kronvalds)

The Sydney Latvian Society was founded in 1952.

The emblem of the Sydney Latvian Society: the Society's Latvian acronym SLB, with the year of founding, 1952, enclosed in an ancient Latvian sun symbol, designed by Arvīds Sodums.

The Society’s motto: the words of 19th century Latvian patriot Atis Kronvalds: "Mosties, celies, strādā" - "Awaken, arise, Work”!

The aims of the Society are to promote and support social and cultural life of the Society’s members and Sydney Latvian community.

The Sydney Latvian Society leads the Board that consists of ten persons elected in the members’ general meeting that from among the Board members elects the Board President.  
The President of the Sydney Latvian Society is Jānis Grauds.


The Sydney Latvian Society was founded in 1952. Its founders were: Felikss Brūvelis, Bruno Strazdiņš, Aleksandrs Rolavs, Vilis Motmillers, Juris Andersons, Elvīra Miezis-Plūme, Pēteris Laiviņš, Mārtiņš Siliņš, Roberts Studāns, Jānis Krauklis and Jānis Lūsis.

Already at the end of the 19th century from Latvia to Sydney arrived and settled several Latvians. Their number increased after 1905. The first Latvian organisation in Australia was founded in 1913. The member of the organisation could be every person, who lived in Sydney and spoke Latvian language. This circle existed until 1926. In 1928 the members of the circle founded the Sydney Latvian Club. It united nationally minded Latvians, who supported independent Latvia. It existed for four years. From 1931 to 1940 every year the members organised Ligo celebrations and meetings on November 18.

After the Second World War, in 1947 the group of initiators in Sydney established the Australian Latvian Welfare Organisation. Its founders were Kārlis Nīcis, Felikss Brūvelis and Kārlis Šics. As a result of post war immigration, membership of the Organisation rapidly increased. This led to the start of social and cultural activities. There were active literary, theatre, sports, choir and tour groups. The Latvian Welfare Organisation was founded as a welfare organisation and did not have the legal right to own property. New statutes had to be prepared and new organisation had to be founded in order to obtain property, where Latvians could meet and develop their cultural life.

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 Board members were 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 different events. On the 18th of November, 1959 the Hall was officially opened. The Hall had a wide stage; under the stage were the dressing rooms and kitchen. It had a seating capacity of 500 people. Through the following years the existing building was altered and extended to provide suitable accommodation for the activities of the Society under the leadership of next Chairmen Vidvuds Koškins, Alfrēds Siļķēns, Jānis Ronis and specialists – engineers Jānis Treimanis, Ēriks Zvirbulis, Jānis Mačēns, and others. The old house was almost totally rebuilt and now there were premises for meetings, schools, kitchen, facilities, manager’s apartments, loan company, etc.

The Latvians, who live in Sydney and its surroundings, has a place, where to gather and organise social and cultural activities.

The Sydney Latvian Society premises are regularly used by other organisations apart from the SLB.

The former presidents of the Society were: Felikss Brūvelis 1952-1953; Mārtiņš Siliņš 1953-1974; Vidvuds Koškins 1974-1986; Alfrēds Siļķēns 1986-1992; Imants Sveilis 1992-1996; Jānis Ronis 1996- 2009; Jānis Grauds 2009 – until nowadays.


Under the wing of the Sydney Latvian Society work Ladies’ Committee, library, book store, Latvian schools, language circle, seniors’ meeting group, youth vocal ensemble „Jaunais Vējš” (New Wind), musical ensemble „Sydnejas Muzykanti”, Sydney Latvian Mixed Choir, Sydney Latvian Men Choir, Sydney Latvian Theatre, Sports Group „Spars” (Vigour), Folk Dance Group "Jautrais pāris” (Merry Couple), Seniors Care "Laima". 
The SLB publishes the informative newsletter „Ritums”.


Society’s address
Sydney Latvian Society Ltd. , 32-34 Parnell Street, Strathfield, NSW 2135, Australia
Mailing address: P.O.Box 457, Strathfield, NSW 2135, Australia  
E-mail: sydneylatviansociety@bigpond.com
Phone: 61 2 9744 8500
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