Eddie (Edvinas)  Stumbras's Memorial

Eddie (Edvinas) Stumbras
(1933 - 2009)

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General Details

Name: Mr Eddie (Edvinas) Stumbras
Gender: Male
Age: 76 years old
Lived: Tuesday, 30 May 1933 - Monday, 28 December 2009

My Story

Edvinas Stumbras born 30th May 1933 Taurage Lithuania died 28th December 2009           

My story cant start without memory of my mother’s dedication to her family.

My mother Emilija Stumbras nee Boss, was born in 1895 in Lithuania and lived and died in Australia in 1996. I was born 1933 and I have four siblings, the eldest my brother and three sisters. My father, Simonas, was a builder died in 1933 when I was only 9 months old. Now, a widow with 5 children and her father aged 101 still alive. There was no social welfare or widow support.
The family was fortunate to have a house that my dad built and my mother was able to rent out a room for some financial support. Life wasn’t easy in this period of Lithuanian Independence after the 1WW. However, my mother was able to support her family with her abilities to provide food and shelter.

The Russian invasion of Lithuania in 1939 created fear and more hardships for the family. Then the German army pushed the Russian’s out of Lithuania. When in 1944 the German army were withdrawing, they offered the opportunity for us to leave by providing train transport for the families in my town. The fear was that as we had a house we would be evicted and possibly sent to Siberia.

My Mother having  memories of Russian rule, decided that this was an important move for the family to survive, at this stage only my youngest sister Erika and I were with mother, the 3 older siblings managed to find us at a later date in Germany. We each had a backpack of vital necessities like warm clothing, utensils for preparation of food and mother had flour and sugar and some long lasting food items.

Mother got a job to clean a railway station in Germany and this provided us accommodation. Unfortunately, the train line was the track taking Jews to a camp.  Towards the end of the WWII during an air raid many prisoners tried to escape and my older sister Zina tried to help one of the prisoners and was almost arrested for her effort. Many Jews fleeing where shot and their bodies littered the station platform, this scene was a nightmare that my younger sister and I never forgot. The period before the end of the WWII was an extremely stressful time, when there was an air raid we had to run with our backpacks to the security of a sewage drain at least 200 metres from the station across an open field.

The end of the Second World War created another problem. The Russian government wanted the Lithuanian’s back but that wasn’t the desire for many Lithuanians who distrusted the Russian government’s motives. The American army put us on a goods train, for us it was a journey to an unknown destination. Finally we were in the safety of the American Zone and placed in the security of a refugee camp with many other Lithuanian refugees.
Life in the camp was organised and life normalised, schools were set up and my education was resumed after a 3 year  disruption. My sisters and brother all meet and married fellow Lithuanians in the camps and when in 1949 we were given the option to travel to Australia.(Populate or Perish were the motives of Australia at the time to search for people prepared to travel on war ships). The Medicals were very strict and only the perfectly healthy were selected for the first transports in 1947. The first transport of Lithuanian refugee’s that came out of Germany’s camps were the “Beautiful Balts”(as they were later called in Australia) were all the young and single Lithuanians.

My mother and my oldest bother Otto and his family were held back due to some minor health issues. I was separated and classed as a single man. As my 16th birthday was May 1949, I was accepted for migration with a 2 year work contract to cover the cost of transport. This was a devastating moment as I had never been separated from my mother and family. My married sister’s and their husbands managed to change my transport to join them on their vessel the “GENERAL GREELY”. All the vessels were war ships that were used to get most of the displaced people from the German camps. In my  research I found that from the first transport of displaced persons from German camps in 28.11.1947 to 22.1.1950 26 months later approximately 88,683 people were transported to Australia. The journey was a month long and the best memory was the amount of food that was available.

We landed in Newcastle in October 1949 and we boarded a train to Queensland to stay at the camp at Wacol.  At the camp I was given a bike to be a messenger boy, I loved this and have some fond memories of the great tasks and the misunderstandings learning and using English. In 1951, I was able to join my married sisters in a Brisbane private residence. After completing the compulsory two-year contract, I was now able to apply for any work that was available and with the money I saved I had a tailored suit made.

The Queensland weather was much to harsh for us so now that my mother and brother’s family were in Melbourne we all boarded a train and travelled the long, vast empty distance, which we found very foreign as it was so dry compared to Europe.

I married and have 2 daughters and 5 grand daughters and all my extended family members have remained close. I supported my family by working very hard and worked all the overtime that was offered in those early days. I worked for James Hardie for 5 years and after leaving them I  learnt welding at ARC which  lead to setting up an engineering company with a couple of partners,. This provided many advantages to family. My father had been a builder and in our spare time, my brother and I built our first home and many other homes in the 60 years.

My mother’s celebration of her 100 birthday was a highlight as the family had multiplied to 4 generations, she lived and cared for my eldest brother’s family from when she arrived at the age of 55, she never remarried and as a single mother, a perfect example to us all. Mother died in January 1996 and my eldest brother with cancer held on for another 63 days and this was an extremely difficult time. There are other members of the family that have died or are now in old age. I myself now have asbestosis, a legacy from James Hardie and continue to stay as active and positive as I can be and forever grateful that my mother made that decision so long ago to flee and give us all a better life.

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'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.' When God takes something from your grasp, ...
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Song Name: I did it my way
Artist: Frank Sinatra
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Edukai (Pupa) always a part of my heart.


Fathers Name: Simonas Stumbras(Dec)in Lithuania
Mothers Name: Emilija Stumbras nee Boss(Dec) in Australia
Spouse's Name: Irena Dana Stumbras
Children's Names: Loretta Hancock and Brigita Kydd
Siblings Names: Otto (Dec) Marta in USA, Zina(Dec)Erika
Country of Birth: Lithuania
Country of Residence: Australia
City of Residence: Werribee/Torquay
Occupation: Self-Employment
Marital Status: Married
Religion: Other Christian


Favourite Sport: Basketball
Favourite Team: Lithuanian
Favourite Book: Mysteries
Favourite Movie: Grand Tarino
Favourite Music Genre: Country
Favourite Artist: Frank Sinatra / Hawking Bros
Other Interests:
Building Houses


Place of Passing: Home
Date of Passing: 28 December 2009
Cause of Passing: Asbestosis
Type of Funeral: Cremation
Place of Burial: Altona Memorial Park
Funeral Venue: Nelson Bros Funeral Services
Funeral Location: St Philip's Lutheran Church,
Funeral Date: 31 December 2009

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