To see the pages in Latvian, click here This page is in English


Welcome to the Sydney Latvian Society's web site. These pages present information about the Society's activities and the various organizations that operate under the Society's umbrella.

Our emblem: The Society's Latvian acronym SLB, with the year of founding, 1952,
enclosed in an ancient Latvian sun symbol. The letter B stands for "Biedrība", which means "Society" in Latvian. Designed by Arvids Sodums.

Our motto: The words of 19th century Latvian patriot Atis Kronvalds:
"Mosties, celies, strādā"
- "Awaken, arise, Work!

Our flag: The Sydney Latvian Society's flag is the Latvian flag.

Sydney Latvian House
32 Parnell St, Strathfield NSW 2135, Australia
Postal address: PO Box 457, Strathfield NSW 2135
Phone: (02) 9744 8500

Office hours at Latvian House
SLB office and bookshop
Thursdays - 11:00am -1:00pm
Saturdays - 9:00am -1:00pm

Thursdays - 11:00-12:00
Saturdays - 10:00-12:00

First and third Thursday each month: 11:30am -1:00pm
and during functions at Latvian House

Latvian Credit Cooperative office
Thursdays and Saturdays - 9:00am -1:00pm
Tel: (02) 9747 6279

Events at Latvian House

For information about events, click here...

Events in other locations:

Sydney "Daugavas Vanagi"

Sydney Ev.Lut. Latvian congregation

Latvian Ev.Lut. Unity congregation

Membership | Aims of the Society | Management | Organizations incorporated under the Society | History

Membership 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
Annual fees:
Adults: $40.00; pensioners: $35.00;
students: $15.00

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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Aims of the Society
The Society’s aims are to promote and support
cultural activities for its members and Sydney’s
Latvian community. Specifically:

 Support the Ladies Auxiliary and all incorporated organisations.

 Issue the monthly news publication "Ritums".

 Promote 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.

 Belong to and support Latvian Federation in Australia and New Zealand, and Latvian Youth Federation in Australia.

 Financially 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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The Society's Management
SLB is managed by a Board elected by its members.
Its accounts are audited by Ināra Sīkais.

2017 Board of Management
President: Jānis Čečiņš
Vice President: Jānis Grauds
Board members: Ilona Brūveris, Klāra Brūveris, Andris Galviņš, Pēteris Kļaviņš, Imants Līcis, Mārtiņš Tuktēns
Board Candidates: Toms Veidners

Assisting the Board:
Ladies auxilliary: Ināra Grūmiņš
Meeting minutes: Ināra Graudiņš
Legal consultant: Juris Liepiņš

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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Incorporated organizations

   Ladies Auxiliary.
   Information Bulletin "Ritums".
   Library.
   Book and Gift Shop.
   Latvian schools.
   Latvian language and literary group.
   Seniors group.
   Youth vocal ensemble "Jaunais Vējš". More...
   Music ensemble "Sydnejas Muzykanti". More...
   Sydney Latvian Mixed Choir.
   Sydney Latvian Male Choir
   Sydney Latvian Theatre ensemble
   Sports Club "Spars".
   Folk dance group "Jautrais Pāris".
   Latvian Aged Care "Laima".


"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.

SLB Library
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

Latvian Schools
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

Language and Literary Group
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 Siļķēns.

Seniors Group
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.

Youth vocal 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.

Music ensemble "Sydnejas Muzykanti"
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 Miezis-Plūme, Pēteris
Laiviņš, Mārtiņš Siliņš, Roberts Studāns, Jānis Krauklis and Jānis Lūsis.

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
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 2009-2015
Jānis Čečiņš 2015-

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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.  View larger>>

Former Presidents of the Sydney Latvian Society, Janis Grauds (at left) and his predecessor Jānis Ronis.


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" festival.

Ladies Auxilliary Committee preparing a feast.

The Sydney Latvian Society's Mixed Choir singing at their annual concert.

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.

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