Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Estonian village of Thirlmere is the only entirely Estonian village in Australia

The Estonian village of Thirlmere located 89 kilometres south-west of Sydney is a unique place. Renown for its Estonian community, the village has its own homes, hostel, café, community centre, church and graveyard. It is the only entirely Estonian village in Australia.

Estonian folklorist Mare Kõiva recently visited Thirlmere and shared her experience with Vikerraadio. She tells how the village was founded and why it was chosen as a place to live in Australia,

Many Estonian immigrants settled in Thirlmere from 1924 onwards, especially after the Second World War when tens of thousand had fled to avoid being sent to Siberia for alleged political and economic crimes. Estonians are largely responsible for the development of the successful poultry industry, which at one stage was the largest egg producer in the state and still provides the great majority of NSW's poultry produce. Many of the younger generations of Estonians have left the area and moved closer to the city but other original immigrants and newcomers live there still in Australia's only Estonian Retirement Village.

You can listen to the radio interview here (in Estonian): Eesti lugu. Austraalia 2