Melbourne Latvian House

After the Second World War, between 1947 and 1952, a large number of Latvians with their families left war-torn Europe for Australia. Many of them chose to settle in Melbourne and start a new life. The Latvian community at the time decided that there is a need to own their own community centre in Melbourne.

In 1950 at a Friday night Latvian community meeting, held at Collingwood Town Hall, chaired by Hugo Misiņš, it was decided to purchase a community house for the Latvian community in Melbourne. For this purpose in 1952 it was decided to establish a cooperative – the Melbourne Latvian Cooperative (MLNK). A search for the right house began. Finally – a purchase was made. In 1955 Melbourne Latvian Cooperative (MLNK) bought a large mansion at 3 Dickens St., Elwood. The price was 10 250 pounds. The first instalment of 3200 pounds was paid. And already five years later, in June 1960, the final payment was made.

In 1960 a technical committee was established to explore the possibility to construct and finance a number of extensions – a Great Hall, a Lobby and a Cafeteria at the rear of the existing building. The design of the new extensions was based on plans drawn up by our own architect A. Pūpēdis. However, the mosaic in the Great Hall lobby was designed by G. Jurjāns.

The opening ceremony for the whole project was held on 16 May and declared open by the Latvian Consul-General at the time, Mr. O. Rozītis.