General News

In Memoriam – Johannes Olup

19 May 1924, Paide, Estonia

3 September 2020, Thirlmere, Australia

Although Johannes experienced troubles throughout his life, particularly in having to leave the country of his birth at age 20, he was really one of the lucky ones. Many who tried to escape and many who stayed behind did not survive the war or its aftermath.

In Germany he met and married Linda, another Estonian refugee, and after working three years for the occupying forces as a driver, emigrated to Australia.

He was one of the many Estonians who spent time in the migrant camp at Bonegilla, where he made many life-long friends. He travelled to Sydney to work for the Water Board at Pott’s Hill and would live in nearby Birrong for most of the rest of his life. After working at the Ford Plant in Homebush, he learned the carpentry trade and became a house builder. He would go on to build homes for many in Sydney’s Estonian community (and later renovate them) and also renovate Sydney’s Estonian House and the Church House in North Strathfield.

A convivial man, he played his part in the Australian Estonian community by singing with Sydney’s Estonian Men’s Choir and attending many festivals. He continued with the choir until increasing deafness and the need to care for his wife through her last illness made participation too difficult. He loved the company of his friends and the many festive occasions where he could eat, drink and sing.

Up until just before his passing, Johannes was still cooking and cleaning for himself in his retirement village unit at Thirlmere and even driving to go shopping and to meet local medical appointments.

He is survived by his daughter Erika and will be greatly missed.

His funeral will be held in the West Chapel at Rookwood Crematorium at 11am on Friday 18 September 2020.

Nii aja ratas ringi käib
Me kaunid päevad mööda läind
Tasakesi lööb aegade kell
Järele jääb mälestus nii hea ja hell

By Kristi Barrow

Loves all things Estonian. Especially Crafters Elderflower gin. Aussie born.