For Service to the Estonian community
The Adelaide Estonian Society would like to congratulate Iivo Tuul for receiving an OAM - Medal of the Order of Australia.
Iivo Veljo Tuul was born in the Baltic Republic of Estonia and lived there until 1944. When Soviet Russia occupied that country from 1940 to 1941, his father, who held a senior position in the government, was arrested and deported to Siberia where he remained for 17 years. Nazi Germany attacked Russia in 1941 and then occupied the country until 1944. As the war entered its final months the prospect of another, more brutal Soviet occupation caused a mass exodus of refugees fleeing the looming disasters soon to overtake so many countries. Among them were Iivo’s mother and aunt who took Iivo and his brother and fled to Germany. As was the case for many in the turmoil, which engulfed Europe after World War 2, he became a displaced person in a German refugee camp. There he remained until 1948 when the family was able to migrate to Australia to begin a new life.
Iivo Tuul has served the Estonian community in Adelaide for 60 years. In that time he has understood that the community cannot remain an isolated island and so he has pushed strongly for Estonians to understand this and become integrated into the wider Australian community. As each generation passes there is an inevitable loss of the culture of previous generations. Iivo has always recognised this and over 60 years, while accepting that premise, he has quietly but firmly tried to maintain Estonian culture in an attractive yet contemporary form. The result is that under his leadership the community has prospered and merged into mainstream Australia while still retaining cultural links to its past.Estonia recognized this when its President, Arnold Rüütel, awarded Iivo the Order of the White Star in 2005.
His achievements include:
1976 to 1992 Chairman of the Estonian Council of Sports in Australia. This organisation had, from 1954, been the driving force behind the Estonian Sports Carnival that was held every two years, rotating between Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. It encompassed all the ball games as well as athletics, swimming, chess and other activities.
1990, 1997, 2003 and 2010 Chairman of the Estonian Cultural Festival when it was held in Adelaide.
He continues to print the monthly Adelaide Estonian community newsletter “Virgats” which he has been involved with since 1968.
Member of the Adelaide Estonian Society Committee since 1989, Vice president since 1994, and President from 2008 to 2010.
In addition to playing basketball and volleyball for Club "Estonia" Iivo has participated in folk dancing, scouts and in the theatre group. He went on to play basketball at District level and represent SA in volleyball.
• President of Estonian Sports Club 1958 to 1990.
• Founded Estonian Sports College in 1972.
• Current Chairman of the Council of Estonian Societies (from 2011).
OAM - Iivo Veljo Tuul (1)