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John Oxley Library

Russians in Queensland

By JOL Admin | 1 February 2010

A collection of papers in the John Oxley Library that form the archive of the Gubar - Canuk - Mekhonoshin families, created by Paula (Polina) Gubar, has been made more accessible to English speakers thanks to the work of Ms Nataliya Samokhina.



After completing a six week fieldwork placement at the State Library of Queensland to have her librarianship qualifications recognised in Australia, Nataliya, formerly Head of Department for Students of Secondary School at the Ryazan Regional Children's Library in the Russian Federation, is currently a volunteer in the Heritage Collections Unit.

During her fieldwork placement Nataliya created an information guide (already used by grateful researchers in the John Oxley Library Reading Room) on Russian related collection items in the John Oxley Library. Whilst working on this project Nataliya became particularly interested in the Gubar Family Photographs and Papers.

In the past few months Nataliya has translated Paula Gubar's travelling diary of 1924, a selection of letters, and various documents including passports, certificates, and notebooks.

Paula Gubar, nee Canuk, was born in 1911. Her family, originally from the Ukraine, left Russia on 12 Jan 1925 from Vladivostok. They travelled from Russia to Australia via Shanghai - Nagasaki - Hong-Kong - Manila - Philippines - Thursday Island - Townsville - Brisbane.

Paula studied at Brenda McCullough's ballet school and worked at Borsht's dress-making factory at South Brisbane. She later started a shop at 577 Stanley Street, where she made clothes to order. She married fellow Russian Basil Gubar (b. 1907 in Harbin, Manchuria) who had arrived in Australia in 1917. Paula and her husband lived in a house at 10 Gibbon Street, Woolloongabba, which became a social focus for fellow Russians. Their daughter Yvonne was born on 12 Dec 1941.

The collection includes hundreds of photographs and material relating to the Mikonoshin/Meek Family. Gregory Mikonoshin practised as an architect in Brisbane and was the creator of the "Fairy House" in MacGregor Terrace, Bardon.

Many thanks to Nataliya, and to all of the John Oxley Library volunteers, whose work is of great importance.


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