The Free Thought

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This article is about the Ukrainian-Australian newspaper. For the Dutch freethinkers association, see De Vrije Gedachte.
The Free Thought
The Ukrainian Newspaper in Australia
Vilna Dumka.png
Nameplate of The Free Thought
Type weekly newspaper
Format A2
Founder(s) Wolodymyr Shumsky
Editor Mark Shumsky
Editor-in-chief Wolodymyr Shumsky
Founded 10 July 1949
Language Ukrainian and English
Headquarters Australia Lidcombe, NSW, Australia
Circulation 1,500
OCLC number 17664565

The Free Thought, also known as Vil'na dumka, Vilna Dumka and in Ukrainian: Вільна думка; is a weekly Ukrainian newspaper published in Australia since 1949.[1][2] In addition to serving post-World War II immigrants and the second and third generations of those immigrants, the newspaper also caters to newer immigrants from post-Soviet Ukraine. It has sections in both Ukrainian and English.


A large group of Ukrainian immigrants arrived in Australia in 1948, 1949, and 1950 with the assistance of two-year work contracts offered by the Australian government. This was the impetus for the creation of two Ukrainian-language newspapers in Australia, one of which was The Free Thought.[3] Upon receiving the Federal Government's permission, the first edition was published on 10 July 1949.[1] Since then, the newspaper has had a role in reporting on the establishment and development of Ukrainian Australian cultural and social life.[2]

In the 1980s, The Free Thought helped establish the Ukrainian Studies Foundations in Australia Ltd. to support Ukrainian studies at the university level. In 1994, The Free Thought joined with the Ukrainian Studies Foundation to publish a history called the Almanac of Ukrainian Life in Australia ISBN 9780908168040.[4] Another book was published in 2001, this time with the Ukrainian Heritage Society in Australia, containing over 2000 biographies of Ukrainian Australians, titled Ukrainians in Australia: an Encyclopedic Guide ISBN 9780908168118.[5]


The founder, owner, and editor is Wolodymyr Shumsky (Szumskyj), who has edited more than 3000 editions of the newspaper since 1949[1] and for many years has been active in the Ukrainian Australian community. In 2009 he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for "service to the Ukrainian community through cultural, educational and literary contributions".[6][7][8]

Over the years, contributors to Vilna Dumka have included Dmytro Nytczenko, Bohdan Podolianko[9] and Wasyl Onufrienko.[10]


  1. ^ a b c NSW Migration Heritage Centre at the Powerhouse Museum. "Our Newspapers Online: Free Thought". Haymarket, NSW: New South Wales Government. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Gilson, M. Zubrzycki, J. (1967) The foreign-language press in Australia, 1848-1964 Australian National University
  3. ^ Myron B Kuropas (21 January 2001). "Faces and Places, Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations, "G'day, - amazing Australia!"". The Ukrainian Weekly, No. 3, Vol. LXIX. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia 1994, Alʹmanakh ukraïnsʹkoho chasopysu vilʹna dumka ta Fundatsiï ukraïnoznavchyk studiĭ v Australiï = Almanac of the free thought Ukrainian newspaper and the Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia The Free Thought Ukrainian Weekly in Australia and the Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia Ltd, Sydney (Libraries Australia ID 30403309)
  5. ^ Shumsʹkyĭ, Volodymyr & Shumsʹkyĭ, Marko & Ukrainian Heritage Society in Australia & Free Thought Ukrainian Weekly in Australia 2001, Ukraïnt︠s︡y Avstraliï : ent︠s︡iklopedychnyĭ dovidnyk = Українці Австралії — Енциклопедичний Довідник, Vilʹna Dumka i Tovaristvo Zberezhenni︠a︡ Ukraïnsʹkoĭ̈ Spadshchyny v Avstraliï, Sidneĭ (Libraries Australia ID 34684777)
  6. ^ The Queen's Birthday 2009 Honours List (accessed 6 February 2011)
  7. ^ SHUMSKY, Wolodymyr (accessed 6 February 2011)
  8. ^ 'Queen's Birthday honours list 2009' on, 8 June 2009 (accessed 6 February 2011)
  9. ^ Podolanko, Bohdan
  10. ^ Arnold, J. & Hay, J. (2008) The Bibliography of Australian Literature, Univ. of Queensland Press ISBN 0-7022-3598-9, ISBN 978-0-7022-3598-6


  • Shumsʹkyĭ, Volodymyr & Marko Shumsʹkyĭ (2001). Ukraïnt︠s︡i Avstraliï: ent︠s︡yklopedychnyĭ dovidnyk [Almanac of Ukrainian Life in Australia] (in Ukrainian). Sydney: "Vilʹna dumka"; T-vo zberez︠h︡enni︠a︡ ukraïnsʹkoï spadshchyny v Avstraliï. ISBN 978-0-908168-11-8. OCLC 71275847. 

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