Alex (Sándor) Pongrass (Pongrácz)
|First name||Alex (Sándor)|
|Last name||Pongrass (Pongrácz)|
|Country of Origin||Hungary|
|Date of Birth||11/10/2023|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1950|
|Submitted by||Attila Urmenyhazi|
Alex Pongrass greatly contributed to the Hungarian communal life in Sydney. He financially supported many charity drives, amongst them stands out his generous donation of the equivalent value of a suburban house to help the refugees arriving in Sydney after the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956. His greatest passion in life however was soccer and barracking at soccer matches. In 1958 he took over the St George-Budapest soccer club then facing financial collapse despite fielding brilliant players. In those years the clubhouse at Hurstville (St George District) was mostly patronized by Hungarian migrants finding a venue for their week-end socializing, discussing soccer and their beloved club’s players who were mostly ethnic Hungarians, as in those days soccer was mainly the sport of young immigrants playing for their own ethnic based clubs, right across Australia. For forty years running Alex was their irreplaceable and successful president. In that time “his” club won every imaginable trophy, cup, honour and contributed an extraordinary number of players to the national soccer team. The wealthy businessman was the benefactor in the building of the Saint George Stadium a.k.a. Barton Park Stadium which has a total capacity of 15,000 including 2,500 seats. At the moment it is home to the St. George Club (changed from St George-Budapest) who play in the New South Wales Premier League.
To have a break from demanding business activities, NSL soccer politics, etc. the patriarch of soccer indulged in a hobby, that of horse breeding and riding. Alex and Claire (Klára) Pongrass had 2 sets of twins and eventually 13 grandchildren. In his later years, he was able to devote more time to his large family he idolized. Alex received the AM (Member of the Order of Australia) in 1988 for his contribution to soccer in Australia. In recognition of his long record of outstanding benevolence and help to charity, the Rotary Club of which he was a member, conferred upon him their highest honour. Even in his last hours, Alex Pongrass was either surfing the internet or evaluating deal prospects to benefit family members. The unique and good man passed away on June 2000 in Sydney.
Research: Attila Urmenyhazi
10 March 2011