Alfred (Alfréd) Horvath (Horváth)
|First name||Alfred (Alfréd)|
|Last name||Horvath (Horváth)|
|Country of Origin||HUNGARY|
|Date of Birth||30.9.1924|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||13.11.1951|
|Submitted by||Attila Urmenyhazi|
Alfred Horvath, forester, technical draftsman, road works engineer-contractor was born in Moson near the Austrian border in North-East Hungary. After his secondary education in Mosonmagyaróvár he attended and graduated from Royal Hungarian József Nádor University in Sopron as forester/engineer in silviculture in 1950. A few months later, after marriage to Emma Dollmayer, the couple leave Hungary for Austria where they would spend 7 months as refugees awaiting re-settlement under the care of the United Nation\’s International Refugee Organisation (IRO).
In November 1951 the Horvaths landed in Adelaide to start a new life. Sponsorhip by the Australian government being conditional to working at a designated, paid job for two years from arrival date, diligent migrant Alfred worked hard in assignments foreign to his qualifications but compatible with his field of competence owing to his key engineering background. He proved himself to be versatile and industrious very quickly, working in a government utility office on calculations based draft-design for excavations necessary for the laying of power lines in countryside Gawler, close to Barossa Valley. Alfred later switched jobs to install electricity-power meters to Adelaide homes. For a short interim period he then was employed in a nondescript furniture factory whilst looking for a fulltime, satisfying professional career employment. Afterwards he worked, at times seven day weeks, in a surveyor\’s office in Adelaide where his exacting work entailed calculations to set out future road networks in accordance with cadastral and survey requirements in town and urban planning. Drawing specific plans and topographic maps, he then supervised the earthworks operations necessary to carry out various projects like golf courses, private dams, elevated roads, etc.
With a combination of skill, many years of acquired experience, expertise and self-confidence, in 1976 Alfred embarked on a new career as businessman-large scale earthmoving contractor. His first major earthworks subcontract was the renewing to new design standards the badly eroded 560kms long Adelaide-Alice Springs railway line where his company carried out fundamental works before re-laying of tracks could start. In 1978 near Adelaide he directed the setting up of approach roads to a main public road and the construction of two suspension bridges over it. These operations and the project\’s success brought him recognition among his peers and the public works authority. Later on, Alfred\’s successful tenders took him to remote outback to involve him in road design and construction in the Tanami and Simpson Deserts, Moomba gasfields.
Among many professional achievements, his company is credited with carrying out the extensive drainage works project in Adelaide’s Morphettville race course to mitigate/eliminate marshy environment due to recurring flooding. At 65 he decided to semi-retire to work as consultant for half a day, few days a week. Alfred Horvath was enthralled when unexpectedly in 2000, he received from his alma mater university in Sopron their rare award, the ‘Golden Diploma’ in recognition of lifelong industrious and versatile application of his engineering skill with expertise.
The Horvaths had two sons: Alfred and Robert, both of whom are surveyors. In retirement Alfred devoted his free time to support, in any way he could, the local Hungarian community in Adelaide. He was an active member of the Hungarian Scouts support group and took part as a volunteer worker in their summer camps. He also was a good organizer of Hungarian socials and balls which brought the community together. Alfred was life-member of the Hungarian Club of SA which association he served tirelessly with his work contribution. He greatly helped the establishment of the Roman Catholic Blackfriars School in Prospect, Adelaide. Intrepid and selfless Alfred Horvath passed away in December 2000, at age 76.
Research: Attila Urmenyhazi