|Country of Origin||Felsőbánya (Renamed Baia Sprie, in Romania since1920), Hungary (Transylvania)|
|Date of Birth||29.9. 1857|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||1882|
|Submitted by||Attila Urmenyhazi|
Béla Makutz was born at Felsőbánya on 29 September 1857. At the age of twelve he was apprenticed to a cousin as a cobbler for five years. Having learnt the trade Makutz left for Galatz, in Romania, where he joined his uncle, an iron founder. After learning his trade for seven years, he felt again the urge to move and went to Turkey, thence to Alexandria where he worked in an iron foundry. Carrying with him little more than his growing experience, he arrived in Melbourne in 1882.
After four months spent working for a safemaker, he launched his own workshop with a partner. Though his partner left Australia and he had to find a new one, his business survived until 1893, when he moved to Western Australia and began digging for gold in the Murchison district. After a short return to Victoria, he went back again to Western Australia where in Perth he opened his safemaking workshop. In 1902 he was naturalised. By 1912, he was employing a staff of about fifty men, and also had purchased a wheat growing property of 7,000 acres at Nugadong.
An outstanding example of the self-made man, an expert in his steel fabrication trade, despite little formal education but considerable courage and industry, Makutz prospered.
In 1885 he married Cecilia Albers of Melbourne and had two sons: Ernest and Rudolph, both of whom later took part in the management of the business.
One Western Australian landmark that bears the ultimate example of Bela’s work is the Cape Leveque Lighthouse which is the only prefabricated cast iron tower lighthouse in in the State. It was designed by the State Public Works but was manufactured and assembled by his company in 1911-12. Today, the Lighthouse is a State Heritage listed icon in the Kimberleys.
Makutz died in Perth on 10 August 1923 but his firm survived him to this day. With over 100 years behind, the company is almost an institution in Western Australia, evolving with the times and operating nowadays in South Perth under the name of Makutz Safemaker specialising in safe manufacture and strongroom doors and needs.
Attribution to Egon F.Kunz “Blood & Gold”
Submitted by: Attila Urmenyhazi