Ferenc Kalman (Frank) Molnar
|First name||Ferenc Kalman (Frank)|
|Country of Origin||Hungary|
|Date of Birth||4/16/2023|
|Year of Arrival in Australia||7/21/1949|
|Submitted by||Di Molnar|
The Story of Frank Molnar (Part One)
Frank Molnar was a survivor. He was born Ferenc Kalman Molnar on 16th April 1923 in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary. He was the youngest of Ferenc and Maria Molnar\’s three boys. Frank\’s father was renowned as the strongest man in western Hungary, a strength that Frank inherited as he also grew to be a tall and physically imposing figure. Frank\’s dad received the highest medal for bravery Ð the white cross Ð for his service during the First World War. His father was badly injured and died when Frank was an infant.
Maria owned the most famous tavern in Hungary called the ‘Becsali Csarda\’. Frank and his brothers went to a prestigious boarding school and they lived comfortably for a while. Frank\’s young life was unsettled by war when he volunteered as a soldier for the Hungarian army at the age of seventeen. He was trained as a secret messenger on the frontlines and was injured twice. The second time his injuries were so serious that the doctors thought he was going to die.
After he recovered, Frank continued to work in the army office. When the communists invaded Hungary in 1945 Frank had no choice but to flee his beloved country or face execution. An example of Frank\’s fierce bravery was when he returned to Hungary to smuggle his then girlfriend and her family out of the country to safety.
Frank moved to Austria where he met Julia and they married in 1948. They migrated to Australia on the SS General Taylor, departing Naples, Italy on 23 June 1949 and arriving on the 21 July 1949 to start a new life. Frank and Julia were sent to Bathurst Immigration Centre. The living conditions were awful as they shared a room with a hundred others. From there they moved to Sydney.
Frank was skilled as a technical draftsman and auto mechanic. Such was Frank\’s knowledge that he was offered a teaching position at Duntroon Military College, which he declined. It was in Sydney that Frank and his friend invented the first refrigerated truck. Without financial backing, they were not able to mass produce their invention. Though imagine their wealth if they had! Frank continued to struggle as a new immigrant and single handedly designed and constructed their home in Jaguna, NSW.
He opened a garage in busy Liverpool and saved for a pig farm because it was his dream to work on the land. He finally bought his pig farm in Fairfield. Frank\’s pigs even won awards at the Royal Easter show in Sydney. It was on this farm that his daughters Eve and Margaret were born. Sadly, Frank and Julia separated.
Frank was working at Vickers Wool Mill as a supervisor when he met his second wife, Olga. Frank\’s second job was as a chauffeur. He drove a Rolls Royce around Sydney and transported many celebrities, including the Beatles. Frank could never understand how women would throw their underwear at these seemingly ordinary men. He told many funny stories about the famous people he encountered.
On 1 May 1958, Frank proudly became an Australian citizen.
In 1965 Frank and Olga moved to Canberra. Frank got a job at the Australian National University, Research School of Physical Science as an engineer. It was here that Frank and Olga became the proud parents of Ildiko, Ferenc and Arpad. Frank then purchased a printing business in Fyshwick.
In 1967, Frank wrote and published ‘The Big Lie\’. It was a small book about the Holocaust. Copies of this book can be found at the National Library of Australia as well as Cambridge University in England.
Frank became one of the directors of the Hungarian-Australian Club in Dickson. He gave much of his spare time to running the club. Frank was also passionate about soccer. Frank and his sons all became soccer referees. When his son Frank Junior passed away, Frank started the Frank Molnar Memorial Trophy in his memory. The perpetual trophy is awarded yearly to the best up and coming soccer referees.
When his printing business closed, Frank joined the Australian Public Service before retiring at the age of 64.
Please see Part Two (Frank’s retirement)