Dr Alex Sandor Kolozsy, one of our finest

“I met up with two Hungarians mates and we then headed up north to Ingham to cut sugar cane, lasting a couple of months before I finally arrived in Sydney to see those kangaroos,” Alex said with a laugh.

By Greg Martin

Two famous names to come out of Transylvania over the past two centuries and both became renowned due to blood.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula liked to dig his fangs into the life blood flowing through the necks of victims.

Dr Alex Sandor Kolozsy, one of this country’s foremost sculptors, was a mere 18 years old in 1956 during the Hungarian Uprising against the autocracy of the Russian usurpers.

That young Alex Kolozsy (in blue coat directly behind flag bearer) with fellow Freedom Fighters after capturing a Russian tank during the Hungarian Uprising.

He was an early recruit to the Hungarian Freedom Fighters and fearlessly fought against the Russians for only a week or so before shedding blood after being shot in the ankle and receiving a large cut across his forehead from hand grenade shrapnel.

Those injuries were the catalyst for the now 84-year-old Alex eventually making his way to Australia, meeting his beloved wife, raising two children and becoming a world-renowned sculptor.

The Hungarian Uprising (October 23– 10 November 10,1956); was a countrywide revolution against the Stalinist government of the Hungarian People’s Republic (1949–1989) and the Hungarian domestic policies imposed by the USSR.

Although initially willing to negotiate the withdrawal of the Soviet Army from Hungary, the USSR repressed the Hungarian Revolution and fought the Hungarian revolutionaries – 2500 Hungarians and 700 Soviet Army soldiers were killed, and 200,000 Hungarians sought political refuge abroad.

Such is his talent as a painter and specifically a sculptor working metals, Alex has his works on display in Canberra’s National Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Presidential Library Collection in the United States, Stockman’s Hall of Fame in Longreach and Papua New Guinea’s National Museum and Art Gallery.

His works can also be found in corporate collections in the United States, the United Kingdom and in Hungary’s National Gallery, Budapest; Esztergom Basilica and Peoples Academy Exiled Hungarians in Lakitelek.

He has been awarded numerous art prizes for his sculpture, including the prestigious Arpad Academy´s International Gold Medal (1981) for his sculpture, ˝Spirit of Sydney˝, and has been bestowed with numerous honours, not only in Australia but also the USA, UK and Europe.

And he has been honoured on numerous occasions including being appointed Artisan in Residence at the University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury Richmond Campus. Artisan in Residence at Blacktown City Show Society and conferred Cultural Doctorate, Visual Arts/Sculpture, World University Roundtable, Arizona USA.

His country of birth endowed him with further tributes when he returned to Hungary for visits in 2010-11.

Dr. Zsolt Semjén, Deputy Prime Minister of Hungary, recognised Alex’s contribution as a young Freedom fighter, and gratefully presented him a Diploma of Appreciation.

And he also three received three awards for sculpturing – from Gyor Mayor Zsolt Borkai, from András Gangl, a Leading Representative, Member of Parliament, and from the Mayor of Bonyhád.

After recovering from his injuries in a Budapest hospital, Alex, who had completed his fitter apprenticeship before joining the Uprising, began a long journey to Australia.

During his apprenticeship, he also began his journey in art, completing courses at the Academy of Art in Győr, (1952-1956).

That journey continued when he fled Hungary for Holland where he spent two years, firstly in a displaced persons camp and then boarding with an artistic family in the city of Helmond.”

”They were a wonderful family and encouraged me to spend two years doing further study at the Rembrandt Academy of Art in Eindhoven (1956-1958,” Alex explained.

So what influenced the young man to venture to the other side of the world and settle in Australia?

“I found a copy of The Wayward Tourist: Mark Twain’s Adventures in Australia and read that kangaroos could be seen in the main street of Sydney, so I said to myself: ‘I must go and see for myself’,” Alex said.

And he did, but unfortunately the great American author and humourist spotted those kangaroos way back in 1895!

“Our boat took us to Melbourne but then I was off to Tasmania where I knew some Dutch people and found a job as a plumber’s mate,” Alex said.

Alex and Marilyn Owen pictured just after tying the knot at the Bondi Junction Methodist Church.

“But soon enough I was off again, this time to Port Kembla Steelworks where I returned to my trade as a fitter.

“I met up with two Hungarians mates and we then headed up north to Ingham to cut sugar cane, lasting a couple of months before I finally arrived in Sydney to see those kangaroos,” Alex said with a laugh.

Alex snared a job repairing machinery at a glass factory in Alexandria and during that time he was able to devote his spare time to sculpting, doing commissions for a growing band of clients.

He was living in a Biltmore Hotel at Bondi Beach when the manager of the hotel introduced him to an attractive lass down on holidays from Broken Hill – Marilyn Owen.

“We were married two years later, and she became my muse in my art and life,” Alex said.

“I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I have done with my time in this place without her encouragement and love!”

Sadly, his darling Marilyn passed away in 2018 and he says the “heartache never goes away”.

Alex and Marilyn moved to Blacktown over 50 years ago and have two children, a daughter, Zsuzsa and son, Sandor-Vitez – each of the children presented their parents with three grandchildren.

Alex kindly showed your writer numerous sculptures and paintings in his delightful home and they were very much admired by me and our ace photographer, Kathryn Johnston.

After we offered him profuse praise, he thanked us and led us to his front gate.

“But you know, I am serious when I tell you I still haven’t done my best work yet,” he quipped.

The mind boggles!

Main picture: Alex Kolozsy with a sculptured bust of his beloved wife, Marilyn. Photo: Kathryn Johnston.

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