II - Coming to Australia
& Her Mum
our escape from Hungary we travelled to England on the same train
as Shari Molnar who, with her four daughters, had also escaped
the revolution and we became our good friends. Shari was the same
age as my parents and Edith was my age. Joe Molnar had migrated
to Tasmania, but his family had been prevented by the authorities
from following him until their escape in 1956. As next of kin,
Shari and her daughters joined their husband and father in Tasmania
whilst we were still at Winslow. The Molnars knew Dad wanted to
go to Australia and they attended to the migration procedures
for us to join them in Tasmania. I will never forget Shari's love
and generosity and she remains a great friend to this day.
sailed to Melbourne on the Lloyd Triestino and l enjoyed my tenth
birthday on board ship. At this time of arriving in a new country
I decided that, with my Mother's name being Maria, I would be known
as Mary, the English version, and have been known as Mary ever since.
Molnar sponsored our small family to Tasmania and we were allowed
thus to travel direct to Launceston. Dad worked very hard to improve
his English and by hard study got a good job in his old profession
with the Hydro-electric Commission. Mum also worked and within
eighteen months they were able to put down a deposit on a home
in Launceston. For us this was what the Lucky Country myth was
I attended the Glenview State School and had the blessing of a
wonderful teacher ".
insisted that my English be perfect and spent hours of her own
time tutoring me after school.She was such a dedicated person
and helped me to overcome the spelling problem which I had.
Hungarian is a language all on its own with no derivatives it
is a very hard language to change from.
who had always loved water sports, taught me to swim and I became
a very good swimmer in Tasmania. Other sports also appealed to
me with the result that I was in the State netball team at the
age of fifteen."
and her Dad
Imre, who was her coach, had plans to make Mary a champion swimmer
by relocating to the warmer climate of Queensland. In 196?; the
Imres sold their home at Launceston and rented a home at Brisbane
for two years. Mary attended the Kelvin Grove College where she
completed her schooling. Ironically, she never became a champion
swimmer in Queensland, which must have disappointed her father.
kindly taxi driver had taken the family on their arrival to a
house that he knew was available for rent at Highgate Hill. Next-door
staying with his sister was a seventeen-year-old lad who was working
in a butcher's shop by day and studying meat and stock inspection
at night. As Mary got to know Alan Metcalfe she found him to be
a kindred spirit who felt as she did about life.
had been such a tremendous influence on Mary's thinking and philosophy
that it was no small achievement for Alan to earn her confidence
and affection. He was a free thinker like her father and they
became great friends.
didn't find a suitable job in Brisbane. When he heard of the wages
paid to skilled workers at Mount Isa Mine he went up and established
himself there before bringing Maria and Mary up to a rented home.
Mary didn't like the idea at all as she didn't want to leave Alan
was depressed by the train journey through Townsville and felt
they were going to the end of the world. Nine months later Mary's
father invited Alan to have a holiday in Mount Isa with them.
While he was there Alan was offered a job in a local butchery
and relocated his work and study to there. At Christmas 1964 Mary
and he were engaged in spite of Laszlo's opposition. He objected
because Mary was only sixteen and Alan eighteen. Laszlo told Alan
he could take his ring and get going! Mary had to have a deep
and loving talk to him before calmer thoughts prevailed.
and Alan became great friends and he told Alan that he could make
more money at the mines. With his help Alan got a job sweeping
the floors in the Electrical Engineering section.
& Alan's Wedding
Alan was quite a good footballer and well known he soon got a
better job working underground and later a staff position in Underground
Planning and Design." When Mary and Alan were married a year later
Laszlo helped them build their home and swimming pool.
was seventeen and Alan nineteen. Maria had travelled back to Hungary,
but Laszlo never wanted to look back and was not interested in
returning to his earlier life.
Father was a strong family man, a very spiritual man and true
philosopher who had a tremendous influence on my young life. I
have believed all through my life that God had a special plan
for me if I just let Him walk through with me and just let things
happen without interfering.
of my Father's influence I have felt I was a person of the world
and never been afraid of the dark!
and I have the same spirit with no limitations and a spiritual
1967, after our son Clayton was born, Alan was asked to join AMP
as a representative in Mount Isa. He left the Mine and was successful
in reaching top sales figures in Australia for three consecutive
Isa was real pioneering country that brought out the best in Alan.
But it is a hard life for women.
business success was tempered with sadness at the loss of two
babies soon after birth. This sadness had a profound effect on
our lives. I know it brought Alan back to earth and the realisation
that no matter how much money you have it cannot take the place
of the lives of your loved ones.
During this time Alan resigned from the AMP and literally went
The demands of business got too much for him and I think he needed
the solitude of the outback after losing two children.
had learnt a lot at Mount Isa Mines and his father had been
in North Queensland
years before. Alan soon discovered the vast potential of the Mount
Isa and Cloncurry mineral fields, and he established a good living
for use as flux for the Mount Isa smelters. In 1970 Alan first
saw the Hampden Mine at Kuridala south of Cloncurry, and from
his experience at Mount Isa recognised its untapped potential."
and Clayton (1982)
the Metcalfes negotiated an agreement with the owner, they worked
for five years against difficult world copper prices and negative
government to develop the mine's potential. By 1972, when the
Whitlam Government was elected, they had thirty people employed.
had planned for a school and hoped to be viable in a year. Then
the new government pegged the price of copper and changed the
tax laws, virtually overnight wiping out Alan and Mary and many
had thousands of dollars of bills and commitments at the time
and things looked very bleak for us. I didn't know where we'd
turn to. But Alan dreamt up the idea of and started a free weekly
newspaper in Mount Isa and together we worked the mine for two
I learned to drive the bulldozers and trucks and how to prepare
the explosives for the mine.
was a tough time and I prayed that we'd be delivered out of that
predicament. In time we were able to clear our debts and think
about a new direction in our lives. God has been very good to
us and it wasn't long before our faith got us out of there and
back on our feet again.
got involved in politics
because he was frustrated by the way outback people were being
treated by governments in Canberra and he wanted to do something
about it. I don't think he realised how difficult that would be.
he joined the then Country Party he held leadership positions
from the branch to Zone Vice-President.
worked with top party officials to form the North Australian Development
Council and was elected its inaugural Chairman for four years.
made many friends in the party. Alan was convinced that a fairer
tax system was essential to give people in the outback equality
Although we travelled far and wide across Northern Australia we
were unable to raise the support needed to hasten change.
the 1974 election the National Party asked Alan to go to Tasmania
for two months to organise their campaign there."
In 1978 Mary and Alan moved to Townsville to live because there
appeared to be work to do there in the Party organisation. Alan
was continuing to he troubled by the neglect of the people of
the north by various governments. Although he was warned that
this was a difficult political area and the Nationals had very
little support he became very involved in the Party organisation
as Zone Vice-President, a member of State Management.
Townsville newspapers never gave Alan a fair go. I think the socialists
were afraid of what he might accomplish in government.
To communicate our point of view to the northern public and also
to earn a living we started our own newspaper. Alan suggested
the women of the north needed their own paper and I found myself
the proud publisher of 'Townsville
Later we went on to produce 14 films for international television
Alan and I and our team took the National Party support in Townsville
from seven to thirty per cent of the vote in two years.
Alan sought the Party's endorsement for the Senate and once he
was narrowly beaten in the election for the seat of Townsville
help Alan I became actively involved in the NP Women's Section
and was, elected as Zone Vice-President for North Queensland.
It was an interesting experience though I found the infighting
a soul-destroying experience."
and Dianne Cilento
1983 Mary and Alan moved to Brisbane to the more promising business
and political opportunities offering there. Alan was endorsed
as number four on the NP Senate ticket. The decision to move was
somewhat provoked by the Federal Labor Government's undermining
of the Metcalfes' business move into film production in the north.
son, Clayton, was attending Nudgee College nearby. Mary and Alan
sadly conceded that Australians, especially those in the north
did not understand the threat of socialism as Mary had grown up
to understand it, and that they did not have the time or financial
support to further attempt to change this perception.
we resigned our Party positions late that year we were flat broke
and decided to return to full-time business. We were offered the
worldwide rights to the ethanol technology
developed at Queensland University
by Dr Horst Doelle and, after extensive promotion, were instrumental
in forming Queensland Science and Technology Limited.
shares rose to over five dollars under Alan's management before
the crash in 1987, when we lost millions on our seven per cent
of the shares. By 1988, even though Alan had worked selflessly
for five years to get the Company established, we were again financially
Alan and Dr. Doelle
Woman of the Year Team
received the honour
of representing the Women of Queensland at the tenth anniversary
of the "Woman
of the Year"
luncheon in Canberra. Alan and her parents were very proud of
and Alan were invited to join the Australian Government Trade
Delegation to Hungary in 1985.
little girl who had escaped through the mud in 1956 was given
a warm welcome back, and her relatives were particularly impressed
that she was part of an official delegation. Mary and Alan could
see that the people in Hungary were ready for a change.
were sick of communism
and desperately wanted to be freed from its grip. Everywhere
the Metcalfes travelled the people were hungry for information
about how they did business in Australia.
1985 my Father died from a massive heart attack after he'd been
swimming on Sydney's Manly Beach. I was devastated.
were so many things that I should have discussed with him but
for which I had never found the time, and I sensed that there
were things he'd wanted to tell me. Time just ran out! We all
loved him so much and respected his great courage and simple
and Alan's work with presidential staff preparing the US
Clean Air Act
led to a meeting with President Bush in 1986 and an invitation
to his inaugeration in 1988.
work on selling the QSTL overseas opened the door to many similar
meetings, especially in the United States where the technology
was the most advanced available anywhere.
In 1988 Alan resigned from QSTL and a week later he received a
call from a friend in the US who invited him to advise on a $1
billion coal gasification project in Illinois.
was a refreshing change for them as they lived in a luxury apartment
in Chicago for eighteen months. As Mary says, "God has been kind
and Alan's life took another turn at that time when Alan began
writing his second book which expresses all that he tried to say
in politics. Mary does the research for his books, and they now
spend a major portion of their time in the USA.
son, Clayton has joined the family company. With the help of friends
around the world Alan and Mary have formed an international company
called Harp International Business Exchange to market commmunications
technology, especially between the United States, Australia, Europe
have lived a wonderful life, learned and seen so much. I hope
Alan's new book and the Harp Exchange will help many people and
bring about better relations between nations.
As usual I will be at Alan's side speaking out when I have to
and helping to make our contribution wherever we can. I will always
be grateful to my Dad and Mum for bringing me to Australia as
it has provided us with wonderful life and many opportunities.
the years I have never wanted any career but to support my family
and I never wanted the spotlight. This has proved good for me
as it has taken us all over the world and brought us into the
company of many wonderful people.
We have just gone where the spirit took us and never have we been
daunted by hard times or criticism. In all this I have discovered
that freedom is all about having your say and making your contribution.
It is not something that anyone else can give you.
and Clayton (1990)
Today Mary and Alan live in Brisbane, Australia where they are
developing Alpha Info Business Servers, which is a development
of the international communications network they began building
in 1990. Mary is the director responsible for Customer Relations
and Sales for HarpBBT and Alpha Info.