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Mattay, András Ivan (Andrew) (1941–2004)

by Attila Urmenyhazi

András (Andrew) Ivan Mattay was born in Budapest to a Hungarian father and British mother. The family arrived in Australia in 1950. Following his high school education at St. Virgil’s in Hobart he joined the Australian Army in 1960. He served with distinction in Borneo, Malaysia (1963-65) and Vietnam (1970-71).

He continued his postgraduate military war studies at the Royal Military College of Canada. In 1983 he was promoted to the rank of Colonel in the Australian Army and was the senior officer with the multinational force in the Middle-East in Sinai in 1985-86, returning to serve two years as operational colonel, Land Command Headquarters in Sydney. He was appointed Army Training Director and served in that capacity between 1988-90.

In 1990 Colonel Mattay took command of the Tasmania region as Army Commanding Officer, and in 1996 retired to Hobart with his wife Melegueta. His retirement years were devoted to military journalism and photography. Not losing his spirit, and keeping his sense of humour to the end, the popular hero passed away at age 63, of an incurable disease.

His funeral service was held with full military honours at St Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, on 3 July 2004. His qualities including specialist knowledge, were: courage, determination, resourcefulness and concern for others in all aspects of his life. Family, service personnel, friends and dignitaries, including the then Chief of Defence Forces, General Peter Cosgrove, attended the final farewell of the soldier’s soldier.

The Hungarian origin migrant child grew up to become a top achiever in life in the military and shone in intellect and left an indelible mark in service to Australia as a proud Australian. Hungarian-Australians, who knew of him, claimed with equal pride that he was one of them.

Original publication

  • unpublished, 2011

Additional Resources

Related Thematic Essay

Citation details

Attila Urmenyhazi, 'Mattay, András Ivan (Andrew) (1941–2004)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/mattay-andras-ivan-andrew-14128/text25138, accessed 19 September 2017.

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