Page 2513 - Week 07 - Thursday, 3 August 2017

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children but also an opportunity for all Australians to learn about the crucial role that community, culture and family play in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child.

Mr Les Murray

MR DOSZPOT (Kurrajong) (4.24): I rise tonight to speak about the passing of yet another old friend, Les Murray. Les passed away last Monday, 31 July 2017, after a lengthy illness—an illness that Les chose to keep as a private battle. I last spoke to him a few months ago when he rang me to enquire about my health. He was still heavily involved, advocating for an additional national league club for the Illawarra area, his passion for football still present to the very end.

Les was born Laszlo Urge in Budapest in 1945 and came to Australia in 1957 as a refugee with his parents and two brothers, Bandy and Jozsy. After settling in to school as an 11 year old, Les was shocked to discover that his football was not the national sport of Australia, and began his life journey to change that. He wanted Australians to recognise and convert to “the beautiful game” and, with Johnny Warren, he made an incredible impact on recognition and acceptance of the world game here in Australia.

My friendship with Les began when I was around 16 and Les a whole two years older. We played soccer every Sunday morning at Sydney’s Centennial Park, with an eclectic bunch of young and old Hungarian refugees who, apart from our ethnic backgrounds, were drawn together through passion for our football, which we had to call soccer in our new homeland.

In the following years we went in different directions. Les joined a pop group as lead singer and became heavily involved, with his family, in a new soccer club, St George-Budapest. I lived in Leichhardt and started playing for APIA. We reconnected when I also joined St George-Budapest. Les was already there, playing reserve grade, while Johnny Warren was captaining St George-Budapest first grade and I was merely in third grade. Johnny and Les became great mates, while I moved to Canberra and, along with football legend Charlie Perkins, helped to set up our first entry into the 1977 Phillips Soccer League.

There has already been a lot said about Les and his impact on and contribution to Australian football. What is not well known is that Les has quite a history with our fair city, Canberra. Through our St George-Budapest connection, I was instrumental in getting Johnny Warren to become Canberra City’s first coach. Then, a year later, after Les had a short stint as a soccer commentator at Channel 10 in Sydney, his program was cancelled and I was able get Les to come to Canberra to be a soccer commentator calling the Canberra City matches fortnightly for Tony Campbell’s Wide World of Sport on Capital 7.

He called many matches of the National Soccer League and, incidentally, a new team, Canberra City, was coached by our mutual friend Johnny Warren. That was at the then Bruce Stadium from 1978 to 1980. Les was the commentator and I was his co-commentator. We spent many an afternoon up high in the commentary box at the

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