Frantisek (Frank) Mlejnek, left his village of Lestkov in 1949, at the age of 25. After experiencing life through WWII and then the experience of post war Czechoslovakia under communist rule coupled with the lack of opportunity, Frank decided to flee and follow his dreams. He travelled to the Austrian border and left the country. Frank made his way to Germany (West) and declared himself as a refugee. He travelled by boat (The Goya) from Germany to Australia.
Frank started his life in Australia in far north Queensland (Herberton) working on the roads. He moved to Brisbane where he met a lot of fellow Czechs and played local football (White stars) soccer. He married an English woman and whilst on honeymoon in Sydney, he ran into some Czechs who were working on the Snowy Hydro Scheme. In 1955 Frank came down to Jindabyne (Island Bend / Guthega) and started working with the hydrographic team on the aqua duct line with other fellow Czechs. As the snowy expanded their operations Frank moved through the mountain camps to a small satellite town called Geehi. Here Frank invited his wife Brenda and son Mark to come and live whilst he was working at Geehi dam , on the Murray side of the scheme . Frank studied engineering before WWII and began studying again in hydrology. Frank would also travel through the camps (Verandas camp) and show movies to the workers. It was during these travels that Frank said he met lot of characters, there were some great working in those days.
The snowy was moving down from Geehi to Khancoban and this was where Frank, and his family settled. Frank became a well-respected citizen of the community and worked on many projects for the Snowy and for his hard work and dedication he became the senior hydro- graphic supervisor for the Murray region.
Franks community work in Khancoban and his involvement with the local golf club from its infancy was highly respected and he was the treasurer of the Khancoban Country Club for over 30 years. In 1988 Frank was awarded with life membership of the club.
Frank who has passed away now, was a Czech man who loved his country and family and was fortunate to go back to Lestkov, Turnov and surrounding area, on several occasions each visit impacting on him quite significantly. He had not forgotten his heritage; he was a proud Czech man. He also loved Australia and he loved the community.
Text by Danie Mlejnek