Lucy Kiraly

Attended Elwood High 1965-1967

“My mum, brother and I arrived in Australia in 1965. I was taken to Elwood High and enrolled mid-year into Intermediate (Year 10). My knowledge of English was non-existent and I sat in the back of the class totally lost as I could not follow the teacher. My Geography teacher Mr Fugedi kindly purchased an English-Hungarian dictionary for me and this assisted me in translating most of the written work, which was how I managed to slowly learn English.

I still have my Matric (Year 12) study notes from those times. I would take notes in a blue pen, translate those notes into Hungarian using a red pen and then with a green pen would note the pronunciation of the word. I found English hard to pronounce and hard to spell, but learned quickly enough, parrot style. This was well before highlighters or Google translate and yet, despite a lack of remedial assistance, I managed to complete Matric, today’s equivalent of the VCE and gain entry into university.

I have fond memories of my school days at Elwood High. I remember the wonderful Mr Pittock, our History teacher, and the sensational Mr Gregory, my Economics teacher who inspired me to study Economics at Monash University, majoring in Economics and Politics in 1970.

Elwood High had a very diverse student population from many different backgrounds and was so welcoming that assimilation was seamless. Students were predominantly from Eastern Europe, which meant that on Jewish holidays the school was virtually empty and many of my Australian friends would skip school on those days.

I never felt like an outsider, despite my lack of poor English, and soon felt like I belonged. The majority of students were from migrant families and the emphasis was on education. Most of us students were diligent and willing to learn, as our hard-working parents expected that we would complete tertiary education. Subsequently many of my peers progressed into the professions and academia and are honoured and outstanding citizens today.”

Lucy was born into an ethnic Hungarian Jewish family in Transylvania in 1949. Her gynaecologist father Eugene Kiraly was a lecturer at the Sorbonne and travelled Europe and the Middle East doing cancer research. When she was seven, the family emigrated to Israel and it was after her father’s death there that she emigrated to Australia in 1965 with her mother and brother.

Lucy had started work as a part-time model in her final year of school and she continued with this during her university years with the Georgia Gold modelling agency. In 1969, she was voted by well-known photographers of the time such as Athol Smith and Helmut Newton as Australia’s top model. In 1970 she represented Australia at Expo in Osaka, Japan.

She worked with David Johnston, the presenter of the first Tattslotto draw conducted by Melbourne television station HSV7 in 1972.

Today, Lucy owns Giant Management, a top boutique modelling agency which supports and develops new models who go on to star on the international modelling scene. Lucy is also an established stylist with many years of national experience. She has owned a fashion production company and produces fashion shows. She regularly writes fashion direction press releases and is often invited to lecture on current trends and run corporate style sessions.