House debates

Monday, 15 June 2020

Statements by Members

Chromy, Mr Josef

4:04 pm

Photo of Bridget ArcherBridget Archer (Bass, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

There wouldn't be many in Northern Tasmania or across my state who wouldn't know the name Josef Chromy. Joseph has been instrumental in the development of the Tasmanian food and wine industry having owned and developed some of Tasmania's leading hospitality businesses. At the age of 76, when most would already be retired, he founded the award winning Josef Chromy Wines. Joe came to Tasmania as a young man of 20 with nothing except an inspiring story of bravery—yesterday marked 70 years since escaping what was then Czechoslovakia. Joe had witnessed his homeland occupied by Nazis, before its fall to communism in 1948. With two friends and a dream of a better life, Joe began a six-hour journey through farmland and bush to cross the Czech border into Russian occupied Austria. Joe recounts: 'I was escaping with two other friends. One was shot in the foot and captured, and the other one I never heard from again.' Finding his way into an American occupied zone, Joe was classed as a political refugee and chose to relocate to Australia, where he eventually made his way to Tasmania. At 5 am yesterday, Joe got up and poured himself 'a big glass'—his words—of Lark whisky to celebrate the exact moment he crossed into Linz and gained his freedom. Congratulations Joe. How lucky we Tasmanians are that you chose our state to build your life and dreams.