Former Times of Malta correspondent Albert W Agius, who helped keep alive the close link between Malta and Australia for more than two decades before the onset of the internet and online media, has passed away.
Known to his friends as Bertie, Agius was a prolific writer with various publications that reflected his love of Malta and the Maltese language. He was 87 years old.
He started working with British telecommunications company Cable & Wireless before he emigrated to Australia in 1978 where he became a Times of Malta correspondent – a post he held for many years through his regular Australian newsletter and many other articles focused on the migrant community.
He also wrote occasionally for The Sunday Times of Malta. One memorable article was published on May 24, 1996 and recounted the 1944 statement of a Sliema resident who had found a mine floating at sea close to Fond Ghadir, which exploded and tragically killed four Sliema boys who were playing with it.
A Sliema resident after returning to Malta five years ago, Mr Agius was married to wife Phyllis for 60 years and had three sons, Robert, Michael and Bernard.
His son Robert described him as a man with a zest for life who never had a bad word for anyone. “I have so many good memories of him – he emigrated to Australia with a family of three children in his early 40s because he wanted us to have a good life”.
Agius’s love of journalism and writing resulted in the publication of several books about Malta and the Maltese. One of these was a two-part book series about the Maltese settlement that quoted extensively from official documents about the problems associated with establishing early Maltese colonies in Australia.
He also was very passionate about the Maltese language and, after many years of research published his labour of love, the first Maltese Tezawru in 2000.
Agius was also a keen sportsman, playing football with Sliema Wanderers, Melita and Birkirkara in his younger years. He was also the founder secretary of the Hockey Association of Malta – a role he remained active in for many years until moving to Australia. In Australia, he championed the cause of the Maltese migrants and was active within the Maltese community in Victoria and also worked with the ethnic radio station, SBS Radio.
Agius was made a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta in Australia for his contribution to the Maltese community.
The family will have a private burial and a mass will be held at a later date.
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