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Ago Kuru Obituary


Ago Kuru

Ago Kuru was born in Petseri on the  2nd of July 1932 to mother Salme and father Osvald.

His family escaped the Soviet occupation of Estonia in 1944, and via Germany migrated to Australia in 1948.

On arriving in Australia the family was given a two year contract to work on a farm at Quirindi.  Ago turned 16 at the Bathurst Migrant Camp and also received the contract. At the age of 16 he became a Jackaroo, his father a Station Hand and mother a Cook. He studied by correspondence and completed his high school externally after returning to Sydney. In 1955 he graduated as a Civil Engineer with 2nd class honours.

Ago married Viivi Teesalu in 1957 and moved into the modest concrete house his family built in Granville.

In 1958 the family moved to Cooma where Ago was employed by the Snowy Mountains Authority. As a young engineer he helped to build dams, tunnels and power stations for the Snowy Mountains Scheme.  He also spent a year in Denver, Colorado in the United States for further studies for the Snowy Mountains Authority.  His sons Ain and Toivo were born in 1958 and 1965 respectively.

Ago Kuru

Once the Snowy Scheme was largely built, he decided to move into construction and became the Project Manager for the Liddell Power Station, which at the time was the largest power station in Australia. The family then moved to the Pilbara in north west Australia where Ago worked on construction of massive rail infrastructure at Dampier needed to move iron ore to the coast. When this was complete it was off to Mount Isa to build the No.4 Concentrator; Kangaroo Valley for the Shoalhaven Hydro Scheme; the Steelworks at Westernport Bay; Gold Mining extraction in Mount Morgan; and finally he became a senior executive with mining company Peko Wallsend.

Ago finally retired in 1991 where he found new challenges to keep him occupied. He bought a taxi as he loved to drive and meet people.

For relaxation Ago loved playing chess and he was a very good at it.  Playing chess was perhaps the only time he was sitting still.  

More importantly he also took on a number of roles to support the Estonian Community.  He became a member of the Sydney Estonian Society’s Committee, Chairman of the 15th Estonian Festival and Vice Chairman of the 18th Estonian Festival.  He was a member of the Estonian Relief Committee for 16 years and 8 years as Chairman. He was also a member of the Estonian House Co-operative for 11 years and 2 years as Chairman. He was a member of the Estonian Men’s Choir for 21 years and president for 15 years. Ago was a Returned and Services League of Australia’s Sub-Branch member and Vice-President and several times member of The Estonian Societies in Australia.

He was also an active member of Korporatsioon UGALA, a fraternal organisation at Estonia.

In 2007 Ago was awarded the Order of the White Star by the Estonian President.  The White Stars bestowed on Estonian Citizens to give recognition for services to the Estonian State.

Retirement also gave him an opportunity to reconnect with relatives and friends in Estonia.  He supported many people over there, helping them gain careers and start businesses.  He always made sure it was a useful endeavour that would lead to a sustainable improvement to their lives.

In his later years Ago had to deal with several health issues.  He constantly surprised doctors with his ability to recover but finally succumbed on the 30th October 2021.  He leaves behind his wife Viivi, sons Ain and Toivo and grandchildren Tomas, Liisa, Vivien, Veronica, Vanessa and Virginia.

By Kristi Barrow

Loves all things Estonian. Especially Crafters Elderflower gin. Aussie born.