History of the Malek Award

Joseph Jan Malek 1929-1984

Joseph Jan Malek was born March 12, 1929, in the small Czech village of Plavec near the Austrian border. It was there that he spent his youth and gained his first hunting experiences in the woods around the village. The outbreak of the Second World War brought tragedy to Czechoslovakia, first with German occupation, and then the Soviet ‘liberation’.

Having had a formal education, and able to speak five languages, Joe Malek was recruited by the Soviets to study political science at Moscow University, along with thirty other eastern-bloc students. Rapidly disillusioned with Soviet political beliefs and living standards, Joe masterminded a plan to defect to the west. Along with a group of thirty students, their attempted night crossing into Austria met with disaster. Betrayed from within, 27 of the students were gunned down by Soviet border guards. Joe was badly wounded, as were the remaining two students, but managed to cross the border to safety.

Through a chance meeting with the Australian ambassador in Salzburg, Joe Malek successfully emigrated to Australia, where he obtained a job as a waiter, and then later a maitre de and manager. In 1961, he opened his own restaurant, The Coachman, and in a short period of time, he added five more restaurants to his holdings, becoming one of Sydney’s foremost restaurateurs.


Diane Malek, in the tradition of her late husband, Joseph J. Malek, continues to hunt big game around the world.

Joe continued his first love, hunting, throughout his life and often took his wife, Diane, and their two children, Adam and Danielle, on safari in various parts of the world, including South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mongolia, the Himalayas, Alaska, Canada, New Caledonia, New Guinea and his beloved Australia, In the early eighties, Joe founded the South Pacific chapter of Safari Club International (SCI), and in 1984 he established the Malek Award as a means to bring about international attention to the bountiful hunting available in the South Pacific.

After his untimely death later in 1984, Joe was survived by his wife, Diane, and their two children who together as a family, are continuing to perpetuate the Malek Award in memory of their late husband and father.

“The hunting fraternity thanks you and misses you Joe”

Diane Malek

Diane Malek, in the tradition of her late husband,
Joseph J. Malek, continues to hunt big game around the world.