Walter Lindrum and I: A Unique Trip Down Memory Lane – by Robby Foldvari

Walter Lindrum and I: so similar, yet so different. Destiny or Delusion, a remarkable story. In bold below are the connections with the Lindrum Legends, Tammy, Dolly, and Walter Lindrum.

“The world of cue sports remains largely misunderstood. Many people still associate them with the seedy world of “pool sharks” and hustlers. This is in part a hangover from the smoky pool halls that were known hangouts for mobsters in the early 20th century, and also because the only contact most people have with a pool table is in a pub.

Foldvari’s legacy in the game paints a very different picture. His determination won the respect of his peers; his versatility across multiple disciplines sets him apart from the competition; and his success puts him in the company of his idol, the legendary Walter Lindrum.

Foldvari describes his journey as unique, and it’s hard to argue with that. While it may not have been all fun and games, his career in cue sports certainly afforded him some experiences he wouldn’t have had as an accountant for BHP. “ - Morawetz

A mystery: destiny or delusion, or just remarkable coincidences

Lindrum and Foldvari are the only two players from Australia who have won the World Professional Billiards Championship. They are linked forever with this accolade; however, their lives and careers are remarkably different. Putting the two together gives you a story for the ages: yin and yang, night and day. One could say that Foldvari’s career completed the puzzle of a cue sports journey, with Lindrum leading the way as an icon of Australian sport.

Walter was known by every Australian in his heyday, and beyond until the 1980’s. At that stage, Robby began his brush with fame, but nowhere near Lindrum’s. In saying that, Foldvari played in front of millions on TV; had newspaper articles on the back and front page in India; and back page articles in Australia, UK, USSR and more.

Robby and Walter had inverse cue actions, and inverse lives in so many ways. If one puts them together, you could say there is an opaque mirror image. Both players gripped the cue the same unusual way, with their wrist jutting out away from their chests. Lindrum was left-handed, Foldvari right-handed, but their love of using a billiard cue was incredibly similar, with the eerie fact that the missing parts of Lindrum’s relatively short career were completed by Foldvari’s long and varied career.

Lindrum was a carefree character who did not care much for finances, while Foldvari had a short stint as a professional accountant before turning pro in cue sports. Lindrum never played as an amateur, while Robby had a formidable amateur career before turning professional. Lindrum stuck to his passion of billiards in tournament play, while Foldvari branched out to all cue sports. Lindrum was unique in his successes in billiards with his great talent and background, while Foldvari was unique in the number of national titles he won in different disciplines using his tenacity and mental strength, and so the list of coincidences and opposites go on.

More amazingly, listed below are some of the highlights of Foldvari’s career with more fluky facts that further link his remarkable stories with those of Walter Lindrum.

Walter quickly became world champion at the age of 35, first playing in the UK in 1929 and winning the world title three years later in 1932. Robby first arrived in the UK in late 1983, and won the world title in 1986 at the age of 25, so both Lindrum and Foldvari won the world championship 3 years after their first visit to the UK shores. In 1986, while winning the world championship, Robby had in his waistcoat pocket a piece of the cloth from the material of Walter’s waistcoat after a chance meeting of Lindrum’s retired tailor in the mid 1970’s.

Lindrum’s short competitive career made sense, as he eventually had nothing left to prove, whereas Robby had an insatiable desire to keep playing and spreading his wings to every cuesport. Looking back, it is obvious that Robby tried too hard and played too much, suffering a chronic wrist injury and playing not prepared and tired on many occasions. But if he stopped, he would have to stop forever on world tours as he would lose his professional ranking in billiards and snooker. After many years on professional world tours of snooker and billiards, he still could not stop, as his curiosity and love for other disciplines continued. New adventures in pool and beyond continued to quench Foldvari’s appetite for learning new different games, playing on different billiard cloths, and adapting to different balls and cue technologies. A new set of opponents and pool stars in countries as far afield as Colombia awaited Robby. Walter would never have imagined these format of games would be played, let alone invented such as Chinese 8 Ball.

Foldvari now looks back and wonders if it was fate for his filling in the gaps of Wally’s illustrious career. What can be said that the two players have had uniquely incredible careers. Here are some surprising facts:


Robby was born (the year Walter Lindrum died).


Robby had a vivid recurring dream of billiards being broadcast on Australian Radio back from the UK.


A chance meeting with Walter Lindrum’s tailor, Gy Antal. While Robby was trying out a waistcoat at a family friends’ tailor shop to play in his first junior tournament. An elderly Gy Antal was also in the shop. asked Robby, “you are a bit young to wear a waistcoat”.

"After a brief discussion, it came to light that the tailor had previously made waistcoats for Walter Lindrum. The tailor had since retired, but Foldvari persisted, knowing this had to be the man to make his first waistcoat, and eventually he agreed. Lindrum had since passed away, but the cloth of Lindrum’s waistcoats remained with the tailor. Foldvari managed to cut out a piece of the waistcoat made by Lindrum’s tailor and kept it with him. A part of his hero would be in his pocket when he won the World Billiards Championship many years later.” - Morawitz
Later around 2010, Robby Foldvari gifted the waistcoat to Neil Robertson, World Snooker Champion.


Met Walter’s contemporary and friend Murt O’Donoghue who became Robby’s coach. Murt was the first man in the world to achieve the maximum snooker break of 147.

Murt O’Donoghue's Letter to Robby Foldvari

1/65 Hoteo Ave Liverpool Auckland NZ
Dear Robbie

A few lines to say I received Tom Terrys Billiards Quarterly Review (from UK) & read your article on floating white (billiards Top of Table method) and your session at my home in Liverpool & it gave me a good laugh & fond memories. Congratulations for winning the Open Billiard English Billiards in India beating Agarwal, Russell & Co. You should be proud of your achievements. Australian Professional, World 1986 Runner Up 1991, great effort in Moscow and now the latest one. I am very proud of you and I won't hit you anymore. By the way send my best wishes to your Mum and Dad.

Have just got over a very bad case of the flu, or I would have replied to your card before. The Taj Mahal, what a building I had a day there & was very impressed with it. I have your other cards, the Fort at Dehli, Moscow and Clacton and thanks coach kept separate and show them to my billiard friends.

I have had a wonderful life. Have been to 59 countries around the world, but it is drawing to a close. I am getting feeble & giddy as one can expect as I will be 92 on 20th August. Thanks to the support by my wife Grace who is just the “best”.

Is John Barrie still on deck. Say hello to Jack Karnehm for me and all the billiard players. The next time you write, make it a letter giving me more of your personal life.

Wishing you everything you wish yourself
As Always
Murt O’Donoghue

Hi Robbie,

Just a note to add to Murts and to say many thanks for all the postcards and keeping in touch with us, you are really something. Regards X Grace

  • Italics explanatory
  • Robby also kept this letter in his waistcoat for mental strength


Met Peter Andrew who later became Robby Foldvari’s sponsor to go to his first professional tour of the UK. Peter took Foldvari to Dolly Lindrum's house to let him try out Walter’s cue on Walter’s billiard table. Being present in Dolly's house further inspired Robby towards greater achievements in his career.


Trapped in a lift at Lindrum Billiard Hall, Flinders St. Dolly Lindrum helped to get him out.


Peter Andrew brought Tom Cleary (World Amateur Champion and exhibition partner of Walter Lindrum) to the leaking garage where Robby practiced, at the Foldvari family home.


Won his first ranking tournament, the City of Melbourne Snooker Championship.


Australian University Billiards and Snooker Champion


Victorian Amateur Billiards Champion, youngest ever


Australian Amateur Billiards Champion, youngest ever


Victorian Amateur Snooker Champion, youngest ever


First Victorian to make snooker century in Victorian pennant at Yarraville


World Record Amateur Billiard Break of 615 made at Brunswick Club in Australia. Recognised as there were new rules made at that time.


Robby met Sir Hubert Opperman, introduced by Robby’s sponsor to get advice from Oppy about Robby’s first overseas trip to sunny Malta, to play in the World Amateur Billiard championship because Oppy was a previous Ambassador to Malta. Reading the Lindrum story carefully in 2024, Robby is staggered to find that Oppy was the instigator of the unique headstone and marble tomb of Walter Lindrum.


Accepted and turned Professional in WPBSA


Won the Australian Professional Billiards Championship. Walter Lindrum never played in it as he let his brother Fred have the title, later Horace Lindrum also won the title.


Made his first public 147 maximum snooker break in Northamptonshire, England


Robby won the World Professional Billiards Championship. Apart from Walter Lindrum, Foldvari became the only other Australian to win the championship. Foldvari managed to cut out a piece of his old waistcoat which was made from the same cloth as Walters waistcoat, Both Foldvari’s initial waistcoat and Lindrum’s waistcoats were made by the same tailor. Foldvari kept the piece of cloth with him, so a part of his hero would be in his pocket when he won the World Billiards Championship many years later.


Finalist to Pat Cash in the Herald Caltex Sports Award


Clacton Professional Snooker Champion. Became the only player in the modern-day game (1980’s onward) to win both a professional billiards and snooker tournament.


USSR Snooker Champion

‘It was 1990 and I was invited to play snooker in Russia. It was an incredible experience, and I beat Ian Williamson in the final in front of 3,000 people at a basketball arena, which some say was the largest ever crowd for a snooker match at the time,’ - Foldvari.


TV Commentator at Mita World Snooker Masters, and Dubai Classic Snooker

1992, 1993

UK Professional Billiards Champion (England). First overseas player to win the Championship since its inception in 1930’s. Many say they made up this championship so that English players could win a tournament as Walter Lindrum was not allowed to enter.


National Coach of Singapore, first ever Cuesport Gold Medal for Singapore in South East Asian Games held in Thailand


World Cup of Snooker, Australian team captain, Quarter Finalists, Thailand


World Matchplay Billiards Champion, England


Official Coach in China


World IBSF Billiards Champion Walter Lindrum Centenary Tournament 100 years after birth of Walter


Australian Snooker Champion


World Snooker Team Cup, Australian Captain, USA


Robby was engaged to perform an exhibition of games and trick shots at the house of a client called Harald for his 50th Birthday. Robby started talking to an elderly man in the corner who turned out to be Walter Lindrum’s junior accountant Robert Charlton, who confirmed Wally’s lackadaisical manner with finance.

Robby’s parents came to Australia in 1959 and Robby was born in Melbourne, Australia in 1960. They knew nothing of English Billiards but thought who better to call their first-born child after than the Prime Minister of the day Sir Robert Menzies. Menzies was a good friend of Walter’s and a frequent visitor to the Lindrum family home.


Australian Masters Snooker Champion


In the Australian Snooker Championship Robby forfeited his match while leading in the quarterfinals played at RACV Club in Melbourne, as he was notified that his Mother Katalin had passed away in care. Robby visited his mum in between matches that weekend. In a further dot point of fate, Walters wife Rosie passed away while he was playing on the 23rd August 1929 in Melbourne. The first letter of condolence received at the club by Robby was from Dolly Lindrum!

From 2010

From 2010 onwards, Robby turned more to Pool disciplines for new adventures and challenges to quench his insatiable quest for knowledge and competition in the world of cuesports, hence completing the circle of Lindrum’s journey in billiard sports.


Goldfields World Ranking Snooker Championship - Robby was the expert commentator for the World Snooker Global Event. Note: Walter was inducted in the Goldfields Hall of Fame in 2005.


Robby met his childhood hero Ian Chappell (Australian Cricket Captain), Robby would catch up with Chappelli and coach him, and they became friends over the years that followed. There is an iconic photo of Lindrum and Sir Donald Bradman and they also became friends. Just like so many of the Lindrum/Foldvari stories the opposites continue. Even though Chappell and Bradman were both Cricket legends, they were opposites in terms of ideas and reforms for the game of cricket.


Australian Open 9 Ball Champion


Australian National 9 Ball Champion


World Games last 16 — Cali, Colombia


Australian Open 10 Ball Champion


World Pool Teams Captain Quarter finals


Australian Open 8 Ball Champion. Robby completed the Royal Flush of National titles in every cuesport: snooker, billiards, 8 Ball, 9 ball and 10 Ball Pool.


Played in the inaugural World Chinese 8 Ball Championship in Yushan, China

Trinity of world champions in three different disciplines: Robby Foldvari (billiards), Jeanette "Black Widow" Lee (pool), and Neil Robertson (snooker)


Australian Open 10 Ball Champion


Australian Doubles 9 Ball Champion


World Cup of Pool UK, last 16


Robby qualified for the China Open 9 Ball Championship by being ranked No 1 in Oceania.

1957 Walter Lindrum toured in Asia, where 7500 school children were present at one exhibition. Walter was sponsored by the Australian Government to promote Asian students coming to Australia. Robby has been inducted into Monash University’s Sports Hall of Fame, and was sponsored by Monash to travel to tournaments in Asia and help promote the university to Asian students.


Australian Open 8 Ball Champion


Dolly Lindrum passed away and her wish was that Robby speak at her funeral.


Robby participated in his 50th World Championship at the World Snooker Federation Championship where he made the highest snooker break by an Australian.


Robby was surprised to be presented with a portrait photo by management for his long association with the club, at the 100th anniversary of The RACV Annual Billiards Tournament. The photo was mounted on the wall of the billiard room at one end of the magnificent room. Coincidently at the other end of the room hangs a picture of Walter Lindrum. Additionally, Dolly Lindrum was a 50 year plus member of the club.


Discussing the history of the game with Tammy Lindrum, Robby mentioned that it is very difficult to compare eras of great players, for example Robby said “the pockets of today are bigger than the old billiard tables in the 1980’s and before. Tammy perked up and said “my dad said the same thing many years ago”.


Confiding with Tammy all the above, Tammy says we should put something more on the Lindrum website about Robby Foldvari.


Robby just watched Walter’s Snooker break in an old film posted on FB, coincidentally it was the same model table as Foldvari’s, an NJ Alcock Billiard Table which Foldvari bought when he was 15 years old. Robby’s father, Jeno, had to reconfigure and weld the structural frame of the garage to enable the full size billiard table to fit in. Under the tin roof and leaky bricks, Robby would practice for hours at a time, in extreme heat in the summer, and a wet carpet in winter.


Throughout his career, Robby continues to perform exhibitions and public speaking in varied settings, using his communication skills and entertaining manner when hosting functions. These skills have been developed by being involved with all demographics within his journey, including working as a young accountant for BHP, teaching, countless international media appearances, and worldwide television commentary, while competing and performing in dozens of countries worldwide.

Meet the Lindrum Legends