Famous Australian Businessmen

Famous Australian Businessmen

Australia boasts some of the best business people in the world with over 30 billionaires in 2017. We’ve had some colorful characters over the years and in true Ozzies Abroad style we like to concentrate on the interesting side of life. We look at the most famous Australian businessmen and some of the highlights from their lives. It’s all about having a good story about Australia to share with your friends overseas.

Dick SmithFamous Australian Businessmen

The founder of Dick Smith Electronics, Dick Smith Foods and Australian Geographic. Smith is a famous Australian businessman and much loved Australian entrepreneur,  philanthropist, well accomplished aviator and a world record holder. He’s not a billionaire but he is self-made and an Aussie legend.

Smith started off with humble beginnings in Sydney Australia, where his speech impediment forced him to refer to himself as “Dick Miff’. Throughout his teenage years he was below average academically because after failing to complete an apprenticeship he scored 7% in his final High School exams. In his early 20s, he worked as a taxi radio repair technician. He saved a small sum of money and invested in a small radio repair business in Sydney and later expanded into Dick Smith Electronics. He sold the business in 1982 to Woolworth’s for $25,000,000 in 1982 and the business continued to trade under his name. I remember him bouncing up and down on a Pogo stick on commercials for Dick Smith Electronics.

Famous Australian Businessmen

He founded Australian National Geographic PTY LTD in 1986 and Dick Smith Foods in 1999. The later was an attempt to steal business away from non Australian owned companies selling our iconic brands. He had his own version of these products in style and name, for example RedHead Matches was copied and called DickHead Matches. All profits from Dick Smith Foods have been donated to charity.

Some of his achievements include:

  • First solo helicopter flight around the world – 1983
  • First helicopter flight to the North Pole – 1989
  • First person to fly around the world via the poles – 1989
  • First east-to-west flight around the world by helicopter – 1992
  • First non-stop balloon crossing of the Australian continent – 1993
  • First Trans-Tasman Balloon flight – 2000

He’s made donations that total in excess of AUD$20 million and he is openly critical of tax evasion of the wealthy & their failure to be active in philanthropy. We love Dick!

Famous Australian BusinessmenKerry Packer 1937-2005

Kerry Packer was an Australian Media Tycoon who owned a controlling interest in Channel Nine Television Network and a vast publishing empire. He is one of the most famous Australian businessmen because he started World Series Cricket. He was one of the worlds most wealthy and influential men at the time of his death and his net worth was approximately $6.5 Billion.

Packer graced headlines for the following:

  • In 1987, he sold the Nine Network to business tycoon Alan Bond for $1.05 Billion and bought it back 3 years later for $250 million when Bond’s Empire was collapsing.
  • When questioned in court during the Australian government’s inquiry into the print media industry and his tax minimization schemes he famously said,

“Of course I am minimizing my tax and if anybody in this country doesn’t minimize their tax, they want their heads read because as a government, I can tell you’re not spending it that well that we should be donating extra”.

  • Packer was famously quoted from a 1976 meeting with the Australian Cricket Board with whom he met to negotiate the rights to televise cricket. According to witnesses, he said:

“There is a little bit of the whore in all of us, gentlemen. What is your price”?

  • At the age of 23 he forced his way into the office of a small publisher Anglican Press. He started vandalizing the office with some of his burly friends trying to force the owner to sell the publisher to his father. The owner called Packers rival Rupert Murdoch and Murdoch quickly dispatched his own team of ‘heavies’, who threw Kerry and friends out.
  • At the Stratosphere Casino a Texas oil magnate was boasting to Kerry Packer that he is worth $60,000,000 and Packer famously said “I’ll flip you for It”.
  • In the late 1990s he lost over 15,000,000 GBP playing roulette at a London casino.

Kerry packer was not known for his philanthropy but his family did endow a gallery at the University of South Australia. So generous of them! Sarcasm Alert!!!

Mike Cannon-Brookes & Scott FarquharFamous Australian Businessmen

Both born in the year 1979, Brookes and Farquher both became billionaires by co-founding the software company Atlassian. The interesting fact is they started the company because they didn’t want to work for a large corporation, at that time the starting salaries were about AUD48,000 and they were happy to have this income. Setting out with the aim of making AUD48,000 each they become worth over 3 Billion dollars and rank as Australia’s 15th richest men.

On the topic of money, learn about the cheapest way to transfer money to and from Australia.

There You Have It

So get out there and share some stories about famous Australian businessmen and remember it’s all about bragging rights. If you would like to get vocal then comment below. Thanks for reading.

See Ya later!




4 Replies to “Famous Australian Businessmen”

  1. Hi Dave, your post is interesting. I always love reading about the success stories of business people. Honestly I was surprise to read that in 2017 there are over 30 billionaires in Australia especially when you consider the population. Anyhow, I’m happy to have found this site since my spouse is from Tasmania and we’re living here in the sunny state of Florida. She’s always talking about home so I’m saving your site to my favorites so she can check it out. Jim M

    1. Thanks Jim. If you know any other Aussies overseas tell them to give me a shout. I can give them or their business a free plug on my website. We are always interested in meeting the Aussies out there in the big bad world.

  2. Interesting examples about Aussie entrepreneurship. On each of those examples the motivation seems different, and I do not believe the end justifies all means. I am very much impressed with the bio from Dick Smith, he is successful, gives back to the community and also achieved amazing personal milestones. Thanks for sharing. Cheers.

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