Gordon Barton Australia’s Maverick Entrepreneur

Gordon Barton at the peak of his business career

Shore-educated and uncommonly intelligent, Gordon Barton was one of the most extraordinary business people Australia has produced. A prominent and provocative commentator with an entirely new vision for Australia, he founded the Australia Party, bankrolled radical newspapers including Nation Review, and built a vast commercial empire with interests in transport, insurance, hotels, casinos, and book publishing. A man of contradictions, he thumbed his nose at the establishment, created, with Peter Abeles, a hugely profitable cartel in one industry, while taking on the Menzies government to destroy another.

Described as the Great Gatsby of his time, Barton captivated women, was abhorred by Prime Minister Menzies & Holt, but regularly advised both Whitlam and Thatcher. At the height of his business success, he generated countless headlines, but died a recluse in Italy having lost the European and Australian transport empires he worked so hard to create.

Barton loved to dress up - here he tries on a suit of Spanish armour

To know Gordon Barton is to understand a unique period in Australia’s social and political history. Combining deep research with rich personal insight, Sam Everingham brings to life through images and anecdotes one of Australia’s most dynamic and eccentric characters.

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