Gordon Barton

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Gordon Barton
Born (1929-08-30)30 August 1929
Died 4 April 2005(2005-04-04) (aged 75)

Gordon Page Barton (30 August 1929 – 4 April 2005) was a quixotic Australian businessman and political activist.

He was born in Surabaya, Java, Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) of a Dutch mother and Australian father. He showed his intelligence and originality early, at Sydney University, where he found by careful study of the handbook of course requirements he could select a particular group of subjects that would qualify him for three degrees simultaneously, in the time normally taken for one. The university awarded him the degrees but then changed the rules so that it couldn't happen again.

While still at university Barton started Interstate Parcel Express Company (IPEC), which was the core of his business. In 1966 he used some of his wealth to form the Liberal Reform Group, a splinter group of Liberals disenchanted with the Liberal Party's support for the Vietnam War; this became the Australian Reform Movement and then the Australia Party, the precursor of the Democrats.

In 1967 he formed the company Tjuringa Securities which was the pioneer Australian corporate raider. Tjuringa took over Federal Hotels (which built the Hobart Casino, the first legal casino in Australia) and the Angus and Robertson bookshops and publishing business which were asset stripped. He also set up two newspapers, the Sunday Observer and the Sunday Review. (The Sunday Observer owned by Barton in the 1960s was short-lived and had nothing to do with the Sunday Observer, UK.) The second was merged with the purchased "Nation" publication to form the Nation Review.

He was married to Yvonne Hand, who died in 1970. They had two children, Cindy and Geoffrey. Following the death of his first wife, from 1977 Barton, until their separation and estrangement, lived in a de facto relationship with Mary Ellen Ayrton, and her daughter Kate, raising their three children together as a family in Australia and Europe.

He died in Spain.[1]


  1. ^ Lawson, Valerie (11 April 2005). "A style all of his own". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 

SEE ALSO: Everingham, Sam. "Gordon Barton: Australia's Maverick Entrepreneur", 2009, Allen & Unwin, 456 Pages, English.