David Hill (businessman)

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David Hill
Born (1946-06-20) 20 June 1946 (age 72)
Eastbourne, East Sussex, England, United Kingdom
OccupationBusiness leader; author
Home townSydney, New South Wales
Political partyAustralian Labor Party
Spouse(s)Stergitsa Zamagias-Hill
ChildrenDamian Hill

David Hill (born 20 June 1946) is an English-born Australian business leader and author.

Background and early career[edit]

Born illegitimately in Eastbourne, East Sussex in 1946, into an impoverished family of four boys, Hill and his twin brother spent time in Barnardo's children's home in Barkingside in Essex.[1]

I can only remember it as traumatic. The idea of nurturing and care and affection and love just didn't enter the equation back in those days. I can remember Mum gave us some coloured writing paper so we could write to her. I remember the other kids stealing our paper, humiliating us, tearing it up and running away. It was only much later I realised a lot of this cruelty was that most of them didn't have anybody to write to.

— David Hill, interviewed in 2008.

Hill's early years of schooling were at Bourne Junior Primary School. He migrated to Australia together with his elder brother and twin brother, and departed from Tilbury Docks, London in April 1959 aboard the SS Strathaird. His mother arrived in Australia a few years later.[1][2] Prior to departing England, Hill and his brothers had enrolled to attend Fairbridge Farm School in Molong, near Orange in the Central West region of New South Wales. Hill has since written a book about the experiences of the pupils there.[2] The documentary The Long Journey Home was aired on ABC TV on 17 November 2009, detailing some of the history associated with Fairbridge Farm School and other orphanages of that time.

Prior to his rise to prominence in business circles, Hill was variously a hardware shop assistant, a sandwich cutter, a labourer on building sites, a refuse collector and gardener, he sold tennis coaching courses, worked as a barman, waiter, pub bouncer, delivery agent, tutor at the University of Sydney, was a journalist, worked in investment banking, as an accountant, and was in charge of the NSW Government Ministerial Advisory Unit.[1]


In 1982, at 36 years of age,[2] Hill was appointed as the chief executive of the New South Wales State Rail Authority, serving until 1987;[3] and he was appointed as a director of State Rail in 1997.[3] Hill served as chairman and managing director of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from 1987 to 1995,[4] head of Soccer Australia, chairman of Sydney Water,[3] director of the Australian National Airlines Commission and Chairman of CREATE, a national organisation responsible for representing the interests of young people and children in institutional care. A former North Sydney rugby league junior, Hill was president of the North Sydney Bears Rugby League Football Club between 1989 and 1992. He was instrumental in the eventual ban on cigarette sponsorship of the game.[5]

Hill is strongly in favour of the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece. As well as being a member of the British Marbles Reunited campaign, he is the founder and current chairman of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.

Hill was an unsuccessful political candidate representing Labor for the Division of Hughes at the 1998 federal election.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Hill married Stergitsa Zamagias in 1998;[2] and together they have a son, Damian.[7] They live in Sydney.

Selected published works[edit]

  • Hill, David (2007). The Forgotten Children: Fairbridge Farm School and Its Betrayal of Britain's Child Migrants to Australia. Australia: Random House. ISBN 1-74166-614-7.
  • Hill, David (2008). 1788: The Brutal Truth of the First Fleet. Australia: Random House. ISBN 1-74166-797-6.
  • Hill, David (2010). Gold - The fever that forever changed Australia. Australia: Random House. ISBN 1-74166-925-1.
  • Hill, David (2013). The Great Race: The Race Between the English and the French to Complete the Map of Australia. Australia: Random House. ISBN 9781742751108.
  • Hill, David (2014). The Making of Australia. Australia: William Heinemann. ISBN 9781742757667.
  • Hill, David (2015). First Fleet Surgeon : The Voyage of Arthur Bowes Smyth. Canberra, ACT: National Library of Australia. ISBN 9780642278623.
  • Hill, David (2015). Australia and The Monarchy. Australia: William Heinemann. ISBN 9780857987549.
  • Hill, David (2017). The Fair and the Foul : Inside Our Sporting Nation. North Sydney: Penguin Random House Australia. ISBN 9780857987570.


  1. ^ a b c Fernandes, Andrea (14 November 2008). "David Hill". Belongings: Post WWII migration memories and journeys. Migration Heritage Centre of New South Wales. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Hill, David (9 February 2009). "David Hill". Talking Heads (Interview transcript). Interviewed by Peter Thompson. ABC TV. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Francis, Geoff; Hicks, Peter (16 September 1998). "David Hill: from Giardia to Labor MP?". Green Left Weekly. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  4. ^ Fidler, Richard Director David Hill at ABC, 14 May 2007
  5. ^ http://www.abc.net.au/tv/talkingheads/txt/s2487200.htm
  6. ^ Carr, Adam (3 October 1998). "Hughes: New South Wales". Australian House of Representatives: Voting by constituency at the 1998 Australian Legislative election. Psephos. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
  7. ^ Marr, David (29 September 2008). "Yet another chapter, but still no adjectives good enough for Hill". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
Media offices
Preceded by
Ken Myer
Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Commission
Succeeded by
Bob Somervaille
Preceded by
Geoffrey Whitehead
Managing Director,
Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Succeeded by
Brian Johns