Dick Dusseldorp

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Gerardus Jozef Dusseldorp AO (2 December 1918 – 22 April 2000) was a Dutch engineer and the founder of Civil and Civic, the financing arm of which later emerged as Lend Lease Corporation, one of Australia's largest companies.


Born in Utrecht in the Netherlands in December 1918,[1] Gerardus Dusseldorp was known as Dik as a child, the anglicised version of which stuck with him for the rest of his life.[2] During World War II, as a Dutchman of working age, he was deported to Berlin, to work as forced labour.[3] Returning to the Netherlands, he secured work with a Danish firm building a railway from Copenhagen to Hamburg.[3] In late 1943 he was transported to Kraków, again as forced labour but this time for the Siemens Organisation.[3] In Summer 1944 he escaped and returned again to the Netherlands.[3]

In 1945 he and his brother Hank secured jobs at Bredero's Bouwbedrijf, a Dutch housebuilder established in the 1870s.[4] By 1947 he had been promoted to Construction Manager.[4] In March 1951 Bredero's sent him to Australia to seek out business opportunities: there he established Civil and Civic, the success of which was based on the principle that the designer should be employed by the contractor rather than the other way round.[5] In 1957 he secured the contract to build the podium for the Sydney Opera House and, having established his reputation, built the business into an international concern.[6] He went on to establish a financing arm for Civil and Civic; this emerged as Lend Lease Corporation of which he was Chairman for many years.[7]

He eventually retired from the business in 1988 and in retirement became a significant philanthropist.[8] He was the founder of the Dusseldorp Skills Forum, an organisation that develops and advances the innovative practices of those who engage young Australians in acquiring skills.[9] He died in April 2000.[10]


On Australia Day 1988 he was appointed an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia.[11]


He was married to Anne and together they went on to have several children.[3] The Australian actress Marta Dusseldorp is his granddaughter.[12]


Dusseldorp was the founder of two Sydney suburbs, one of them being the prestigious Middle Cove where the Dusseldorp family lived from 1959 until 2004. The house which Dusseldorp built in Middle Cove is one of the top five house designs in Australia: it is based on Frank Lloyd Wright's inspirational honeycomb house design and is a good example of Organic Architecture.[13]


  1. ^ Clark, L. Page 18
  2. ^ Clark, L. Page 19
  3. ^ a b c d e Clark, L. Page 22
  4. ^ a b Clark, L. Page 24
  5. ^ Clark, L. Page 30
  6. ^ Clark, L. Page 31
  7. ^ Stuart Hornery's illustrious career was shaped by his mentor Daily Telegraph, 22 September 2008
  8. ^ Rise and shine Sydney Morning Herald, 16 October 2004
  9. ^ Dusseldorp Skills Forum
  10. ^ Lend Lease: Death of our Founder
  11. ^ It's an Honour
  12. ^ Keenan, Catherine (16 October 2004). "Rise and Shine". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
  13. ^ Heritage Study: The Sydney Suburb of Middlecove 2068

Further reading[edit]

  • Finding a common interest - The story of Dick Dusseldorp and Lend Lease By Lindie Clark, Cambridge University Press, 2002 ISBN 978-0-521-82531-3