John Roberts (businessman)

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John Charles Roberts AO (23 January 1934 - 8 June 2006) was an Australian businessman who was the founding chairman and an executive director of construction company Multiplex.

Early life and career[edit]

On leaving school he worked in the construction industry in Broken Hill in New South Wales between 1951 and 1958. From 1959 to 1961 he worked on the Menindee irrigation system and the pumping station which brought water from the Darling River to Broken Hill.


Roberts established Multiplex Constructions Pty Limited in 1962. He was Chief Executive between 1962 and 2003 and Chairman until 2005. As Perth boomed, Multiplex expanded nationally across Australia and then internationally. It built Telstra Stadium in Sydney Olympic Park which was the main stadium for the 2000 Summer Olympics.

Multiplex successfully bid for the A$1.2 billion project to rebuild Wembley Stadium. However, this project was plagued by cost overruns and missed deadlines leading to his resignation as Executive Chairman in 2005. In 1988, he was awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia for his contribution to the construction industry.

The 2006 BRW Rich List estimated his wealth at $740 million, down from $1.1 billion the previous year.

Personal life[edit]

Roberts married Angela Egerton-Warburton in 1964 with the marriage being dissolved in 1999 [Who's Who in Australia 2006]. His children are Andrew Roberts, Tim Roberts, Denby Macgregor.

He was a keen supporter of horse racing serving as the Chairman of the Western Australian Turf Club between 1984 and 1987. He served on the committee between 1971 and 1987.

Roberts died at his home in Perth at the age of 72 after a long battle with diabetes.


  • Miriam Steffens (9 June 2006). "Multiplex founder Roberts dies at 72". Melbourne Age. Retrieved 2006-06-12.
  • Jeff Turnbull (9 June 2006). "Multiplex founder John Roberts dies". Herald Sun. Retrieved 2006-06-12.
  • Who's Who in Australia 2006. North Melbourne: Crown Content. p. 1668.