Ron Walker (Australian businessman)

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For similarly named people, see Ronald Walker (disambiguation).
Ron Walker
83rd Lord Mayor of Melbourne
Preceded by Alan Douglas Whalley
Succeeded by Donald Osborne
Personal details
Born (1939-09-15) 15 September 1939 (age 77)
Melbourne, Australia
Political party Liberal

Ronald Joseph "Ron" Walker AC CBE (born 15 September 1939) is a former Lord Mayor of Melbourne and prominent Australian businessman, renowned for his work in managing sporting events.


Walker attended Caulfield Grammar School. He served as the Lord Mayor of Melbourne from 1974 to 1976. He became a prominent Liberal Party figure, working as honorary National Treasurer from 1987 to 2002.[1]

In 1988 he was appointed as a Commissioner for Melbourne's 1996 Olympics bid to host the Games. His relationship with former Liberal Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett, helped him to become the Chairman of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, after Walker helped deliver Melbourne the hosting rights for the event from Adelaide in 1993. However, it was Labor Premier Joan Kirner who appointed Walker as Chairman of the Melbourne Major Events Company, the body which managed both the bids for the Grand Prix and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Walker was also the Chairman of Melbourne 2006, the organising body for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.[1]

During his business career he has held large stakes in companies such as People Telecom, Primelife and Buka Minerals.

In 1976 he held a partnership with another Melbourne businessman, Lloyd Williams. The pair formed a property development company called Hudson Conway, which developed the Crown Casino complex in Melbourne and was the casino's first operator.[1] In 2000, Walker resigned from Hudson Conway, netting approximately A$86 million from the sale of his shares.[citation needed] In 2003 he co-founded, and remains chairman of Evolve Development, a private property development and investment group based in Melbourne.

Between 2005 and 2009, Walker was chairman of Fairfax Media, publisher of both The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald newspapers and a range of other media assets. Walker decided to not seek re-election as chairman of the Fairfax board following a public and acrimonious boardroom dispute in 2009.[2][3][4] By June 2011, Walker was reported as leading a group of wealthy Melbourne investors that approached Fairfax Media and sought to acquire The Age and radio station 3AW from Fairfax. However, their approaches were rebuffed.[5]

Walker also serves as Chairman of the Microsurgery Foundation of the Bernard O'Brien Institute of St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne.[6] The aim of the Foundation is to raise funds for research, equipment and building infrastructure for the O'Brien Institute.

Personal life[edit]

In 2010, he underwent emergency brain surgery after falling off his bike in Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens. He also suffered broken ribs and concussion in the fall.[7]

Walker's interests include a collection of classic cars and property; and he has an estimated net worth of A$978 million according to the 2011 BRW Rich 200.[5]


Walker has received a range of imperial and Australian honors including:

In 1975 Walker was named as Victoria's Outstanding Man of the Year during his term as Lord Mayor of Melbourne; Victorian Father of the Year in 1976, and Victorian of the Year in 1994.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c Carney, Shaun (11 March 2006). "What makes Ron run?". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Marinya won't support Walker re-election". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 17 September 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Colvin, Mark; Ryan, Peter (28 September 2009). "Ron Walker walks away from Fairfax". PM (ABC Radio). Australia. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Walker offered to buy Marinya's Fairfax Media stake". Business Spectator. Australia. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Kitney, Damon; Chessell, James (15 June 2011). "Fairfax rejects Walker's bid for The Age and Radio 3AW". The Australian. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "Microsurgery Foundation". Bernard O'Brien Institute. 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Hunter, Thomas (24 March 2010). "Ron Walker undergoes emergency brain surgery". The Age. Melbourne. 
  8. ^ "WALKER, Ronald Joseph". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 31 December 1976. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "WALKER, Ronald Joseph". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 8 June 1987. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "WALKER, Ronald Joseph". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "WALKER, Ronald Joseph". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 26 January 2002. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Alan Douglas Whalley
Lord Mayor of Melbourne
Succeeded by
Donald Osborne