Tony Wheeler

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Tony Wheeler

Tony Wheeler AO (born 20 December 1946)[1] is an English-born Australian publishing entrepreneur, businessman and travel writer, co-founder of the Lonely Planet guidebook company with his wife Maureen Wheeler.

Born in England, his father worked for the British Overseas Airways Corporation as an airport manager, so he grew up in Pakistan, the Bahamas, Canada, the United States and England, never spending as much as two years in the same school.[2]

Wheeler holds an engineering degree from Warwick University and an MBA from London Business School.[3] He was a former engineer at the Chrysler corporation.

After travelling across Europe with Maureen Wheeler, they arrived in Melbourne in 1972 and put out their first book, Across Asia on the Cheap in 1973.[4] This would grow into the Lonely Planet empire, a name derived from a misheard Joe Cocker song (the lyric was, in fact, "Lovely Planet").[2] They married and had two children, Tashi and Kieran.[2]

In 1980, the publication of a guidebook to India effectively doubled the size of the company.[5]

BBC Worldwide bought 75 percent of their share of the company in 2007 and their remaining 25 percent in February 2011,[6] bringing the couple's net worth to $190 million.[citation needed]

His books since Lonely Planet include Bad Lands and Unlikely Destinations.[4]

In the 2014 Queen's Birthday Honours List, Wheeler and Maureen were both appointed as Officers of the Order of Australia (AO), each for "distinguished service to business and commerce as a publisher of travel guides, and as a benefactor to a range of Australian arts and aid organisations".[7] When interviewed on ABC TV "One Plus One" on 20 June 2019 Wheeler said he has a home in England and Melbourne.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Happy Birthday Tony Wheeler, 65". The Times.
  2. ^ a b c Friend, Tad (18 April 2005). "The Parachute Artist". The New Yorker.
  3. ^ "Story". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b Potts, Mary Anne. "Lonely at the Top: Maureen and Tony Wheeler". National Geographic. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
  5. ^ Khoo, Valerie (6 April 2011). "Turn Your Business into a Global Empire – Advice from Lonely Planet's Tony Wheeler". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  6. ^ Sweney, Mark (18 February 2011). "BBC to buy out Lonely Planet". The Guardian.
  7. ^ "The Queen's Birthday 2014 Honours List" (PDF). 8 June 2014. Retrieved 8 June 2014.
  8. ^ One Plus One: Tony Wheeler, 20 June 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2021.

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