Sir Douglas Frank Hewson Packer, KBE, OStJ (3 December 1906 – 1 May 1974), was an Australian media proprietor who controlled Australian Consolidated Press and the Nine Network. He was a patriarch of the Packer family.
Sir Frank Packer
Douglas Frank Hewson Packer
3 December 1906
|Died||1 May 1974 (aged 67)|
|Resting place||South Head Cemetery - Vaucluse, New South Wales|
|Education||Sydney Church of England Grammar School|
|Known for||Australian Consolidated Press|
Gretel Bullmore (m. 1934–1960)
Florence Vincent, nee Porges (m. 1964–1974)
|Children||Clyde Packer (eldest son)|
Kerry Packer (youngest son)
|Parent(s)||R.C. Packer (father)|
Ethel Maude, née Hewson (mother)
Frank Packer was born in Kings Cross, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, New South Wales, to Ethel Maude Packer (née Hewson; 1878–1947) and Robert Clyde Packer (1879–1934), who started the family's association with the media as a journalist in New South Wales. His father, R. C. Packer, became editor of The Sunday Times and was a founder of Smith's Weekly and the Daily Guardian, which was published by Smith's Newspapers Ltd.
"A mischievous youngster and a poor student", Packer frequently switched schools, attending Turramurra College, Abbotsholme College, Wahroonga Grammar School, and Sydney Church of England Grammar School at various times. He did not sit for the Intermediate Certificate.
In 1923, Packer became a cadet journalist on his father's paper, the Daily Guardian. Four years later, he was a director of the company. In 1933, Packer started The Australian Women's Weekly and then transformed The Daily Telegraph into one of Australia's leading newspapers.
Packer inherited his media interests on his father's death in 1934. In 1936, he joined with Ted Theodore's Sydney Newspapers and Associated Newspapers to form Australian Consolidated Press. He was chairman of ACP from 1936 until 1974.
When television was introduced to Australia in 1956, Packer, along with the other major newspaper publishers (Fairfax, HWT and David Syme), became a significant television network shareholder under the federal government's "dual formula", which allowed each capital city to have two commercial networks and one ABC. He launched the first Australian station to broadcast a regular schedule, TCN in Sydney, which became the nucleus of the Nine Network.
Packer was a keen yachtsman, boxer, golfer and polo player. He was on the Australian Jockey Club's committee for 12 years and won the Caulfield Cup with his horse, Columnist. He was also chairman of a syndicate that built the yachts Gretel and Gretel II to challenge for the America's Cup in 1962 and 1970.
In 1992, journalist Max Walsh told the House of Representatives Select Committee on the Print Media that Frank Packer had exerted undue newsroom influence. "Sir Frank was knee-deep in [the] editorial policy of the Telegraph", Walsh said.
Frank Packer was married to Gretel Joyce Bullmore (1907–1960) on 24 July 1934 at All Saints Anglican Church, Woollahra. He had two sons, Clyde and Kerry, with his first wife, Gretel. Gretel Packer died in 1960.
Packer married for the second time in June 1964 to Florence Adeline Vincent (née Porges) in London. She died in 2012.
On 1 May 1974, Sir Frank Packer died of heart failure, leaving an estate valued at $100 million. On his death he passed his empire to Kerry, as he had fallen out with his elder son Clyde Packer in 1972. He was interred at the Packer family mausoleum at South Head Cemetery.
He was inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame in 1999.
Portrayal in mediaEdit
In the 1984 television miniseries Bodyline, Frank Packer, as employer of Donald Bradman, released him from a writing contract so he could play in the 1932-1933 Ashes; he was portrayed by Brian McDermott.
In the 2013 television miniseries Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch War, Frank Packer was played by Australian actor Lachy Hulme, who had previously portrayed Kerry Packer in Howzat! Kerry Packer's War the previous year.
- Conley, D. (2000). The Daily Miracle. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press. p. 24. ISBN 0-19-554024-7.
- Packer, Sir Douglas Frank (1906–1974), Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 15, 2000.
- Henningham, J. (2000). Institutions in Australian Society. South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press. p. 282. ISBN 0-19-551050-X.
- House of Representatives Select Committee on the Print Media 1992, News and Fair Facts: The Australian Print Media Industry, Report, AGPS, Canberra, p.263
- Hornery, Andrew (29 December 2012). "Genteel society loses a Packer". smh.com.au. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
- It's an Honour: CBE
- It's an Honour: Knight Bachelor
- It's an Honour: KBE