Paul Joseph Ramsay AO (January 1936 – 1 May 2014) was an Australian businessman and philanthropist.

Paul Ramsay
Sydney, Australia
Died1 May 2014
Bowral, New South Wales
EducationSt Ignatius College, Riverview
OccupationBusinessman, philanthropist


Born in Sydney,[1] he grew up in Burradoo in the Southern Highlands, New South Wales.[2] He attended St Ignatius College, Riverview.[2]

In 1964, Ramsay founded one of the first private psychiatric hospitals in Sydney.[3][4][5] It evolved into Ramsay Health Care, a private hospital company of which he was chairman of the board.[6][5] As of July 2014 it comprised 151 hospitals and day surgery facilities in Australia, Europe and Asia.[7] He was one of the initiators of television aggregation in Australia and built stations across the country, which today form part of the PRIME7 Television Network. Ramsay was chairman of the Prime Media Group for almost 30 years until relinquishing this role in April 2014.[3][2][4][5] He sat on the board of directors of Adstream and on the advisory board of the Australian Science Media Centre.[6]

Personal lifeEdit

Ramsay was homosexual and never married, but was reported to have left assets to a boyfriend.[8] In 2009, he was appointed chairman of Sydney FC.[5][9] He also owned luxury real estate.[3] He served on the board of the George Gregan Foundation.[6] He was chairman of Ramsay Youth Services, a charity for young people.[6] He sat on the Board of the Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation.[5] In 2002, he became an Officer of the Order of Australia for his philanthropy.[6][4][5][9] In June of the same year, he was on the Queen's Birthday Honours List.[6] In 2011, he donated AUS$300,000 to the Kevin Spacey Foundation.[2]

In 2006 he founded the philanthropic Paul Ramsay Foundation.[10]

Prior to his death, in 2014 his net worth was estimated by Forbes at US$3.4 billion.[3] He was the thirteenth richest person in Australia.[3]

Aged 78, he died on 1 May 2014 in his Bowral home after suffering a heart attack in Spain.[11]

In his will, updated just months before his death, Paul Ramsay left the majority of his estate to the Paul Ramsay Foundation.[12]

Paul Ramsay FoundationEdit

Paul Ramsay's $3 billion bequest made the Paul Ramsay Foundation the largest philanthropic foundation in Australia.[13]

The Foundation's core ambition is states "to help break the cycle of disadvantage".[14] In 2015, the Paul Ramsay Foundation made a $14.7 million donation to the Black Dog Institute for suicide prevention programs.[15] In 2016, the Foundation donated $45.2 million, making it the largest private donor in Australia.[16]

Former University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor, Professor Glyn Davis AC was appointed CEO of the Paul Ramsay Foundation in January 2019.[17]

Ramsay Centre for Western CivilisationEdit

In 2017 the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation was launched, funded by a bequest by Ramsay, who had "wanted a significant part of his personal fortune to be spent on funding an academic centre to revive the liberal arts and humanities".[18][19] The bequest was the "biggest philanthropic gift in the history of education in Australia" and the Centre, headed by Simon Haines, formerly professor of English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, was launched by the former Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

In June 2018 the Australian National University (ANU) pulled out of the proposed multi million dollar Western Civilisation degree citing concerns about integrity. The ANU's Vice-chancellor stated that the university had “approached the opportunity offered by the Ramsay Centre in a positive and open spirit”. The president of the ANU branch of the National Tertiary Education Union, Matthew King, stated that he was concerned that the degree would “pursue a narrow, radically conservative program to demonstrate and promulgate the alleged superiority of western culture and civilisation”.[20] In reply, Elizabeth Stone, member of the Ramsay Centre board and Queenwood principal, argued: "The great philosophies and books and thinkers and histories of particular civilisations, in this case the West, are worthy of study, as are Indian civilisations or Asian civilisations".[21] Robert Phiddian, a professor of English at Flinders University and founding director of the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Research Centres, stated that "the Ramsay bequest is the biggest opportunity the humanities in Australia have experienced since the rapid expansion of universities in the 1960s and 70s".[22]

In June 2019, the Council of Wollongong University approved a new course, Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation and associated double degree programs, due to commence in 2020. The agreement between the Ramsay Centre and the University was criticised as lacking consultation with staff and the approval of the University's senate. A new School of Liberal Arts will be created within the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts.


  1. ^ "Paul Ramsay, Billionaire Private-Hospital Operator, Dies". Bloomberg. 1 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Nauman, Zoe (4 December 2011). "Sydney billionaire Paul Ramsay gives Kevin Spacey $300,000". The Daily Telegraph. Australia.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Australia's 40 Richest: #13 Paul Ramsay". Forbes. 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Ramsay Health Care Board of Directors
  5. ^ a b c d e f Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation Archived 10 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ a b c d e f Bloomberg BusinessWeek
  7. ^ Ramsay Health Care, About Us.
  8. ^ Joe Aston, Paul Ramsay’s 'lovechild' is Telstra sex romper, Australian Financial Review, 15 October 2018
  9. ^ a b Paul Ramsay Group
  10. ^ acnc_charity_api_user (1 August 2019). "The Paul Ramsay Foundation". Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Health care, media mogul Paul Ramsay dies". The Australian. 1 May 2014.
  12. ^ Baker, Jordan (10 May 2019). "The $3.5 billion will, the instant millionaires ... and what was left out". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  13. ^ "Fast facts and statistics on giving in Australia ›› Philanthropy Australia". Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Who We Are". Paul Ramsay Foundation. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  15. ^ "$14.7 million private donation fills suicide funding gap". Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  16. ^ "Philanthropy 50: biggest private givers in 2016". Future Generation. 24 April 2017. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  17. ^ "Our Board & Team". Paul Ramsay Foundation. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  18. ^ Robert Bolton, "Paul Ramsay donation paves way for new centre to study Western civilisation", Australian Financial Review, 19 November 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  19. ^ Alexandra Smith, "Universities line up for new Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation", The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 November 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  20. ^ Michael McGowan, "university explains why it walked away from grant for western civilisation degree", The Guardian, 6 June 2018. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  21. ^ Jordan Baker, "Queenwood principal backs Ramsay Centre vision", The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June 2018. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  22. ^ Robert Phiddian, "For the sake of humanities, don't reject Ramsay's gift", The Australian, 20 June 2018, p. 33. Retrieved 20 June 2018.