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Buckland Biography Launched

31 October 2005 at 12:10 pm
Staff Reporter
The William Buckland Foundation has launched a biography of the reclusive self-made multi-millionaire namesake almost 50 years after his first grant was made.

Staff Reporter | 31 October 2005 at 12:10 pm


Buckland Biography Launched
31 October 2005 at 12:10 pm

The William Buckland Foundation has launched a biography of the reclusive self-made multi-millionaire namesake almost 50 years after his first grant was made.

William Buckland was described as Australia’s richest man when he died in 1964. He left the majority of his wealth -$10 million (or about $80 million in current dollar rate) to create a foundation for the benefit of the Victorian Community.

The legacy is worth almost $75 million today and over $50 million has been distributed since the first grant was made in 1966. Currently more than 3$3 million is distributed annually to progressive community initiatives.

According to the author Professor David Merrett and head of the Department of Management at the University of Melbourne, Buckland was an entrepreneur with an uncanny ability to recognise business opportunities.

Buckland started and bought businesses, built them up and sold out, risking his capital, not once but many times.

William Buckland started his working life as a clerk at the Bank of NSW, moving from Mansfield to Melbourne to take up the position. By the time of his death, in 1964 he was one of Australia’s wealthiest men with an empire than spanned the motor trade, finance and pastoral industries.

Details of why Buckland decided to leave his fortune to Victoria are sketchy.

Merrett speculates that it could have been a powerful wish to be remembered saying that unlike Sidney Myer, Buckland’s name was not going to live on through a business organisation.

Buckland had made his vast wealth through private companies that did not bear his name and which had been sold onto private companies. He only ever gave one media interview to the Australian Financial review.

On reflecting on Buckland’s life Merrett says he became one of the wealthiest businessmen in mid-twentieth century Australia. However his influence comes more from the use to which that fortune has been put than the impact made by the businesses while he owned them.

Buckland had two children, a daughter and a son, to his first wife and he remarried in 1951. Upon his death his second wife and children successfully contested the provisions made for them in the will but the remaining estate was still valued at around $10 million.

The William Buckland Trust is administered by ANZ Trustees.

The Buckland Will specifies that income from the Foundation shall be distributed in Victoria as follows:

One half of the income to assist:

– public hospitals

– public benevolent societies

– public benevolent institutions, with special emphasis on children.

One half of the income to assist:

– public scientific purposes

– public education purposes with some preference for agricultural and related pursuits.

Application closing dates: 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 October each year.

Copies of the biography of William Buckland are available at no cost from ANZ Charitable Services on freecall 1800 808 910.

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