Vale Alan Bond: The Last of the Loveable Scoundrels

Nic Crowther
Fri 05 Jun

Scoundrel? Hero? Shyster? Visionary?

How many words have been written over the last four decades to describe the antics of Alan Bond?  Today marks the end of the last of the great Perth billionaires from the 80s, with the death of one of the most charismatic Australians to ever see the inside of a jail.

 

 

It’s only in contradictions like this that we can find the true spirit of Alan bond. Here are some of the last words to be written by the nation’s news outlets following the passing of the miner/brewer/sailor/broadcaster/criminal this morning.

 

"Some of the highs [of Bond's life] were very high. And some of the lows were very low."

 - Perth business writer Tim Treadgold quoted in The Sydney Morning Herald

 

Mr Bond is best known for being the first non-American to win the America's Cup sailing trophy, as well as the biggest fraudster in Australian history.

Sky News

 

Scroll to the 6.00 minute mark for the magic moment

 

Bondy was the battler billionaire, one of us, shoving it up the establishment big time, the Perth signwriter with a defiant streak that made him a corporate giant in the brash 1980s.

- Peter Terlato, Business Insider Australia

 

At heart Alan Bond was a small-time entrepreneur who discovered that his personality and vision enabled him to borrow vast sums of money. And when that money was in his pocket he would spend it with no real thoughts of ultimate repayment — it was as though cash “in the till” was a profit.

- Robert Gottliebsen, The Australian

 

Image: ABC

Image: ABC

 

But with his success came controversy. In his most infamous deal, Bond bought the Nine Network from Kerry Packer for $1 billion but sold it back to the billionaire for a fraction of the price just three years later. The sale prompted Packer’s famous quip: “You only get one Alan Bond in your life and I’ve had mine.”

- Various, news.com.au

 

Perhaps the best words should be saved for Paul Barry, who became almost-famous for his encounter with Bond on a Sydney footpath.

 

I only met Bond face-to-face a couple of times, and normally he used these moments to warn me off or threaten to sue. But in writing two books about his life, I spent years on his tail – looking at his deals, talking to his friends, interviewing schoolmates, teachers, business colleagues, past employees, police investigators and, of course his victims – and I got to know him well. He was an amazing individual, with boundless confidence and energy, and an unshakable conviction that things would turn out right. 

- Paul Barry, The Age