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Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Terry, Paul (1948–1993)

by Malcolm Traill

This article was published online in 2020

Paul Terry (1948–1993), financial advisor and entrepreneur, was born on 31 May 1948 at Margaret River, Western Australia, fifth son of Western Australian-born parents Lennox Margrave Terry, farmer, and his wife Frances Mary, née Giles. His great-grandparents, Alfred and Ellen Bussell, had built a house in the region in the 1850s. Lennox purchased the derelict home, known as Ellensbrook, and 934 acres (378 ha) of farming land in 1950. He suffered from ill-health and, four years later, having been declared bankrupt, was forced to sell the property; however, the family continued to live there until 1964. Paul left school at fifteen to help support his family. He joined the Bank of New South Wales and was working as a bank officer and studying at the Bankers Institute of Australia when, in July 1967, he volunteered for national service ahead of the normal call-up. Enlisting on 4 October, he was commissioned (April 1968) in the Australian Army Service Corps and posted to the 88th Transport Platoon, Sydney. He served at training facilities in Victoria and New South Wales and his service ended on 3 October 1969.

Newly married, Terry moved to Sydney in about 1970 with his wife Joan, née Thompson. He worked as a salesman for Mutual Life and Citizens’ Assurance Co. Ltd and later started his own investment consultant business, the Paul Terry Corporation Pty Ltd. Many of his early clients were friends from his army days. A pioneer in the field of financial planning, he advised the young as well as the old, and the poor as well as the rich. By the late 1980s, the business, now called Monitor Money, had 250 staff and was operating in Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong, as the advisor to approximately twenty thousand small and large investors. Some months before the stock market crash in October 1987, which he predicted, Terry sold Monitor Money for a reported sum of more than $50 million and moved to Albany, Western Australia.

On a clifftop at Nanarup, twenty-six kilometres from Albany, Terry built a three hundred square metre family home. His largesse soon transformed the town. He purchased the dilapidated Esplanade Hotel at Middleton Beach and erected a five-star boutique hotel, also named the Esplanade, and a purpose-built gallery. Appropriately named ‘Extravaganza,’ the gallery housed his large collection of vintage cars, Australian art and sculpture, textiles, and ceramics. Sales from the gallery benefited a charitable trust, the Genevieve Foundation, named after Terry’s 1904 Darracq car that was valued at over $25 million. He also maintained a number of business interests, including beef breeding and the development of polymer-modified concrete for wall panels and building facades.

Soon after moving to Albany Terry and his wife donated land and a building for the establishment of a community-owned hospice. Opened in 1990, the Albany Community Hospice was the dream of their friend, Father Hugh Galloway. Not a seeker of publicity, Terry—a person of average height and slim build—was foremost a quiet family man. He did not smoke, drank only moderately, watched what he ate, and refused to discuss his wealth. His sense of humour was whimsical, his nature was genial but reserved, and he was compassionate in his dealings with others. An experienced pilot of small fixed-wing aircraft, he had an ambition to fly helicopters. During his first solo flight on 7 July 1993, in Hawaii, the helicopter crashed and he was killed instantly. His wife and their three daughters and one son survived him.

Research edited by Rani Kerin

Select Bibliography

  • Brown, James. ‘The Paul Terry Story: Insurance Salesman to Multi-Millionaire.’ Business Directions, no. 36 (June 1992): 38–39
  • Cranley, Travis. ‘Tributes Flow for Crash Millionaire.’ West Australian, 10 June 1993, 3
  • Davidson, Ian. ‘Hiding Its Light Under a Bushel.’ West Australian, 8 October 1983, 1
  • Malan, Andre. ‘One in a Million.’ West Australian, 30 November 1991, Big Weekend 1
  • National Archives of Australia. PT870/1, 5017992-3.

Additional Resources

Citation details

Malcolm Traill, 'Terry, Paul (1948–1993)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published online 2020, accessed online 31 October 2020.

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