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Hubert Harold Harvey (1913–1968)

by Ian G. Colyer

This article was published:

Hubert Harold Harvey (1913-1968), sharebroker, was born on 30 November 1913 at Pennington, Port Adelaide, second child of Harold Hernett Harvey, foreman, and his wife Una Frances, née Harrington, both South Australian-born. Educated at Woodville High School and Prince Alfred College (on a scholarship), Hubert worked briefly as a law clerk before the prospects of sharebroking attracted his adventurous spirit. He began as a clerk with Cutten & Co., a small Adelaide firm with Broken Hill connexions. Although lacking formal qualifications, he began to exhibit the extraordinary analytical skills which were to make him legendary in later life, and his energy and enthusiasm impressed his employers. In January 1941, at the age of 27, he was admitted to partnership. On 27 May 1939 at the Methodist Church, Malvern, he had married Constance Norma Oakley, a typist.

Commissioned lieutenant in the Australian Army Service Corps on 24 December 1942, Harvey transferred to the Australian Imperial Force and served at Milne Bay, Papua, with the 2nd Bulk Petrol Storage Company in 1943-44. His appointment was terminated on medical grounds on 4 January 1945.

In August 1943 Harvey had bought a seat on the Stock Exchange of Adelaide. A big man, 6 ft 3 ins (191 cm) tall, with a commanding and engaging personality, great energy and confidence, he returned to professional life and rapidly built a powerful base of commercial contacts in Adelaide and interstate, strengthening and developing relationships with sharebrokers and companies. In July 1946 the firm was named Cutten & Harvey. He was also active in the Junior Chamber of Commerce as national president (1947) and international vice-president (1950). The expanding postwar economy and heavier taxation encouraged family-owned and private companies to seek additional capital through a stock-exchange listing. A persuasive salesman with a flair for balanced risk-taking, Harvey seized the opportunities and soon became the predominant underwriter of capital issues in Adelaide, both for new public floats and for capital raisings by existing companies and semi-government authorities. By July 1953 he was sole proprietor of his sharebroking business, the largest in Adelaide. He took on three partners in 1955-58, but remained senior partner until his death.

Having floated the fledgling oil-exploration firm, Santos Ltd, in 1954, he was appointed a director and its main financial adviser in 1957; almost single-handed, he raised the capital necessary to keep the company afloat until the discovery in 1963 of natural gas at Gidgealpa. While visiting New York in October 1957 to negotiate with American oil companies for joint-ventures in Santos's leases, he had fallen ill with a perforated ulcer which caused permanent heart damage. After five months he recovered sufficiently to return home, but suffered from severe angina for the remainder of his life. Although slightly tempering his workload, he pursued his interests with characteristic zeal and was a director of United Motors (Holdings) Ltd, Coca-Cola Bottlers and the Natural Gas Pipelines Authority of South Australia. He also owned a grazing property near Keith and invested in a tropical pasture-seed plantation by the Adelaide River, Northern Territory. Power-boating, water-skiing and horse-racing were among his recreations; his best racehorse, Arctic Coast, won the Australian Cup and the Duke of Norfolk Stakes in 1968.

In 1962 he had established the Hubert Harvey Public Charitable Fund; during the next twelve years it distributed over $200,000 to charities, of which $100,000 went to the Crippled Children's Association of South Australia. Survived by his wife, son and two daughters, Harvey died of a coronary occlusion on 17 August 1968 in Darwin and was cremated. His estate was sworn for probate in Victoria and South Australia at $974,399.

Select Bibliography

  • R. M. Gibbs, Bulls, Bears and Wildcats (Adel, 1988)
  • N. Young, Figuratively Speaking (Adel, 1991)
  • News (Adelaide), 17 Aug 1968, 18 June 1974.

Citation details

Ian G. Colyer, 'Harvey, Hubert Harold (1913–1968)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1996, accessed online 24 June 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 14, (Melbourne University Press), 1996

View the front pages for Volume 14

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