Property Developer Dynamics

Six Australian Property Developers

Dusseldorp, Bond, Skase, Ray, Wills and Peterson.

1950 to 2010

Lend Lease, Bondcorp, Qintex, Ray Group, CRI and Girvan

A little history.

Dr Jonathan Drane

The works on this page are predominantly extracted from Jonathan Drane’s doctorate ‘The Seed in the Cityscape; The property development mechanism and its influence on the growth of cities’. For the full thesis go to the following link. Please note that the UNSW Works legal requirements are being met by the author. All rights and constraints as noted therein apply.

Link to UNSW Library for Published Doctorate


The modern property development world can always benefit from the errors and wonders of the past. I notice despite the extreme era of the pre-GFC  in 2006,7 the  rise once again of mezzanine funding in the industry. This form of funding is for developers who have inadequate amounts of seed equity to undertake the property development. This can be a recipe for disaster. Not all six of the developers described here succumbed to mezzanine funding, however they definitely succumbed to the vagaries of their era.

In my mind Dick Dusseldorp still remains a beacon for both commercial and moral practice in the industry and is a forefather in this regard who should never be forgotten.

I write this page because for “if one forgets the past then one is condemned to repeat it”.

Six Australian Property Developers

The six key developers were chosen in my thesis to elaborate the dynamic nature related to their entrepreneurial profiles and their ability to influence and precipitate development projects,. This entrepreneurial nature is seen as the human dimension of what is termed ‘property developer dynamics’.

Dick Dusseldorp is renowned for his creation of Lend Lease (Murphy 1984; Clark 2002), Alan Bond famous for Bond Corp (Barry 1990) and Skase for the Qintex and Mirage developments and his eventual demise to exile in Spain (Van Der Plaat 1996). Brian Ray was a recognised Queensland developer and was earlier renowned for his involvement in land deals (1970s) and in later years a recognised Gold Coast developer. Peter Wills was the creator of CRI, a late 1980s phenomenon exemplifying the use of ‘other people’s money’. Paul Peterson is more known nationally and regionally for his creation of Girvan Corp through the late 1980s, which prevailed over the creation of developments typical of the entrepreneurship of that time.

Their working life has coincided with the maturing of industry practices and structures over the decades including: the development of integrated design and construct delivery systems from traditional architect/master builder practices; the rise of the speculative developer function from the prior institutional hold on commercial property; the separation of ‘development’ from ‘take out’ functions in the rising of property trusts and then more sophisticated trust vehicles; the emergence of investment banking from traditional banking practices, the volatile effect on the empowerment of development activity in the 1980s, and finally the reaction and resultant maturation of the industrial unions and their approaches to resolution, from the militant Builders Labourers Federation (BLF) era to the era of awards and Occupational Health and Safety practices (Thomas 1973; Mundey 1981; Clark 2002).

Particular boom and bust decades strongly influence not only development outcomes but structures and practices. The most obvious depiction of this is the 1980s with the deregulation of finance markets during the Hawke-Keating federal government. The deregulation went beyond the traditional banks to include investment banking from overseas sources. The impact of this was felt substantially on practices and structures for a decade beyond, through the 1990s.

Link to UNSW Library for Published Doctorate

Research Sites – Jonathan Drane

Jonathan’s Linked In Profile

Read The City Whisperer News