a media industry resource

Bond, Bell and Holmes a Court: Chronology


This chronology is indicative only. It covers -

  • antecedents
  • beginnings
  • into media (1980)
  • the 1987 Crash
  • Bond goes belly-up (1989)
  • aftermath (1991)

Context is provided by the broader communications and media timeline on this site.


1888 Albany Advertiser launched


1937 birth of Robert Holmes a Court

1938 birth of Alan Bond

1950 Bond migrates to Australia

1960 borrows $13,000 for land development in Perth

1961 a Court moves to Perth to study law

1967 forms law firm

1969 Bond packages holdings as West Australian Land Holdings

1970 Holmes a Court gains control of WA Worsted & Woollen Mills

1971 establishes Heytesbury Stud

1973 WA Worsted & Woollen gains control of Bell Bros

1973 Bell gains control of Albany Advertiser, Katanning Great Southern Herald and radio station 6VA

1974 West Australian Land Holdings becomes Bond Corporation

1974 Bond's unsuccessful America's Cup bid with Southern Cross

1977 unsuccessful America's Cup bid with Australia

1978 Bond Group buys and demolishes historic Palace Hotel in Perth

1978 Bond becomes Australian of the Year

1979 Bell bid for Ansett Transport Industries

1979 Bond bid for Santos foiled by SA state government

1980 Bond unsuccessful America's Cup bid with Australia

Into media

1980 Bell launches Western Mail in Perth

1980 Seagram makes unsuccessful bid for St Joe Minerals

1981 Bond buys Waltons department store chain

1981 buys Swan Brewery in Western Australia for $164m

1982 Metals Exploration buys 35% of North Kalgurli Mines

1982 Bond buys discount retailer Norman Ross for $25m, forms Waltons Bond

1982 Holmes a Court's Bell Group gains control of TVW-7

1982 takes over Lew Grade's Associated Communications Corporation (ACC), which sells stake in UK ITV operator Central Independent Television (acquired by Carlton)

1983 Bond Corporation buys control of STW-9

1983 successful America's Cup bid with Australia II

1983 sells Argyle diamond interest to WA government for $42m

1983 Bell buys Wigmores, which becomes Bell Resources

1983 Wigmores makes first bid for resources and steel conglomerate BHP. BHP buys Utah International from GE

1983 Bell's ACC gains control of Weeks Petroleum

1984 Bond takes 45% of Airship Industries

1984 Bell Resources makes second bid for BHP

1985 Bond buys Castlemaine-Toohey's for $1.2bn

1985 Weeks Petroleum buys 13% of US mining giant Asarco

1985 Bond buys Queensland Television (Nine network affiliate QTQ9)

1985 Bell unsuccessful bid for Fremantle Gas & Coke

1985 Weeks sells Asarco stake to MIM

1986 Bond buys Australina Occidental Petroleum

1986 Bond buys of Burmah Oil's petroleum and gas interests in Cooper Basin

1986 Holmes a Court buys lease of Grove House in London for £10m

1986 Bell Resources makes third and fourth bids for BHP

1986 BHP 'rescued' by Elders IXL from Bell takeover - Elders buys 20% of BHP for $2bn, BHP buys $1bn of Elders preference shares

1986 Bond buys Pittsburgh Brewing (Iron City Beer), tenth largest US brewer

1986 buys and then sells Thorn EMI film studios and film library

1986 Elders buys Courage Brewery UK for $3.5bn

1987 Dallhold Resources becomes Bond International Gold (BIG)

1987 Waltons Bond sells Norman Ross and the Waltons department store chain to Cookes family

1987 Bond buys G. Heileman Brewing Company in US for US$1.7bn

1987 buys Bond Centre building in Hong Kong

1987 finances Endeavour replica

1987 buys 53% of Chile Telecommunications Co

1987 buys stake in British Satellite Broadcasting (BSBH) after withdrawal of Virgin and Amstrad

1987 buys two Nine network stations from Packer

1987 Bell buys stake in Pioneer Concrete

1987 Crash

1987 a Court's Heytesbury buys Double Island

1987 Heytesbury buys Vasse Felix winery

1987 Bell buys machinery distributor Waugh & Josephson

1987 Bond buys 50% of Gold Mines of Kalgoorlie (GMK) to control 47% of miner Kalgoorlie Lake View (KLV)

1987 BIG buys 90% of St Joe Minerals from Fluor, subsequently lists on NYSE

1987 Poseidon sells KLV stake to Bond

1987 Bond sells Sydney Hilton for $300m?

1987 reported as paying $53m for Van Gogh’s Irises

1987 founds Bond University with Japanese property developer EIE International under control of Harunori Takahashi

1987 Merrill Lynch withdraws Bell Resources' $1bn line of credit after October 1987 Crash

1988 State Government Insurance Commission takes 19.9% of Holmes a Court stake in Bell, Bond takes 19.9%

1988 Bond sells TVW-7 to Skase's Qintex

1988 Bond buys Glympton estate in UK for $22m and Connell residential site in Perth for $9m

1988 Rothwells collapses

1988 sells Bond Centre building and land holdings in Hong Kong

1989 Heytesbury buys Victoria River Downs (VRD) pastoral station

1989 Bond sells 19% of GMK to Poseidon

1989 sells 65% of BIG to LAC Minerals for US$373m

1989 unsuccessful bid for Lonrho

1989 Bond Corporation Holdings announces $980m loss

Bond goes belly-up

1989 Bond group goes into receivership

1989 Elders IXL MBO vehicle Harlin Holdings forced to make $5.3bn bid for for all shares

1989 Gough & Gilmour (later a competitor of Stoke's WestRac) buy Waugh & Josephson

1989 Eva Presser's Sunraysia Television buys STW-9 from receivers of Bond Media for $95m, sells STV Mildura for $18m to ENT

1989 Heytesbury buys Sherwin Pastoral Co cattle stations for $80m

1990 Holmes a Court dies

1990 Observation City Hotel sold for $77m

1990 Airship Industries goes into receivership

1990 Australian brewing assets sold to Lion-Nathan of New Zealand

1990 Packer regains control of Nine network for around $250m

1990 Elders IXL announces $1.3bn loss, foreshadows sale of all non-brewing businesses, become Foster's Brewing Group

1991 Heilemann goes into Chapter 11

1991 Bond Corporation enters scheme of arrangement

1991 receivers take charge of Bell Group and Bell Resources

1991 Harlin changes name to International Brewing Investments (IBI), with 32% of Foster's

1991 receivers float WA Newspapers as independent company for about $220m


1991 Heytesbury buys John Holland engineering group

1992 Alan Bond made bankrupt by Federal Court

1992 BHP puts receiver into IBI over debt of more than $1bn

1992 Dallhold interests in Greenvale project floated as QNI

1992 Bond jailed for 30 months after a jury convicts him of dishonesty relating to ASIC investigation of Rothwells. Released after retrial

1993 receivers reconstruct Elders IXL and IBI interests, float Elders Pastoral Group as Elders Australia

1995 Alan Bond pays creditors less than one cent in dollar as bankruptcy settlement

1995 Elders acquires Australian Agricultural Company (AACo)

1995 Elders acquired by Futuris Corporation

1996 Bond jailed by West Australian District Court for three years over Manet painting La Promenade

1997 jailed for further four years after pleading guilty to deceptively siphoning $1.2bn from Bell Resources. During trial Bond claims to be suffering from brain damage, making recollection of the details of his activities impossible

1997 outrage over leniency of sentence provokes federal government appeal - court increases sentence to seven years

1997 Heytesbury sells stud at Wallen for $7.3m

1998 Bond emerges from bankruptcy, having paid creditors $3.25m to discharge personal debts of $500m

1999 Heytesbury sells 70% of John Holland Australia to Leighton

2000 Bond released from prison on parole after High Court rules in his favour on a constitutional technicality

2000 Bond associated with UK company The Money Centre

2002 liquidators appointed to The Money Centre

2003 Heytesbury sells remaining 30% of John Holland Australia to Leighton