Victor Smorgon, one of Australia's most successful entrepreneurs and the former head of one of the country's most diverse industrial groups, has died.
Mr Smorgon, 96, was the head of the Victor Smorgon Group, a spinoff from the original Smorgon Consolidated Industries which began as a kosher butcher shop in Carlton and expanded into areas ranging from meat exporting to plastics, glass, steel and recycling.
Born into poverty in Heidelberg, Ukraine, in 1913, Mr Smorgon emigrated to Australia in 1927. His life today is in great contrast to his boyhood in Russia, where he saw the dramatic end of the tsarist regime and the dawn of communism. His childhood life was one of poverty, starvation and anti-semitic attacks against his family.
In his early teens his family migrated to Australia and settled in Melbourne. Victor's father and uncles established a kosher butcher shop in Carlton and this became the humble foundation of the giant enterprise that Victor's entrepreneurial genius subsequently created. The story of the expansion of the business into meat exporting, plastics, glass and steel is a fascinating one and Victor tells it with characteristic verve and energy.
Mr Smorgon is survived by his wife Loti Kiffer, three daughters and 15 grand children.
A biography of Victoe Smorgon is available at:
In a lively interview conducted in March, 1998, Victor Smorgon reveals the secrets of his great success in business as he recounts his extraordinary life. He explains just why he has become almost as well known for his philanthropy in medicine and the arts as he is for his business acumen. His humour, optimism, creativity and great capacity to seize what opportunities life presents are on full display. The interview is available here: