Australia’s two richest and most powerful families, the Murdochs and
the Packers, aren’t known for their religious observance, but what
tenuous links they do have to the church are getting an interesting run
in the press at the moment.


The Australian’s
John Lehmann has been running
with the Packer connection to Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen,
pointing out that Jensen actually buried Australia’s richest man at his
Ellerston property on 30 December.

The Oz also ran with the Crikey tip that Packer had donated $1 million
to the Anglicans, but this was denied as follows in today’s paper:

The spokeswoman said it was “completely untrue” that
Australia’s richest man once donated about $1 million to Sydney’s Moore
Theological College, where Dr Jensen was a longtime principal.

While Kerry Packer famously told Parkinson that his family fortune started with his grandfather and “10
bob on a race course” in Tasmania, the Murdoch family fortune dates
back 103 years when Rupert’s dad, Sir Keith, was living with his
parents in the manse of the Melbourne church which has been rocked by a cult scandal over the weekend.

Ronald Younger’s authorised biography of Sir Keith includes the following:

When Keith was two years of age (in 1887), his father accepted the call
from Trinity Presbyterian Church in Camberwell, six miles from
Melbourne’s heart, and the family moved to the manse attached to the
church in Riversdale Road, which was to be the Murdochs’ home during
Keith’s formative years.

The Herald Sun today followed up The Age’sSaturday scoop, but both papers failed to point out the historical Murdoch family connection.

Reverend Patrick Murdoch wanted his son Keith to follow him into theological studies,
but Keith decided journalism offered better prospects and in 1903,
while still living in the Camberwell manse, he started out as The Age’s correspondent for the neighbouring suburb of Malvern.

The Crikey bunker used to be based in Murdoch St, Camberwell, which we
think was named after Camberwell’s most famous family and we once
almost rented a property a few doors down from the cult-ridden church
near busy Burke Rd.

I well remember walking past the church one Sunday morning and spotting
Bruce Teele amongst the congregation. Teele was the long-time chairman
of JB Were which have been News Corp’s primary broker in Australia
for many years.

You couldn’t help but wonder if attending the old Murdoch family church
helped Bruce get the business and we certainly assume he is not one of
the 15 elders tied up with this banned cult.

Peter Fray

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