Born in Queenscliff to English migrant parents, William Lawrence Baillieu first rose to prominence as a successful auctioneer during Melbourne's feverish land boom of the 1880s. He quickly built an enormous fortune, which he then subsequently lost in the crash of the early 1890s. But, ever the astute and daring entrepreneur, WL Baillieu resurrected his fortunes and those of his family by starting his own real estate agency and investing in the mining and infrastructure that would drive Australia's economy in the 20th century. In the early days of Federation, WL entered state politics and rose to become Minister of Public Works and Health. He continued to foster his business and media interests throughout his life, and by the time he retired, WL was director of the Herald and Weekly Times, the Electrolytic Zinc Company, the Dunlop Rubber Company , and Carlton and United Breweries. This is the first ever biography of this significant Australian - financier, philanthropist and founding figure of the Baillieu family dynasty - whose name and influence is inextricably wound throughout Melbourne's history.

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