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Kerry Stokes
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Kerry Stokes

Chairman of Seven Network, Founder and
Chairman of Australian Capital Equity 
Seven Network, Australian Capital Equity


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About Kerry Stokes

Kerry Stokes is one of the most powerful and influential figures in Australia and he features on the Forbes List of Billionaires.

Kerry Stokes- From Rags to Riches

Kerry Stokes was born as John Patrick Althorpe, in 1940. He was born in a time when Australia was in economic turmoil and his single mother eventually gave him away to a devout Catholic family - Matthew and Irene Stokes. They were a childless couple who were also suffering from poverty. Stokes, as a student, struggled through classes. Although bright, his work was often poor with spelling mistakes. Not surprisingly, he dropped out of school at the age of fourteen since his parents could no longer afford the fees. His learning disability is today known as dyslexia.

Stokes was then abandoned by his foster parents. At the age of fifteen, he was a penniless teenager roaming the streets of Melbourne during a time when employment was scarce. Yet, he did his very best to survive in a city that was just recovering from war and he began his work by installing television antennas on the roof-tops of Perth.

Stokes was then involved in property development throughout the 1960s and 1970's before stepping into the television industry. By the age of forty, Stokes had purchased a television station, the regional GWN Network.

Kerry Stokes and the Seven Network

Seven Network is one of the largest television networks in Australia founded in 1956. The Australian Capital Equity holds a major share of interests in the network (50%) and Stokes is the current Chairman of the company.

Kerry Stokes- A Successful Investor and Avid Art Collector

Kerry Stokes established his private company, the Australian Capital Equity (ACE) to monitor his diverse stakes in various companies. In 1988, he invested in the Caterpillar franchise and the resultant dealing company is now known as Westrac Pty Ltd.

Stokes owns one of the best privately-owned art collections with around 8000 pieces. His Australian Capital Equity office in Perth houses several pieces of art by Drysdale, a renowned Australian artist.

Kerry Stokes – Personal Life

Stokes’ first marriage to Dorothy Ebert lasted only for a few years. She separated taking along their two children, Russell and Raelene. He then married his receptionist, Denise and had two sons, Ryan and Byrant. Sadly, Denise walked out of the marriage and went abroad.

Stokes then lived a challenging life raising the two boys and managing his million-dollar business. His sons currently work for the Seven Network. In 1992, he married television actress, Peta Toppano but the marriage ended in three years. Now, he is married to Christine Simpson, who was a television reporter on Channel Ten at Perth when they met eleven years ago.

Although a dyslexic who has confessed of having a difficulty with words, Stokes has come a long way from the days as a lonely youth on the streets of Melbourne. Today, Kerry Stokes is a prosperous man with business interests in a range of industries including electronic and print media, property, mining, and construction equipment.

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