An astute business man, aviator and musician!
A man of many talents, Tony Kirkhope reveals how he started out in Aviation having commenced his first job at a copper smelter in Wollongong as a metallurgical engineer in the late 70s. When the steel industry “started to slow down” Tony, his brother John, and the members of the Goodman family in 1979 established the Diana Ferrari Shoe Company. By the mid-1980s the company employed about 400 people and was producing 4000 pairs of shoes a day. Before the decade ended the families divided the company, with the Kirkhopes owning the women’s side of things, the Diana Ferrari brand, and the Goodmans keeping the Rivers brand.
The sale of Diana Ferrari allowed Kirkhope – who had already gone on to gain his commercial pilot’s licence and was working part time flying outback tours – to buy Pungalina, a 500,000 acre “rundown cattle station” on the Gulf of Carpentaria.
He turned the property into an upmarket “glamping” accommodation resort. Guests stayed in tents and could use the thermal springs.
Also in keeping with his love of the bush, Tony spent 15 years with the bush band, The Shedlevellers, and still entertains those around him by playing the guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and squeeze box.
View the full in-depth story written by Keith Platt, Editor, BusinessTimes,Share