Keith Murdoch
Sir Keith Arthur Murdoch (12 August 1885 - 4 October 1952) was an Australian journalist
A journalist collects and distributes news and other information. A journalist's work is referred to as journalism.A reporter is a type of journalist who researchs, writes, and reports on information to be presented in mass media, including print media , electronic media , and digital media A...

 and the father of Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch
Keith Rupert Murdoch, AC, KSG is an Australian-American business magnate. He is the founder and Chairman and CEO of , the world's second-largest media conglomerate....

, the CEO and Chairman of News Corp.

Life and career

Murdoch was born in Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

 in 1885, the son of Annie (née Brown) and the Rev. Patrick John Murdoch, who had married in 1882 and migrated from Cruden
Cruden Bay
Cruden Bay is a small village in Scotland, on the north coast of the Bay of Cruden in Aberdeenshire, 26 miles north of Aberdeen.Just south of Slains Castle, Cruden Bay was the site of a battle between Danes and Scots under King Malcolm II in 1012...

, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 to Victoria, Australia
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

 with Patrick's family in 1884. His paternal grandfather was a minister with the Free Church of Scotland, and his maternal grandfather was a Presbyterian minister. The family moved from West Melbourne to the affluent suburb of Camberwell
Camberwell, Victoria
Camberwell is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 9 km east from Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the City of Boroondara. At the 2006 Census, Camberwell had a population of 19,637....

 in 1887. Keith was educated at his uncle Walter's
Walter Murdoch
Emeritus Professor Sir Walter Murdoch, KCMG was a prominent Australian academic and essayist famous for his intelligence, wit, and humanity. He was a Founding Professor of English and former Chancellor of University of Western Australia in Perth. Murdoch University, also in Perth is named after him...

 short-lived school, then at Camberwell Grammar School
Camberwell Grammar School
Camberwell Grammar School is an independent, Anglican, day school for boys, located in Canterbury, an eastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia....

, where he became dux in 1903, despite extreme shyness and stammering. He decided not to go straight to university but to try a career in journalism, so family friend David Syme
David Syme
David Syme was a Scottish-Australian newspaper proprietor of The Age and regarded as "the father of protection in Australia" who had immense influence in the Government of Victoria.-Early life and family:...

 of The Age
The Age
The Age is a daily broadsheet newspaper, which has been published in Melbourne, Australia since 1854. Owned and published by Fairfax Media, The Age primarily serves Victoria, but is also available for purchase in Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and border regions of South Australia and...

agreed to employ him as district correspondent for nearby Malvern
Malvern, Victoria
Malvern is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 8 km south-east from Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the City of Stonnington. At the 2006 Census, Malvern had a population of 9,422.-History:...

. Over the next four years, working long hours, he managed to create a significant increase in The Age's local circulation, to earn promotion, and to save enough money for a ticket to England, where he hoped to gain further experience and find ways to master his stammer.

From 1908-9, in London, he took speech therapy, studied part-time at the London School of Economics
London School of Economics
The London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university specialised in the social sciences located in London, United Kingdom, and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

, and tried to find employment as a journalist, with the help of recommendations from more family friends, including Australia's Prime Minister Alfred Deakin
Alfred Deakin
Alfred Deakin , Australian politician, was a leader of the movement for Australian federation and later the second Prime Minister of Australia. In the last quarter of the 19th century, Deakin was a major contributor to the establishment of liberal reforms in the colony of Victoria, including the...

. The stammer reduced, but remained a problem, and shortly after it cost him a job with the Pall Mall Gazette
Pall Mall Gazette
The Pall Mall Gazette was an evening newspaper founded in London on 7 February 1865 by George Murray Smith; its first editor was Frederick Greenwood...

in September 1909, Murdoch returned home to resume work for The Age, now as parliamentary reporter, in which capacity he strengthened the family's relationships with politicians such as Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher was an Australian politician who served as the fifth Prime Minister on three separate occasions. Fisher's 1910-13 Labor ministry completed a vast legislative programme which made him, along with Protectionist Alfred Deakin, the founder of the statutory structure of the new nation...

, in some cases entertaining them at his aunt's country guest house.

First World War

In 1912 he became Melbourne political correspondent for the Sydney Sun. Losing out to the more experienced Charles Bean
Charles Bean
Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean , usually identified as C.E.W. Bean, was an Australian schoolmaster, judge's associate, barrister journalist, war correspondent and historian....

 for the position of official Australian correspondent covering the 1914 war, in 1915 he was appointed managing editor of the London cable service run by the Sun and the Melbourne Herald. Andrew Fisher, by then Prime Minister of Australia, and Defence Minister George Pearce
George Pearce
Sir George Foster Pearce KCVO was an Australian politician who was instrumental in founding the Australian Labor Party in Western Australia....

 asked him to take time on the journey to check on some matters of concern relating to supplies and mail for Australian troops in the conflict, so he stopped off in Egypt. While there in August, he was able to secure the permission of Sir Ian Hamilton
Ian Hamilton
Ian Michael "Chico" Hamilton is an English former footballer who played as a midfielder. He made more than 300 appearances in the Football League playing for Chelsea, Southend United, Aston Villa and Sheffield United, and more than 100 in the North American Soccer League for Minnesota Kicks and...

, commander of the Dardanelles campaign in Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, to visit Australian troops in Gallipoli
The Gallipoli peninsula is located in Turkish Thrace , the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek "Καλλίπολις" , meaning "Beautiful City"...

 and write his impressions for the newspapers, subject to the usual military censorship. The agreement he signed specified that he was "not to attempt to correspond by any other route or by any other means than that officially sanctioned" and during the war he must not “impart to anyone military information of a confidential nature.... unless first submitted to the Chief Field Censor.”

Murdoch visited Anzac Cove
Anzac Cove
Anzac Cove is a small cove on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. It became famous as the site of World War I landing of the ANZAC on April 25, 1915. The cove is a mere long, bounded by the headlands of Ari Burnu to the north and Little Ari Burnu, known as Hell Spit, to the south...

 at the beginning of September, then moved to the headquarters on the island of Imbros
Imbros or Imroz, officially referred to as Gökçeada since July 29, 1970 , is an island in the Aegean Sea and the largest island of Turkey, part of Çanakkale Province. It is located at the entrance of Saros Bay and is also the westernmost point of Turkey...

. Discussing the situation with other journalists, he was befriended by the Daily Telegraph correspondent Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett
Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett
Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett was a British war correspondent during the First World War. Through his reporting of the Battle of Gallipoli, Ashmead-Bartlett was instrumental in the birth of the Anzac legend which still dominates military history in Australia and New Zealand...

, who was deeply concerned that censorship was being used to suppress criticism of the Dardanelles campaign, which, as Murdoch had seen for himself, had serious problems. They therefore agreed that Murdoch would carry to London a letter from Ashmead-Bartlett to the British Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, written on 8 September, presenting his uncensored report of the situation. Hamilton quickly learned about the existence of this letter (another British reporter, Henry Nevinson
Henry Nevinson
Henry Woodd Nevinson was a British campaigning journalist. He was known for his reporting on the Second Boer War, and slavery in Angola in 1904-1905....

, has been blamed for this, but his biography points to an official Royal Navy war photographer). Reaching France on his route to London, Murdoch was arrested by Military Police in Marseille
Marseille , known in antiquity as Massalia , is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of...

 and the letter was confiscated. Arriving in London on 21 September, he therefore spent some time at the Australian High Commission composing his own letter to his Prime Minister, Andrew Fisher, in a similar vein to the Ashmead-Bartlett letter, and particularly critical of the British general and administrative staff:-

‘The conceit and self complacency of the red feather men are equalled only by their incapacity. Along the line of communications, especially at Moudros
Moudros is a town and a former municipality on the island of Lemnos, North Aegean, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Lemnos, of which it is a municipal unit. It covers the entire eastern peninsula of the island, with a land area of 185.127 km²,...

, are countless high officers and conceited young cubs who are plainly only playing at war. ...appointments to the general staff are made from motives of friendship and social influence.’

After sending the letter to Australia, he supplied two copies to the British Munitions Minister David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

, with his letter of introduction from Andrew Fisher. Very quickly, Murdoch's letter reached Asquith, and was circulated to senior ministers of the British government. Ashmead-Bartlett, expelled from the Dardanelles, reached London about this time, and soon, thanks to the influence of Lord Northcliffe
Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe
Alfred Charles William Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe rose from childhood poverty to become a powerful British newspaper and publishing magnate, famed for buying stolid, unprofitable newspapers and transforming them to make them lively and entertaining for the mass market.His company...

, proprietor of The Times, The Daily Mirror
The Daily Mirror
The Daily Mirror is a British national daily tabloid newspaper which was founded in 1903. Twice in its history, from 1985 to 1987, and from 1997 to 2002, the title on its masthead was changed to read simply The Mirror, which is how the paper is often referred to in popular parlance. It had an...

and other national newspapers, his version of events began to be published. Murdoch, initially alarmed that Northcliffe's staff had obtained a copy of his own private letter, soon became a friend of the newspaper tycoon. Although his letter, written from memory, contained many mistakes and exaggerations, the main points were supported by other evidence, and Hamilton was relieved of command- the subsequent operation to evacuate the troops from Gallipoli in December being accomplished with perfect effectiveness.

Melbourne Herald

Murdoch remained in London, expanding the cable service, writing influential journalism- and helping his friend Billy Hughes
Billy Hughes
William Morris "Billy" Hughes, CH, KC, MHR , Australian politician, was the seventh Prime Minister of Australia from 1915 to 1923....

, who had become the new Australian Prime Minister, on visits to England- until he was offered the post of chief editor at the Melbourne Herald, which he took in January 1921. Arranging for the paper's general manager to be demoted, he began applying Lord Northcliffe's principles, with frequent advice from Northcliffe himself. As he had in London, he focused on political controversy, but he also made the Herald influential in other ways, through such devices as improved arts coverage, and celebrity contributions. When the proprietor of the Sydney Sun tried to break into the Melbourne market with the Sun News-Pictorial in 1922, Murdoch fought a long campaign which eventually resulted in the Herald, its own circulation up by 50%, taking over the new tabloid in 1925. He acquired the nickname "Lord Southcliffe" and in 1928 became managing director of the company, by which time the Sun was on its way to becoming Australia's highest-selling newspaper.

In 1927 he saw a photograph of an attractive 18-year-old débutante
A débutante is a young lady from an aristocratic or upper class family who has reached the age of maturity, and as a new adult, is introduced to society at a formal "début" presentation. It should not be confused with a Debs...

, Elisabeth Joy Greene, in Table Talk magazine, and arranged for a friend to introduce him. She became Mrs Elisabeth Murdoch in June 1928, honeymooning on his Cruden Farm estate at Langwarrin. They had children Helen (later Mrs Geoff Handbury), Rupert Murdoch
Rupert Murdoch
Keith Rupert Murdoch, AC, KSG is an Australian-American business magnate. He is the founder and Chairman and CEO of , the world's second-largest media conglomerate....

, Anne (now Mrs Milan Kantor) and Janet (now Mrs John Calvert-Jones).

From 1926 onward, he had led a campaign to take over newspapers elsewhere in Australia, with varying success. In Adelaide, for example, the Herald publisher took over the feeble Adelaide Register in 1928, and turned it into a Sun-style picture tabloid. Within months, the previously dominant Adelaide Advertiser accepted a takeover bid, and the Register was quietly closed down in 1931, after the Herald acquired the evening Adelaide News, securing a local monopoly. Murdoch had also been investing in newspapers on his own account, notably in Brisbane, where he bought shares in the Daily Mail
The Courier-Mail
The Courier-Mail is a daily newspaper published in Brisbane, Australia. Owned by News Limited, it is published daily from Monday to Saturday in tabloid format. Its editorial offices are located at Bowen Hills, in Brisbane's inner northern suburbs, and it is printed at Murarrie, in Brisbane's...

and subsequently helped it to take over the rival Courier. He kept pace with new technology, and by 1935 the Herald was involved with eleven radio stations (while Murdoch campaigned to prevent the official Australian Broadcasting Commission from establishing its own news service). He also led both the merger of rival cable services to form Australian Associated Press Ltd. in 1935, and the project to build a paper-mill in Tasmania, capable of processing native trees, which began in 1938.

1930s and after

In the Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 of the early 1930s, Murdoch's papers campaigned against the Labor Party government of James Scullin
James Scullin
James Henry Scullin , Australian Labor politician and the ninth Prime Minister of Australia. Two days after he was sworn in as Prime Minister, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 occurred, marking the beginning of the Great Depression and subsequent Great Depression in Australia.-Early life:Scullin was...

, and gave full support to the breakaway ex-Labor politician Joseph Lyons
Joseph Lyons
Joseph Aloysius Lyons, CH was an Australian politician. He was Labor Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928 and a Minister in the James Scullin government from 1929 until his resignation from the Labor Party in March 1931...

 in his successful 1931 campaign to become Prime Minister. In 1933 Murdoch was knighted, and, being an art connoisseur with an appreciation of modern work, became a trustee of Victoria's
Victoria (Australia)
Victoria is the second most populous state in Australia. Geographically the smallest mainland state, Victoria is bordered by New South Wales, South Australia, and Tasmania on Boundary Islet to the north, west and south respectively....

 museums and galleries. He later had some regrets about his support for the strong-willed Lyons, stating in 1936, "I put him there and I'll put him out". Meanwhile, others were expressing deep concern about the dangers of concentrating so much press power in the hands of one person. This came to a head after Australia became involved in the Second World War. In June 1940 Murdoch was appointed to a newly-created Australian Government post, Director-General of Information, and on 18 July he obtained authorisation to compel all news media to publish Government statements as and when necessary. Comparisons were made with Goebbels, press co-operation was swiftly withdrawn, politicians protested, and despite agreements to modify the regulation, in November he was obliged to resign the post.

Returning to the newspapers (from which he had agreed to distance himself while serving the Government) he spent the rest of the war encouraging a patriotic spirit, and attacking the Labor Prime Minister, John Curtin
John Curtin
John Joseph Curtin , Australian politician, served as the 14th Prime Minister of Australia. Labor under Curtin formed a minority government in 1941 after the crossbench consisting of two independent MPs crossed the floor in the House of Representatives, bringing down the Coalition minority...

 (who led a minority government in 1941, and was re-elected with a dramatic majority in 1943). In 1942 he became chairman of the Herald group, and in 1944, maintaining his connection with the art world, he established the Herald Chair of Fine Arts at the University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne is a public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is the second oldest university in Australia and the oldest in Victoria...

- the following year he became chairman of the trustees of the National Gallery of Victoria
National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria is an art gallery and museum in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1861, it is the oldest and the largest public art gallery in Australia. Since December 2003, NGV has operated across two sites...

. Becoming increasingly ill with cancer, he retired from most of his work except the Herald in 1949, and made a deal with the Herald board to buy control of the Adelaide newspapers, in return for first option in any future sale of his Brisbane newspaper shares. Sir Keith Murdoch died at Cruden Farm in the night of 4-5 October 1952. Much of his estate, valued at £410,004, was disposed of to pay off mortgages, death duties
Inheritance tax
An inheritance tax or estate tax is a levy paid by a person who inherits money or property or a tax on the estate of a person who has died...

 etc. (the Herald exercised its option to buy the Brisbane newspaper shares), but his family was still left with full control of News Limited
News Limited
News Limited is one of Australia's largest diversified media companies. The publicly listed company's interests span newspaper and magazine publishing, Internet, Pay TV, National Rugby League, market research, DVD and film distribution, and film and television production trading assets.News Limited...

, proprietors of the Adelaide News.

Principal sources

General: Australian Dictionary of Biography Murdoch, Sir Keith Arthur (1885 - 1952) published by Australian National University, ISSN 1833-7538

Early life and First World War: Patriots Three ABC Australia documentary script

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.