Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Dies, Aged 103; Wife To Keith, Mother To Rupert, Philanthropist

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, mother of media magnate Rupert, has died at her home, Cruden Farm, in Melbourne.

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

Dame Elisabeth reportedly died on Tuesday. She was 103 years, 300 days old. She was born in Melbourne on February 8, 1909.

Dame Elisabeth’s husband, Sir Keith Murdoch, died 60 years ago, in October 1952. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1963.

In 1928, aged 19, Elisabeth Joy Greene married Keith Murdoch, then 23 years her senior. Murdoch, already well known as a journalist, and famous for his World War I campaign against General John Monash, was soon to begin a campaign to take over Australian newspapers. By the time Murdoch died, he had amassed a small media empire known as News Limited, centred on the Adelaide News. Elisabeth’s son Rupert subsequently built News Limited into a global media empire that he still presides over at the age of 81.

Dame Elisabeth devoted much of her life to philanthropy. Active in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals before her marriage, she was on the management committee of the Royal Children’s Hospital in the 1930s. She was involved with the Australian Ballet, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Deafness Foundation, the Epilepsy Foundation and numerous other organisations and charities.


Paul Keating’s Murdoch Oration: Asia In The New Order

The former Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, has delivered a stinging criticism of Australia’s foreign policy direction in a speech in Melbourne tonight.

Paul KeatingKeating delivered the Keith Murdoch Oration at the State Library of Victoria.

He argued the era of effective foreign policy activism had passed, replaced by a flagging sense of independence and “an easy accommodation with the foreign policy objectives of the United States”.

Keating reiterated his long-held views about the decline of the “Anglosphere”. He said that as prime minister, “I rejoiced in the diversity around us and the fact that the big and old societies of the East, formerly locked down by colonialism and poverty, were free to go their own way.”

“We need to concentrate on where we can be effective and where we can make the greatest difference.”

Text of Paul Keating’s Keith Murdoch Oration.

Asia in the New Order: Australia’s Diminishing Sphere of Influence

Keith Murdoch, in whose name this oration is given, represents an important position in the history of this institution. Chairman of the Board of Trustees from 1939 to1945, of what was then the Melbourne Public Library, he came to the position from an industry devoted to information, namely, newspapers.

He was appointed editor of the Melbourne Herald in 1921 and played a corporate role in the Herald acquiring the Sun News-Pictorial in 1925, becoming managing director of the Herald and Weekly Times in 1928. And so began the entrepreneurial career of the first Murdoch, building the Herald and Weekly Times, which sixty years later his son Rupert acquired. [Read more…]