Port Lincoln in South Australia is reputedly home to the most millionaires per capita in Australia. The waterfront is lined with glamorous houses, among them Deidre and Brian Turvey’s award winning home.
Brian Turvey is proud but humble; a regular bloke who made his own success through hard work and gumption. He and his wife Deidre run Turvey Enterprises with their adult children, Simon, Kym, Christie and their partners.
An early start
Brian says there’s no kind of business he wouldn’t try, and when you see the list of things he already has tried – and succeeded at – you know he probably means it. A carpenter by trade, he had built and paid for three apartments by the age of 24 and owned his own building company by 27.
Since then, he has constructed ocean-going yachts, dived for abalone, fished for Bluefin tuna, made wine, sold grapes to Penfolds, opened a tourist park, farmed oysters and produced crops and livestock.
“My mind never stops thinking. I’m always onto the next project,” he says. “Ever since I was 14 years old, I’ve taken a long term view. When you’re as diverse in business as we are, you always have to think long term. I consider myself conservative but I do take gambles. My philosophy is to always buy the very best option available and that is usually a safe choice.”
Timing is everything
Brian says the key to his success has been spotting the right time to get into a business, knowing the right time to get out, and learning fast. “When we started diving for abalone, I didn’t know how to dive, but I did the shelling for 10 years and we had a contracted diver, which helped. Once you put your hand in your pocket and you’re paying interest, you soon learn,” he says.
The family followed their abalone operation with a tuna fishing business where Brian donned the wetsuit. Brian’s willingness to literally dive into new business ventures is shared by his elder son Simon, who also dived for 10 years and shares his dad’s fearless approach.
Deidre and Brian’s second son Kym says he’s less gung-ho and sometimes wonders where his dad finds his endless energy.
Both sons are now working in the farming side of the business, which includes 1,000 acres of canola, wheat and oats. Kym manages the operation’s 100 acre vineyard while Simon manages the cropping and livestock side of the business.
Deidre is also an astute business operator. She is an active partner in Turvey Enterprises and she runs her own business, a local lingerie store, with her sister-in-law. Brian and Deidre’s daughter Christie runs an online homewares store and has clocked up more than 30,000 followers on her business’s social media accounts.
Although they have plenty going on, Brian never loses sight of the reason for all his work.
“When you’re running in a family group, if you don’t keep moving ahead, the next generation doesn’t gain. The house, the farm, everything we do, it’s not for me,” he says.
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