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TOP SECRET FILE: HOOKER

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

NAME: SIR LESLIE JOSEPH HOOKER

Founder of LJ Hooker. Pioneer of franchising in Australia and globally.


Scale of Notoriety:

2.5/5

Not too much is known about LJ Hooker aside from short facts about his upbringing and his journey and dedication to his business. But we do know, he was part Chinese.


Scale of Influence:

4/5

Today, LJ Hooker company has expanded into one of Australia’s largest residential and commercial sales and property management teams in the industry with more than 8,000 sales professionals, property managers and support team members.


Target Status:


Deceased. RIP in Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia.



Background:


LJ Hooker was born in Canterbury, Sydney. Orphaned at age 8, he was raised by his extended family. At thirteen left school to work as a clerk at a Japanese Import and Export Company and purchased his first properties at sixteen.


At 24, LJ Hooker opened his first business in Maroubra in 1928. The company started rapidly expanding, and by 1960 he had created the country's first national real estate agency network. A decade later, LJ Hooker’s residential and commercial divisions were the largest sales and management agents in Australia.


LJ Hooker died in 1976. His company was bought out by George Herscu, who then sold the company to Suncorp Metway to pay off a $1.77 billion debt. It was eventually returned to the family in 2009, bought out from Suncorp-Metway LJ Hooker’s grandson, Janusz Hooker.


Genetic Make-Up:


LJ Hooker, born Leslie Joseph Tingyou, was the son of Ellen “Nellie” Tingyou, a woman of partial Chinese descent. In 1925, LJ Hooker changed his last name from Tingyou to Hooker. It was likely that this last name came from an anglicised version of his step-father’s last name Hookin, who was born Hook Yin. Hooker’s Chinese heritage was kept a secret until some years after his death.


Strengths:

  • Work Ethic - Despite coming from a poor background, LJ Hooker was able to make his business one of the strongest, if not the strongest, Real Estate Brand in Australia.

  • Determination - His first attempt at opening a real estate business failed. This didn’t deter him from trying again, opening up a much more successful company that persisted through a world war and financial up and downs.

  • Benevolence - LJ Hooker was known to be a caring boss and devoted much of his income to charities.


Weakness:

  • Society - Due to the attitudes towards non-anglo Australians and immigrants of the time, LJ Hooker was forced to hide his Chinese ancestry.


Special Talents:


LJ Hooker was a bit of an innovator and had an eye for good marketing. In a choice that was quite bold at the time, LJ Hooker chose bright colours to represent his company. This colours, red and yellow, respectively symbolises the red earth and blazing yellow sun. LJ Hooker chose these colours as he believed these colours were representative of Australia, the place where he wanted his business to grow.


 

Nadya Labiba is an Indonesian-Australian currently in her fourth year of Journalism and Languages and Cultures at University of Technology Sydney. Aside from interning at Captain Bagrat, Nadya is an avid community volunteer and a published contributor at Central News.

Instagram @nadrlabiba


Bevin Liu is an ABC (Australian-born Chinese) in every sense of the word. Thinking that her life was set on a law degree, she is now going into the third year of her undergraduate degree in Journalism and International Studies (Majoring in China). On top of occasionally dropping into Captain Bagrats, she is working as a journalist for a regional newspaper, as the planning editor for Central News and trying to balance it with her new responsibilities as a member of UTS’s Academic Board. She would dabble in her love for animals and strange things through the university’s Cat Society and StartUp Link in her spare time.


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