These life stories may contain descriptions of childhood trauma and abuse, as well as images, voices and names of people now deceased. If you need help, you can find contact details for some relevant support services on our support page.

Prominent Western Australian businessman and philanthropist, George Jones (b. circa 1944), was in a children’s home as a child.

George Jones was removed from his parents at the age of five due to their struggles with alcoholism. He, two sisters, and his brother experienced significant financial hardship and instability before involvement from the Salvation Army.

My mother and stepfather were chronic alcoholics, we weren’t fed and clothed properly and school wasn’t great. In fact, we were pretty close to street urchins. My parents would rent a house, pay the fee a couple of times and then stop until we were all kicked out (Medical Forum).

The siblings were kept together and in a long-term placement then known as the Parkerville Children’s Home. The home was established in 1909 by the Community of the Sisters of the Church. In 2005 it became known as Parkerville Children and Youth Care (Inc).  George Jones remembers the home as strict, but loving.

First stop was the Salvos and then Parkerville. We got decent food and, just as importantly, emotional support from our Cottage Parents who actually had their own children living there, too. It was something like a normal life. Sure, there were rules and we had to apply ourselves but that’s where I developed a strong work ethic. I copped a caning on a regular basis, but we are talking about the 1950s after all (Medical Forum),

George Jones left Parkerville to find work and live independently at the age of fifteen.

They gave me £20, which was enough to live on for a month in the 1960s, put me on a train to Perth with an address where I could stay as a boarder. I knew I was responsible for what came next and I also realised that I couldn’t just sit around hoping things would get better (Medical Forum).

George soon found work as a tradesman then served in the army during the Vietnam War. He subsequently earned enough money to buy land and build a house and he later finished a business degree at Curtin University.

George Jones went on to become a highly successful businessman. In 2009 he stepped down as chairman of Sundance Resources, Ltd. One year later he came out of retirement to oversee a restructure of the mining company after the entire board of directors tragically died in an aeroplane crash.

George Jones has long been a highly dedicated supporter of various community programmes, including those which are of personal significance to him. For example, after a fifteen-year struggle with a misdiagnosed inner ear condition, he was treated for Meniere’s disease at the Ear Science Institute Australia in Subiaco, Western Australia. In a tremendous show of gratitude, the George Jones Family Foundation funded the establishment of a world-class hearing health facility, the George Jones Family Centre in 2011.

As Patron of Parkerville Children and Youth Centre, George Jones has also supported new initiatives for children and young people. This includes the establishment of Australia’s first child advocacy centre, the George Jones Child Advocacy Centre, which also opened in 2011. The centre was highlighted by LotteryWest as a project with the “most significant change” towards improving communities within the last twenty years.

The centre offers team-based trauma-informed assessment to inform child sexual abuse investigations. It also provides comprehensive support to 1200 children a year and aims to raise awareness about the incidence of childhood sexual abuse.

It’s a great community building. We’ve got a lot of support from the media, so people actually see it as a positive (Hanna, 2013).

George Jones was honoured with an Order of Australia Medal at the 2011 Queen’s Birthday honours for his philanthropic work. In 2012, he was named WA Senior Australian of the Year. He believes his role as a philanthropist is to also encourage others to support charities.

..if you look at the list of the 150 richest people in WA there aren’t too many who give much of their wealth away… I used to keep my philanthropy very quiet… we need to take a higher profile because it’s one way to make people think more deeply about their own contributions…

I don’t particularly like having my name on a building but people do recognise the connection and, for places such as Parkerville and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, it’s part of my job to get people to part with their money (Medical Forum).


“George Jones AM.”  Australian of the Year Awards.

“George Jones – Helping Hand to Kids.”Medical Forum, 31 August 2015.

Hanna, B. (2013). “A ground-breaking idea, George Jones Child Advocacy Centre”, in One moment in time. 80 stories – a tribute to the Western Australian community in Lotterywest’s 80th anniversary year (ebook), p. 90-91. Lottery West.

Hickey, Phil. “Gay rights MB Brian Greig, businessman George Jones among honours.” PerthNow, 13 June 2011.

Jones, George. & Linn, Rob.  (2011). “George Jones interviewed by Rob Linn for the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants oral history project.” 19 September 2011, National Library of Australia. 

O’Leary, Cathy. “Mining magnate’s $3m boost for hearing centre.” The West Australian, 25 February 2011.

“Parkerville Children’s Home (1909 – 2005).” Find & Connect, 2021.

“World-Class Research and Clinical facility following our Break the Silence campaign.” Ear Science Institute Australia, 21 June 2017.

Image available here.