Class of 1975

Born third in a line-up of four brothers who attended Aquinas, Graham was Captain of the School in 1975, a stellar year, and immersed himself in most areas of college life. He was Captain of Peter’s House, Captain of Boats, a Cadet CUO, a member of the Biology Society and the Rowing Committee and achieved what must be a one and only for the school: winner of the Accountancy Prize as well as Runner Up for Best Actor for his brilliant performance in Cox and Box, in his leaving year.

Graham read Law at UWA and arrived in the workforce as a clerk at leading WA law firm Jackson McDonald at the beginning of a commercial property boom, and this became his focus. Specifically, he made a name for himself dealing in high profile but problematic acquisitions. He rose through the practice and helped restructure Jackson McDonald from a traditional partnership to a CEO and Board model, becoming a member of its first board and chair of the board for ten years from 2002. His impressive legal career over 35 years saw him become a well-known and active member of his profession and the property sector.

Graham fast gained a reputation for running nonexecutive activities efficiently and was asked back to his alma mater where he spent six of his ten years on the board of Aquinas College as chair. When the Christian Brothers released the ownership and governance of their Catholic schools to what became Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) in 2007, Graham was appointed as a member of the inaugural Council (or Trustees) and has been the EREA Board chair since 2013. Others say Graham is a good listener who has a unique ability to convert complicated issues into simple concepts. This is very evident in his successful portfolio career. As a long-standing member of the board and current chair, Graham has helped State Government agency VenuesWest through an aggressive portfolio expansion over a decade. But the real achievement for Graham was as a layperson playing a key role in the formation of EREA as the body that took over the Christian Brothers’ schools ministry and in making its own valuable contribution to Catholic education in Australia.

In many speeches, he has made over the years, but especially to young people starting out in their careers, Graham suggests that we should be very deliberate and focused around the sort of person we want to be, to guide our behaviours as we progress through our life and career. He regards integrity – what he calls the alignment of what we think, and say, and do – as an essential personal characteristic to strive for.