In 1969, a group of visionary property leaders gathered to create an association that could set standards, educate, advocate, and speak with one voice. Read our proud story.
When Australia’s Building Owners and Managers Association opened its doors in 1969, our nation’s world-class property industry was in its infancy.
Building and rent controls, imposed during the Great Depression and only repealed after the Second World War, had taken their toll. Superannuation was confined to the public sector, and not one life or pension fund was empowered to invest in property. Building height limits were set by fire-ladder lengths.
Few investors understood the concept of property as an asset class, and it was often relegated to the ‘miscellaneous’ column of the balance sheet, alongside the office furniture.
But a surge of population growth and rapidly expanding manufacturing capabilities had begun to change the shape of Australia’s cities. Business districts and multi-storey headquarters were springing up in our capital cities as demand for office space grew.
The post-war construction boom, led by visionary immigrants like Dick Dusseldorp, Frank Lowy, Ervin Graf and Luigi Grollo, fuelled innovation and investment in new technologies, construction methods and materials: lifts and air-conditioning, concrete and steel, curtain glass walls and pre-cast panelling. The sophistication of these buildings demanded professionals who could run them.
In 1968, the long-term head of AMP Property, Ray Powys, saw the potential for property as an investment asset class. He gathered together representatives from large property companies, national mutual societies and insurance firms, all with portfolios of large commercial buildings.
Looking to the United States, Ray and his colleagues found inspiration in a model that had created a profession of asset managers and advocated on the industry’s behalf. In 1969, Australia’s Building Owners and Managers Association was born.
While BOMA was originally established as an educational and professional body, it soon evolved to represent the interests of members on matters of public policy. Governments looked to BOMA for advice. A growing calendar of events connected the burgeoning industry, in turn supporting investment in advocacy, research and standard-setting.
Our organisation has steered the property industry’s course through both calm seas and rough waters. We weathered high inflation and unemployment in the 1970s, and the booms and busts of the 1980s. We were there to advocate for our industry as it was alternatively buoyed by reform and weighted down by recession through the 1990s. And we were there through the global financial crisis and beyond.
Today, we represent Australia’s largest industry, shaping cities and creating communities. Property captures the headlines and headspace of everyone from the Prime Minister down, and our advocacy efforts drive national debate and discourse.
Today, the Property Council champions an industry creating great places for people. We speak with a strong voice and we tell the industry's inspiring stories to the world.
And today, Australians have a deeper respect for property as a driver of growth, prosperity and opportunity – and of the central economic role this industry plays in the life of our nation.
Read more stories in our proud shared history on our special 50-year celebration site, which features an interactive timeline, photos through the eras and a video that captures five decades of highlights.