One of the original white shoe brigadiers, Eddie Kornhauser, was
a Polish migrant made good who befriended prime ministers and
The property developer, who has died on the Gold Coast aged 87,
was one of Queensland's richest men with a personal fortune
estimated at about $350 million.
A spokesman for his Surfers Paradise-based HSP Property Group
said on Thursday Mr Kornhauser died "peacefully" on Wednesday in a
Gold Coast hospital.
Mr Kornhauser mixed with some of the nation's most powerful
people and was a long-time friend of former prime minister Bob
During the 1980s he also enjoyed close ties with the developer
friendly Bjelke-Petersen government in Queensland.
But Mr Kornhauser came under opposition scrutiny and was accused
in state parliament of money laundering.
He was particularly close to "Minister for Everything" the late
Russ Hinze, a relationship which led to three charges of official
corruption arising from the Fitzgerald inquiry.
In 1991, Mr Kornhauser was acquitted in the Queensland District
Court following an eight-week trial on allegations he paid money to
Hinze family companies in return for corrupt business favours.
He cried after being found not guilty and later said the ordeal
had haunted him.
"You never forget these things," he said. "But I move forward. I
don't go backwards."
Mr Kornhauser was born in Krakow, Poland, in 1918, and his
family moved to the German capital, Berlin, when he was a
The Jewish family fled Nazi Germany in the late 1930s and Mr
Kornhauser and his brother Jack migrated to Australia, settling in
The brothers opened what would become a successful fur business
and later expanded to Sydney, where Mr Kornhauser's interest in
property developments started.
He built Kay House, the first central city, post-war high rise
in Sydney on the present MLC Centre site. He pioneered the planning
of the famous Menzies Hotel in Sydney and built five Melbourne
Mr Kornhauser moved to the Gold Coast in the early 1970s and
formed the HSP Property Group which developed many ambitious
projects, including the Paradise Centre in Surfers Paradise. The
company is also prominent on the Sunshine Coast and in north
A keen sports watcher who supported Geelong in the AFL, Mr
Kornhauser also invested in the racing industry and in 1990s had
success with the horse Stargazer.
Mr Kornhauser was said to inspire incredible loyalty from his
friends and staff.
"I have good friendships and you know why? I never ask them for
favours," he was quoted as saying.
Mr Kornhauser, who divorced his wife in the 1980s, is survived
by two sons and a daughter. A private funeral for Mr Kornhauser was
held on Thursday in Melbourne.