Australian Biography - Victor Smorgon

Shot Vision Audio In Point
1

Fade up from black
Victor

Freeze frame.
Super:
Victor Smorgon
Born Russia, 1913
Industrialist

Fade to black

Victor sync: We're not people that show off, we're not people that want to be well known. To me it's a surprise that I'm supposed to be important. I don't feel that way. And I don't think it's anybody's business what we have or what we don't have. We are doing, we're creating things, we're helping people, we're helping other people with our creativity in business. We create work for people. And all that is important to us, we think about it, and we are conscious of that. It's not just sort of money, it really has nothing to do - after a certain amount, I'm not talking about the beginning - but when you get to a certain amount of money, whatever that might be, after that the money itself is not important, it's creativity, what you do with the money that's important.

Music

00:02:10
2

Fade up from black. Victor

Robin v/o: Were you ever hungry as a child?

Victor sync: Yes, I was. I was always hungry. I always liked food, and always big. And I probably needed more - my brother's very thin and my sister is very thin, but I was always round and thick, thick bones and big. And so I was hungry.

00:03:09
3

Archival footage. Large group of Russian children sitting at food tables in snow

Victor v/o: But I was hungry mostly because of the lack of food. Many people

00:03:33
4

Archival footage. Line of children collecting food

were starving. And in 1921, it was cannibalism that was practised. Many people

00:03:38
5

Victor

Victor sync: had been caught killing their own child, like a mother and her older daughter would kill a younger child to eat. None of us know what we will do when we are hungry, really hungry.

00:03:45
6

Photo. Victor's father. Slow zoom in

Victor v/o: My father sold a piano to buy a cow, so that we had milk so that we have something to barter with. And

00:03:56
7

Victor

Victor sync: it lived actually inside the house in the bathroom. And it was stolen. It walked away, we don't know how. But my father and I followed the footsteps of the cow until - for about a mile - and then we stopped and obviously it was taken away on a sledge and we never saw it again. So we were left with the food that was left for the cow, was put away for the cow. Which is sunflower seed cakes which were pressed for oil.

00:04:05
8

Photo. Victor as child

Victor v/o: And that was your breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Robin v/o: What did it taste like, the sunflower seeds? They were just the husks.

Victor v/o: Delicious when you're hungry.

00:04:37
9

Victor

Victor sync: It really is. No, it was quite nutritious. It's a - you accept it, you must think in terms of if there's nothing, something is better than nothing.

00:04:46
10

Archival footage. Soldiers marching during Russian Revolution

Robin v/o: What effect did the Russian revolution have on your life?

Victor v/o: And I'm a product of the Revolution.

00:05:00
11

Victor

Victor sync: I was born in 1913, and the Revolution started in 1917 and lasted 'til about 1922.

00:05:07
12

Photo. Victor with his mother and brother

Victor v/o: At the age of 12, or from the age of four to the age of 12,

00:05:13
13

Victor

Victor sync: it was wars and slaughter and murder.

00:05:18
14

Archival. Cannon, soldiers during Russian Revolution

Victor v/o: It wasn't continuous fighting like

00:05:23
15

Archival. Night time fighting in Russian Revolution

for months, it was two or three days and then

00:05:26
16

Archival. Soldiers en masse with cannon behind. Some carry flags.

they won, either the Red Army or the White Army. And once it's over, the shooting was over, everything

00:05:28
17

Victor

Victor sync: stops, become silent, people start coming out on the streets. If you wanted to put a white flag or a red flag depending which particular army won. And then our game, the children's game, was to collect the empty shells. You know, it was how many you got sort of thing. Like kids play today with marbles.

00:05:36
18

Photo. Group of children, including Victor. Zoom in to Victor

Victor v/o: It was just fun, after it's over you go out and play and you see dead soldiers in the street

00:05:59
19

Archival. Soldiers in square. Russian Revolution.

without taking notice of it because

00:06:06
20

Archival. Injured soldiers. Russian Revolution

it's normal. But you accept it

00:06:07
21

Archival. Soldiers at train. Russian Revolution

because that's where you live.

00:06:10
22

Victor

Victor sync: It's not that bad, you know.

00:06:12
23

Archival footage. Jews walking through town

Robin v/o: Was your own family

00:06:15
24

Archival footage. Jewish boy on street

ever a victim of anti-Jewish

00:06:17
25

Archival footage. Two Jewish boys running

feeling?

Victor v/o: Continuously.

00:06:20
26

Archival footage. Group of Jewish men walking.

Almost everywhere.

00:06:22
27

Victor

Victor sync: There was always that right through the Jewish life in Russia, in Europe, everywhere else except possibly Australia.

00:06:25
28

Archival footage. Group at night running with torches. Russian Revolution.

Victor v/o: At the time of the revolution Father was away, and there was a mob of men, a hundred people, surrounded the house and they

00:06:33
29

Archival. Soldiers running at night. Russian Revolution.

gold, demanded anything.

00:06:42
30

Archival. People running from burning homes during Russian Revolution.

So they'd go into houses, start pulling everything

00:06:43
31

Victor

Victor sync: apart looking for gold. And they didn't find any. Father wasn't there. Father was the personality that would have quietened them down, would have given them something and they would have gone away. But mother couldn't handle them and that's when she broke down

00:06:46
32

Photo. Victor's mother. Slow zoom in

Victor v/o: and become paralysed. It wasn't an immediate paralysis, it was gradual, took about six months by the time she became completely immovable. Just her eyes were the only thing that worked. Her eyes worked but no other part of the body worked. She'd

00:07:03
33

Victor

Victor sync: cry, and you'd see the tears and she'd look at you and you'd know that she was looking at you. And you were, again, there was nothing much you could do. Except my father tried very hard to - because theirs was a love marriage. Usually the marriages at that time were organised by the parents.

00:07:21
34

Photo. Victor's father

Victor v/o: And so it wasn't a question that he didn't love her. But he had four children to look after.

00:07:45
35

Victor

Victor sync: And he had to have maids.

00:07:52
36

Photo. Victor's brother as child. Pan right across Victor's mother and Victor

Victor v/o: But nobody would stay with four young kids that wild, particularly my brother and I. We were really wild. That's why I understand the kids of today

00:07:55
37

Photo. Victor's stepmother. Slow zoom in.

Victor v/o: Until he met this woman who was educated, lived in Siberia. But eventually -- so she's then accepted my father who bought her for a bottle of oil for her mother, so her mother could survive.

Robin v/o: And this was the woman your father married after he divorced your mother.

00:08:10
38

Victor

Victor sync: who are homeless and run round the streets. We used to be like that.

00:08:16
39

Victor

Do you think that your father felt guilty at all about your mother?

Victor sync: Yes, I think he did. And he felt guilty all his life.

00:08:28
40

Photo. Detail of previous. Victor and his mother. Slow zoom in to Victor

Victor v/o: We of course, later when we grew up we understood that, why Father did it, why he left, why he remarried. The only reason

00:08:36
41

Victor

Victor sync: they got married is because we came to Australia. Because he had to have, couldn't have two wives on the same passport.

00:08:46
42

Photo. Group of people on board ship

Robin v/o: What made your father decide to come to Australia?

Victor v/o: Lenin introduced the New Economic Policy

00:08:54
43

Victor

Victor sync: in Russia, that would have been about 1921. And then things started being

00:09:02
44

Archival footage. Russian town street

Victor v/o: much better, in terms of they became

00:09:09
45

Archival footage. Town street in Russia. Tram in background

normal, you do any business you like, you could do

00:09:11
46

Archival footage. Lenin

whatever you wanted to. It was free during that period.

00:09:14
47

Victor

Victor sync: But in 1926-27, Stalin came into power

00:09:18
48

Archival footage. Stalin on balcony, Russia

Victor v/o: and he destroyed all that. And anybody who

00:09:23
49

Archival footage. Stalin viewing May Day parade, Russia

resisted anything that Stalin wanted

00:09:27
50

Archival footage. Soldiers marching in May Day Parade

was killed. They didn't mess around with

00:09:29
51

Victor

Victor sync: courts or justice or democracy. They just simply killed.

00:09:33
52

Archival footage. Stalin and officer saluting soldiers

Victor v/o: And that's when my father decided it's time to go.

Robin v/o: Do you remember what you felt when you first arrived in Australia,

00:09:37
53

Victor

and what it was like to you?

Victor sync: Well, the - when we arrived in Fremantle,

00:09:44
54

Archival footage. Pilot boat on sea

Victor v/o: the Jewish community picked us

00:09:51
55

Archival footage. Ship in dock

up from Fremantle, took us into Perth. All

00:09:54
56

Archival footage. People in silhouette leaning over side of ship

the Jewish passengers that were on that boat. And

00:09:57
57

Victor

Victor sync: they had an afternoon tea or lunch or whatever, the table was laden with food. I hadn't seen that before. It was a table full of food. I knew it's a Russian custom, by the way, but I came from an era where there was no food to put on the table. And everybody was so nice. And the first time I ever had a ride in a car.

00:10:01
58

Archival footage. From above. Melbourne streets.

Victor v/o: That was the first welcome. And then in Melbourne again, when we arrived in Melbourne, there was the relations that were already here.

00:10:22
59

Archival footage. Melbourne, beside Yarra River

And we were taken to my auntie's place. And then they had the house ready for us, which we moved into, all

00:10:29
60

Archival footage. Melbourne road

excited about meeting the cousins again and all that. It was all very exciting.

00:10:36
61

Archival footage. Car passes in front of camera. Camera wings round to Shrine of Remembrance

And then you settled down after a while.

00:10:40
62

Archival footage. Melbourne street corner. Trams on road

Robin v/o: You arrived in 1927. Not long after that, the worst of the Depression

00:10:45
63

Archival footage. Man throwing bread to men below truck. Depression

started to really hit. Do you remember that and the effect it had

00:10:50
64

Archival footage. People catching bread. Depression.

on life in Carlton?

Victor v/o: For us

00:10:54
65

Archival footage. People clambering for bread from truck. Depression.

there was no Depression. For any

00:10:57
66

Archival. Woman with child who is trying to get food. Depression

immigrant there was no Depression. Because you come with nothing

00:10:59
67

Victor

Victor sync: and every time you make a penny you're already better off than you were yesterday. Where people that had money during the Depression lost it, for them it was very hard. And today, if I lost what I've got, it'd be very, very hard for me to get, to do the same thing. Because you know, you already had something, it's very hard to repeat the performance again, if you don't have any money. But when you start with nothing, it's very easy. You accept it. We didn't know there was a Depression on.

00:11:03
68

Newspaper advertisement for Smorgan [sic] Bros & Batagol Co. butchers

Robin v/o: Your father and his brothers started a butchers' shop in Lygon Street.

00:11:32
69

Archival footage. Interior butchers' shop

How did you discover your

00:11:37
70

Archival footage. Meat on trays in butchers shop

own entrepreneurial gifts?

Victor v/o: After school

00:11:39
71

Archival footage. Meat in butchers' shop

I used to go to the

00:11:42
72

Archival footage. Meat on trays in butchers shop.

butcher's shop to work with my father and my uncles. And

00:11:44
73

Victor

Victor sync: there was Jewish women we used to buy live fowls at Victoria meat market and bring to the ritual slaughter man, he killed kosher, and then they'd pluck them there or take them home and pluck them. So I thought if I plucked them myself, bought them and plucked them and sold it to them, save them the job and I could make some profits. So I asked my father would he lend me £2. He said yes.

00:11:47
74

Archival footage. Auction in fish market

Victor v/o: So the first day I got an order for six. And at the auction I have

00:12:13
75

Archival. Group of men at auction

picked out one cage and

00:12:20
76

Victor

Victor sync: I said it's me, me, me, me, me, me, me! To take notice of me, to - that's my bid, realising I'm buying. And then he knocked it down to me, whatever the price was, two and tuppence or two and threepence. And I'm a millionaire, I've got six chickens.

00:12:22
77

Archival. Chickens in cage

Victor v/o: And then I present them, when the women came in I sold them the chickens at a very high price.

00:12:41
78

Victor

Victor sync: For me it was a high price, about three times what I paid for it. And they didn't mind. They paid me and then from then on, for the next few weeks, 'til the end of the year in fact,

00:12:47
79

Archival footage. Cabs and cars outside Queen Victoria Markets.

Victor v/o: I was dealing in chickens. And making round about three or four pounds

00:13:00
80

Archival footage. Young man on bicycle with cart on back outside Queen Victoria Markets

a week. In those days, a working man was only 30 shillings.

00:13:05
81

Victor

Victor sync: So I was very rich.

00:13:10
82

Photo. Victor with his arm round two friends

Victor v/o: It was all excitement. Every time you'd buy something, every time you'd

00:13:13
83

Photo. Detail of previous. Victor

sell something, it's exciting. It's alive,

00:13:17
84

Victor

Victor sync: it keeps you alive, keeps you dreaming more. Not more for money's sake, but more a success. Which is measured by money.

00:13:20
85

Photo. Victor's father

Robin v/o: Did your father have the same dream of success?

Victor v/o: He used to talk

00:13:29
86

Photo. Victor as a young man playing ukulele

in terms of tens of thousands, and I used to talk in terms of hundreds of thousands. And he said to me why do you always talk in hundreds of

00:13:35
87

Victor

Victor sync: thousands? Because in those days a hundred thousand is like a billion today. I said if we achieve ten percent of what we're dreaming about, look how much more money I'll have than you. And he appreciated that. And that's really, I really mean it. The bigger you think the better chance you have of making it big. Maybe not all the way big, but half way big is big.

00:13:44
88

Photo. Victor as young man

Robin v/o: And through your big ideas the family business expanded into wholesale

00:14:12
89

Archival footage. Australian soldiers WWII

and export and finally

00:14:17
90

Archival footage. WWII soldiers leaving on ship

during the war you needed government

00:14:19
91

Archival footage. Exterior parliament House

permission to build your own abattoirs.

00:14:22
92

Archival. Interior parliament house

Who did you go to see?

Victor v/o: Ben Chifley.

00:14:25
93

Victor

Victor sync: And I walked into his office and introduced myself. And my slight, slight - I still had some accent, I still have a little bit, but not as much - and I told him the story more or less what I'm telling you. How we started and we arrived and how the family worked together, and how we're building an abattoirs. He was fascinated.

00:14:27
94

Archival footage. Ben Chifley

Victor v/o: So Chifley said to me, "Well leave it to me, I'll try my best. I can't do it on my own but I'll do, I'll try to do it for you."

00:14:48
95

Victor

Victor sync: And I went down to see this man who was one of the bureaucrats. He says yes, it's been passed in Parliament and you can have your license, you can start tomorrow. And it happened to be on the Jewish holiday there, Yom Kippur.

00:14:56
96

Photo. Synagogue

Victor v/o: So I caught the plane and went back to Melbourne and went straight to synagogue where all the family was, and broke the news to them that we got it.

00:15:12
97

Victor

Victor sync: God helped somewhere, I think. I think Chifley helped. He was the God.

00:15:20
98

Photo. Smorgon's abattoir

Robin v/o: From when you got that meat works put in and that big industry there, really, established, things

00:15:28
99

Archival footage. Sheep dog running over sheep's back

started to really take off, didn't they and you started

00:15:37
100

Archival footage. Man with carcass at abattoir

diversifying. How did that come about?

Victor v/o: Well, in the first place we

00:15:40
101

Archival footage. Man with carcass at abattoir

became the largest meat exporters,

00:15:46
102

Archival footage. Staff in meat canning factory

and meat can makers in Australia. We used to produce about a million cans of canned meat all going to England. England started talking about

00:15:48
103

Archival. Interior, meat canning factory

the Common Market,

00:15:57
104

Victor

Victor sync: and Common Market meant that Australia will be out of it. So we have to find another industry. And that's when we got into paper. We looked for a monopoly. Because we had the experience of working against big people, we knew that we could do very well in other industries with big people,

00:15:59
105

Paper mill

because as a family we could do many things

00:16:17
106

Interior paper mill

Victor v/o: and make quick decisions.

00:16:19
107

Interior paper mill

And do whatever's

00:16:20
108

Production of egg cartons

necessary to improvise,

00:16:21
109

Production of egg cartons

to start a paper mill.

Robin v/o: You took on the big

00:16:23
110

Pallets of stacked paper and plastic goods

monopolies by recycling paper, plastics, and finally you went into competition with the biggest monopoly of them all -- BHP.

00:16:26
111

Interior steel mill

What made you think you could succeed with a recycled steel mill?

00:16:35
112

Victor

Victor sync: It's a sausage factory. It's exactly the same process. They take scrap and they put it into a big kettle

00:16:43
113

Cartoon of sausage factory. Pan up to caption: STEEL SAUSAGES?

Victor v/o: and they melt it. They put some minerals, add, test what minerals they're short of.

00:16:52
114

Victor

Victor sync: It's like adding salt or pepper or whatever to a sausage.

00:16:58
115

Satirical drawing of Victor with sausages

Victor v/o: And then they put it in moulds.

00:17:03
116

Detail of previous drawing

At that time BHP was very arrogant,

00:17:06
117

Crane lifting scrap metal

being a monopoly. I wouldn't mind

00:17:09
118

Scrap metal yard

being in their place mind you, but

00:17:14
119

Furnace. Zoom out to WS

they were there. And they demanded a payment

00:17:17
120

Molten metal

before they delivered any product.

00:17:21
121

Victor

Victor sync: You had to order six weeks ahead, the product they wanted, which usually was delivered about four months later and not six weeks later. They didn't give any service whatsoever.

00:17:23
122

Molten metal

Victor v/o: They didn't deliver. And cash up front.

00:17:33
123

Interior steel plant

So we said to our

00:17:37
124

Steel rods on conveyor

customers we will deliver wherever you want it, in any city you want it, at a time that you want it.

00:17:39
125

Victor

Victor sync: And we will give you seven days credit.

00:17:45
126

Steel yard

Victor v/o: And of course, that helped a lot. And we started getting orders immediately. To this day we're getting orders on the same basis.

00:17:50
127

Victor

Robin v/o: Going right back now to your youth in Carlton, did you take any time out from business for a social life?

Victor sync: Yes, I did.

00:18:00
128

Photo. Interior young men at women at club

Victor v/o: There was a Jewish club in Carlton called Morischel's. And every Sunday we would be meeting there.

00:18:10
129

Victor

Victor sync: And then Loti came on the scene, to the same club.

00:18:17
130

Photo. Loti and Victor

Victor v/o: Well I knew who she was, and I came up and asked her for a dance. That's when the romance started.

00:18:22
131

Victor

Victor sync: And we've lived very happily ever since.

Music

00:18:29
132

Archival footage. Victor and Loti dancing, Loti with baby [4 shots]

Robin v/o: Why do you think your marriage has been so successful for so long?

Victor v/o: I think it's a question of give and take.

00:18:36
133

Victor

Victor sync: I take, she gives, or vice versa. And just personalities,

00:18:50
134

Photo. Loti holding baby

Victor v/o: because I'm loud and I'm wild, I was wild. And she was quiet and

00:18:56
135

Victor

Victor sync: without saying so she'd quieten me down. In her presence I'd be quieted down because I didn't want to embarrass her, so I'd control myself. I'd control the way I speak, the way I behave, all that. Because I know she doesn't like it. So you do for her because you love the person,

00:19:03
136

Photo. Victor holding baby and daughter on his knee

Victor v/o: because you want to please the person. Also we travelled a lot together

00:19:20
137

Photo. Loti with her four daughters

Victor v/o: because of the business I was involved in. I said to her that if

00:19:24
138

Victor

Victor sync: I had to travel then I want you to come with me. Don't expect me to be faithful, because I won't be. So she said who's arguing with you, I'm coming.

00:19:30
139

Photo. Loti. Pan down to Victor

Victor v/o: So ever since then we would travel always together, every trip. And so she used to go through the day to the galleries,

00:19:40
140

Photo. Victor and Loti

I used to go off and do business, then we would meet and have dinner together and go to theatre or pictures or sleep or whatever.

00:19:50
141

Photo. Victor with Liza Minnelli

And so it was a very pleasant life for both of us. She wasn't

00:19:58
142

Photo. Loti and Victor with Andy Warhol

bored because she was doing her own thing. And in the art world,

00:20:03
143

Victor

Victor sync: people immediately assume that I'm the one that's the art person. I tell them I'm not, my wife is. I support what she does, I love what she does, but she's the one, the important one in the arts, not I.

00:20:09
144

Photo. Victor and Loti with Andy Warhol standing in front of Warhol portrait of Loti

Victor v/o: I'm a follower, I'm her follower, her support, I give her support,

00:20:23
145

Warhol's Loti portrait hanging in room

but I don't know very much about art. Only a bit that I learnt through Loti.

Robin v/o: Do you think

00:20:28
146

Victor

that there is something creative about business?

Victor sync: I think that business is much more creative than anything else in the world. You have a look at businesses, each one of them is different. Same as paintings are different. Every businessman creates something new.

00:20:35
147

Paper rubbish. Zoom out to bale of paper

Victor v/o: To create that idea is in your mind in the first place. You start talking to other people who might or might not

00:20:53
148

Huge rolls of paper

understand you, but you start talking about it. They contribute something to it. Say why don't you do it this way, why don't you do it

00:21:01
149

Exterior Smorgon Plastics factory

that way. And so you start thinking, yes, that might be the way to go. But you have that aim

00:21:06
150

Victor

Victor sync: of reaching that point over there. And you fight that 'til you reach that point.

00:21:11
151

Metal ingot on production line

Victor v/o: And that's how business people work, creative

00:21:17
152

Production of metal ingots

business people. And there are other business people who are just machines.

00:21:20
153

Victor

Victor sync: They just do what they're told and they're very good at it, and they do the same thing over and over and over again. And their nature allows them to do that. But they're not creative. They're just running a business. That's not what I'm about, I'm about creating businesses and have been all my life.

00:21:24
154

Archival footage. Victor with male family member

Robin v/o: You emerged as the leader of your family company at a young age and you remained

00:21:42
155

Victor

a family company, not going public, for very many years, through many, many different projects.

Victor sync: Yes, yes.

Robin v/o: How did it work?

Victor sync: It worked very simply. The policy was that everything that's made stays in the business. If you were somebody who needs to buy a house, he was allowed to take the money out of the business

00:21:49
156

Archival footage. Smorgon family gathering

Victor v/o: and buy a house. The principle of the Smorgon family was always to work together.

00:22:13
157

Archival footage. Smorgon children

It's not just one man. It's always a group. And anybody, regardless of age - you're 17,

00:22:20
158

Victor

Victor sync: you had veto rights, if you're 70 you had veto rights. And the veto rights - in other words it becomes a consensus. So if I have an idea and you're part of the family and you're working and you say I don't like that idea, I have to convince you that it's a good idea, which I've done many times. Or he has to convince me, or others have to convince me that it won't work, it can't work, we better not do it. So then I have to compromise and so through a series of compromises.

00:22:29
159

Exterior Smorgon factory

Victor v/o: But eventually it has to be 100 percent

00:22:56
160

Truck

agreement, otherwise it's not done. The most important thing in our success, is that mutual trust.

Robin v/o: Despite all this

00:22:59
161

Interior steel plant

in the early 90s the family broke up -- how did that happen?

00:23:08
162

View of interior offices through glass doors. Track through doors

Victor v/o: Some of the younger people said we've got to modernise

00:23:12
163

Glass lift

-- we became too big. Too many of us, too many and too big.

00:23:16
164

Interior offices

So somebody suggested

00:23:19
165

Woman walking past sculptures in office

to bring in consultants. To my mind, a consultant

00:23:22
166

Victor

Victor sync: takes your watch and tells you your time. Because they learn from you what you're doing and then they're trying to - they never created anything themselves. They only advise people from what they read in a book. They are not practical. And particularly in our case, certainly we were a very unusual company, working the way we did. And that was destroyed by creating four levels of management where there's only one level of management in the first place.

00:23:27
167

Younger members of the family and others entering room followed by Victor. Family Board meeting.

Victor v/o: And younger people wanted to - said to us, to the older generation, you should resign and we'll run the company. So we agreed to that. And they'll have a chance to be there, you have to get in and let them do it. But unfortunately they took the

00:23:57
168

Woman holding cup and saucer. Zoom out to family members at meeting

- they changed the system from the system that worked to a system that didn't work. So then

00:24:14
169

Victor at meeting

the family got together and decided, again by

00:24:19
170

Victor

Victor sync: consensus, decided to sell out. And split up. Very nicely, very friendly. It was no arguments, there was no hurt,

00:24:22
171

Family meeting

Victor v/o: there was no - we're still friends and help each other. And each on has gone a different way within their own families,

00:24:30
172

Victor addressing meeting

and each one is doing very well on their own.

Robin v/o: In relation

00:24:43
173

Victor

to the community, and in your personal life dealing with the community, you're very famous, and unusually so in the Australian context, for philanthropy. What's the philosophy behind your giving?

Victor sync: Well, I think it's very simple. There's no mysteries about it, there's no - everybody can do it. It's a need to do it by most people that I have started from nothing and want to share whatever country they settled in. In our case, we settled in Australia and we want, we felt that we have to pay back our debt, to Victoria particularly, and Australia generally. How do you help that, how do you do that? You can't give just a person some money, because that's - you can give it to ten, fifty, a hundred people, five hundred people, a thousand people. But you can't give it to the community. And the only way you can do it to the community is to be generous to, with larger sums, to hospitals particularly.

00:24:46
174

Exterior of Eye and Ear Hospital, Smorgon Family Outpatients Wing. Zoom out to EWS of hospital

Victor v/o: Because in hospital once - whether you're black, white, Jewish, Irish, whatever you are, whatever religion you are,

00:25:50
175

Exterior of Royal Children's Hospital

whatever colour you are, whatever language you speak, we all,

00:25:58
176

Interior hospital. Zoom in to sign: Smorgon Family Intensive Car, Neonatal, Operating Rooms

once we get to hospital, they put a gown on you and you're all the same, you're all equal. So therefore you're

00:26:04
177

Photo. Victor making speech at opening of hospital wing

looking after a lot of people, they get use out of your generosity if you like, call it generosity.

00:26:11
178

Photo. Museum of Contemporary Art on Circular Quay, Sydney

Robin v/o: Yes, you give generously to the arts too, don't you?

00:26:20
179

Victor

Victor sync: Yes. For the same reason.

00:26:23
180

Photo. Loti & Victor Smorgon Gallery

Everybody who goes to the gallery gets the benefit of seeing the art.

Robin v/o: Now that you've achieved your dream of wealth,

00:26:26
181

Photo. Loti and Victor standing in front of painting with Leon Paroissien

what lies ahead for you Victor?

Victor v/o: Now, I have plenty of money.

00:26:34
182

Victor

Victor sync: And I can't spend it before I die. My children will spend it. But I still want to achieve, I want to achieve huge amounts. I want to repeat what I started with,

00:26:38
183

Photo. Victor holding meat

Victor v/o: what I did up to the age of 80

00:26:51
184

Photo. Detail of previous, Victor

when we were partners with the rest of the family. And I want to

00:26:54
185

Victor

Fade to black

Victor sync: repeat the same thing again before I kick the bucket, before I die. And if I'm lucky enough to live another five, six years, maybe ten, I'll make it.

00:26:59
186

Fade up from black. Credit sequence over photo of room in Victor's home
Credits roll
Interviewer
ROBIN HUGHES

Editor
KIM MOODIE

Directors of Photography
JENNI MEANEY

Music Composed by
GUY GROSS

Sound Recordist
MARK TARPEY

00:27:10
187

Production Manager
JEANNINE BAKER

Sound Post Production
MICHAEL GISSING
DIGITAL CITY STUDIOS

Online Editor
ROEN DAVIS
VISUALEYES

Production Supervisor
IAN ADKINS

00:27:26
188

Production Accountant
JANETTE GOULD

Research
JEANNINE BAKER
BRIGID PHELAN

Transcripts
KERRIE MCGOVAN

Archival Sources
FILM AUSTRALIA
FILMWORLD
KATE GOLLINGS
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
NATIONAL GALLERY OF AUSTRALIA
MONIQUE SCHWARZ
ERIC SMORGON
VICTOR SMORGON
YIVO FOUNDATION

00:27:32
189

Produced and Directed by
ROBIN HUGHES

Executive Producer
MEGAN McMURCHY

Made in association with SBS TV

Dissolve to:

00:27:43
190

Film Australia National Interest Program logo

Fade to black

00:27:47
Copyright & Legal