6 June 2022

Property Council inducts 'Mr Canberra' into Hall of Fame

| Ian Bushnell
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Jim Service

The late Jim Service oversaw the transformation of the Property Council so it could work with governments to help solve the public policy challenges facing the country. Photo: Property Council.

The man known as ‘Mr Canberra’, the late Jim Service, has been honoured for his pioneering contributions to the property industry at a Property Council event in the Great Hall at Parliament House on Monday night (6 June).

Mr Service, who died last year aged 88, and ANU alumni Dr Seek Ngee Haut, were inducted into the Australian Property Hall of Fame.

Property Council Chief Executive Ken Morrison said Mr Service and Dr Seek’s induction recognised both leaders’ pioneering contributions and remarkable legacies.

“The Australian Property Hall of Fame celebrates those individuals who have left a lasting legacy to the industry and the community, and both Jim Service and Dr Seek can sit proudly among this group,” he said.

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Mr Morrison said Mr Service was an exceptional person who played a major role in the property industry and positively shaped the nation’s capital.

“Jim was known as ‘Mr Canberra’ and he was tremendously influential in the evolution of the nation’s capital for more than two decades,” he said.

“He also left a legacy across the industry, overseeing the transformation of the Property Council in 1996 with a fresh focus on our industry’s role in working with governments to help solve the public policy challenges facing the country.”

Jim Service’s son James attended the ceremony along with Jim’s widow Dorothy, sons Adrian and Robert and daughter Cathy and daughters-in-law Sue and Julie.

“This is an extraordinary honour for Dad and the family, and we know he would be very humbled to be recognised in this way,” James Service said.

“We miss him, of course, but his legacy very much lives on in the city we call home – one he would say he played a small role in helping to shape.”

Jim Service’s national property business, JG Service Pty Ltd, became a success story beyond Canberra and was responsible for billions of dollars in property development and investment.

A chair of banks, national institutions and utilities, Jim was also nationally recognised as a role model for business leaders in the community at local, Australian and international levels.

In 2001 Jim was named Canberran of the Year and received the Centenary Medal for service to Australia’s construction industry.

In 2004 he was elevated from Member of the Order of Australia to Officer of the Order of Australia for service to business and the community.

Dr Seek Ngee Haut

Dr Seek Ngee Haut: helped professionalise the industry. Photo: Property Council

Mr Morrison said the induction of Dr Seek recognised his role in laying the foundations for Australia’s institutional property sector and his global career in Australia, Singapore and across the world.

“Australia is renowned for having one of the world’s most transparent and professional property industries, and for this, we owe a debt of gratitude to Australia’s first property PhD.

“Dr Seek helped create the research base that has proven to be a lasting advantage to this country and then built a global real estate portfolio at GIC, including in many iconic assets across Australia.

“Transparency and global capital partnerships are two defining characteristics of the Australian property industry, and Dr Seek created legacies in both.”

Dr Seek said it was an honour to be inducted into the Australian Property Hall of Fame.

“It is a pleasure to be inducted into the Property Hall of Fame; joining such a prodigious list of inductees is an immense honour,” he said.

The Property Council’s Hall of Fame was established in 2012. Other inductees have included Frank Lowy, Carol Schwartz, Sir John Pidgeon, Sir Keith Campbell and Sir Albert Jennings.

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