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Australia, the magazine : Australia, the magazine
li le English, it made no di erence to the other workers in that factory," he says. " ey accepted me in a ma er-of-fact way. It made no di erence to them that I was a 'new Australian'. For the few months I worked in that factory, I was part of that community." He was pleasantly surprised at his immediate acceptance, and experienced it again and again throughout his life in his new country. He knew he had found a new home. " rough all levels of Australian society, from the factory oor to the top echelons of business, I feel I've always been given 'a fair go'." He was a fast learner and quickly saw the opportunity hard work could bring. He worked seven-day weeks delivering groceries to shops around Sydney, increasing his orders by paying close a ention to his customers' needs. His family was accepted into Sydney's Jewish community and he married an Australian Jewish girl. During his deliveries around Sydney he spo ed a delicatessen next to a suburban railway station and recognised its potential. Sydney's growing migrant community was desperate for the food and co ee from their old homelands. Lowy bought the shop with a partner and it boomed. Ge ing a loan was tough, but a local bank manager saw potential in the young Lowy and agreed to lend him the money from his own pocket to form a company called West eld -- it was in Western Sydney and near a eld -- to build a small shopping centre near the delicatessen. Lowy's shopping centre empire was launched. He'd studied how people shopped and discovered the key to success -- underground car parks so people could drive in and shop in comfort in centres built close to where they lived. It was a successful formula, and one he used time and again. Lowy was involved in every level of the operation, scrutinising every detail. On Saturdays he'd stroll through the shopping centre talking to shop owners and customers, ge ing feedback on what they liked and didn't like. West eld expanded rapidly, building shopping centres across Australia. In the 1970s Lowy took the enormous step of taking his shopping centre formula to the United States. American shopping malls had existed for many years, but they were generally vast impersonal places, spread around a massive parking lot way outside cities at highway junctions. It was tough to break into the American market, but Lowy did his sums and found a run- down mall in Connecticut that had potential. ey cleaned it up, made it more family friendly, opened pedestrian areas, cut the size of the shops, and it took o . Shop owners loved the personal a ention Lowy and his team lavished on them, and they queued to take a spot in West eld malls. Back in Sydney Lowy was expanding into being a major shareholder in giant retail chains and then bought a TV station, the lowest performing network in Australia, with the idea of making it number one. It was a tough struggle but one highlight was winning broadcast rights to the 1988 Seoul Olympics. It gave Lowy access to the world leaders of sport, and he relished the experience. ose who have worked with him say a deal may look hopeless but then at the last minute he would pull something out of his hat to seal it. He frequently worked through the night and all the next day without a break to get a deal done. It was a relentless drive for nancial security. As his three sons David, Peter and Steven became adults, they joined the business. "We eat, sleep and talk business," Lowy says. " is is not an eight-hour a day commitment. We are at it twenty-four hours, on the weekend too." Meanwhile, in what li le free time he had, Lowy was heavily involved in promoting his beloved game of football. In the 1960s, '70s and '80s football in Australia was mostly played by immigrants and teams were built around ethnic groups. Lowy was determined to bring the game up to a professional level and widen its popularity. He pushed the game to be played in summer so it would not compete with more popular sports like rugby league and Australian rules football. He broke down the ethnic base of clubs, transforming them into city- based teams supported by all. Step by step he helped pull football up by its own bootstraps. It was momentum which culminated in 2006 when the Australian team nally won its place to compete in the World Cup in Germany, then this year in South Africa. By the time Lowy reached his ies the strain of intense work started to take its toll. Doctors advised him to ease back. He gave up smoking and threw himself into playing tennis. But there was more at play. W hen a doctor asked about his youth, Lowy suddenly unburdened himself. It was the rst time Lowy ever told anyone of the horrors he lived through as a teenager. e doctor advised him to get it o his chest and tell his family. Lowy gathered his family together, turned o the phones, and for three hours spoke nonstop about his nightmare of sur viving on the streets of Budapest, subject: frank lowy 23 Newspix BEAUTIFUL GAME Recent success by Australia's national team, the Socceroos is supporting Lowy's World Cup dream. Pictured, Tim Cahill.