7 corrections, most recently by anonymous - Show corrections
LANG HANCOCK'S DAUGHTER
Right: Gina and husband Greg Hayward wearing the matching outfits they bought for the Sydney launching of the Worker's Party.
She speaks softly, but with conviction. She talks politics and big business crisply and fluently. From child- hood, she has known the wide horizons and rugged freedom of vast grazing properties. She has seen her millionaire father become a living legend in Western Aus- tralia. Now 21 and mar- ried, she tells how she has been groomed as heir to his iron-ore
Below: Gina and her father, Western Australi- an mining magnate Lang
Right: The Hancock family - Gina, Greg, Mr and Mrs Hancock , boarding their Learjet for
Perth. Picture by Gary
By GLORIA NEWTON
FOR me it all started to happen when I was about ll or 12. I suddenly realised people were becoming aware of my
"I thought I could stay out of it. Then people turned their
interest toward me and I found I
was continually with adults, so I had to mature very quickly."
The words came slowly and thoughtfully from Georgina Hayward, only child of Lang Hancock, the self-styled bushman-prospector, who is reputed to earn $3½ million a
year from iron ore in Western Australia.
The maturity she spoke of sits lightly on the girl who turned 21 on February 9. Softly mannered and spoken, her dark hair was piled high on her head and her blue-grey eves looked out from a
youthfully rounded face.
Georgina - Gina to her family - was in Sydney for a few days when her father was guest of honor at the launching of the new political party, the Workers Party.
They had flown from Perth to
Sydney in four and a half hours in a Learjet. Mr Hancock's newest acquisition. The sleek, white plane, fitted inside like a large, luxurious car, cruises at 520 mph at an altitude of 41,000ft.
lt was Sunday morning. Gina and her 23-year-old English husband, Greg Hayward, and her mother were relaxing in their hotel suite while Lang Hancock was attending yet another meeting.
Mrs Hancock explained that her husband was sorry he couldn't be there but if we wanted his picture he'd be only
too happy to leave the meeting, in a nearby hotel, for a few minutes
It takes only a while with Gina
to realise she is very much her
father's daughter. Facts and figures are no problem as she quotes the awe-inspiring number of millions of tons of ore being mined annually from each of his vast holdings.
Her father's politics are also hers. She is wholeheartedly in
favor of Western Australia's secession. When she is not
helping him with his work - "he is my first responsibility" - she is on duty at the secession office in
"Do you know that in 1933 two out of three people in
Western Australia voted for secession? The whole movement died down after that, but it is
sparking up again.
Iron ore heiress is in
favor of WA secession
"I don't like our State rights being grabbed by Canberra. I think our movement will get very strong, especially now with inflation, unemployment, rising
taxes. All the enthusiasm for
secession is coming back."
Growing up for Gina was St Hilda's School in Perth (the
discipline was "very strict") and spending as much time as she
could with her father on one or
other of his properties. Hammersley, a half-million acre cattle property, and Mulga Downs, a ¾-million acre sheep
"We both love the bush. It's
Dad's stomping ground.
"He's a wonderful father. Strict, when he wants to be - he'll
stand no nonsense - but we have
always been very close friends."
She learned to drive when she was ten and once her father was satisfied she had full control of a vehicle, she was allowed to drive
at will over the properties.
"His grooming, his education for my eventually taking over the responsibility of his interests began when I was about 12.
That's when he first took me
camping in the Kimberleys to actually see the iron ore country, appreciate its vastness. its importance, and to teach me about minerals. He's still teaching
me. The more I am with him. the more I learn.
"Does the prospect of taking over from him frighten me? Well,
it would if I hadn't been
prepared. Anyway, when it happens, I'll have Greg beside
"I can't say I have anything yet to match my father's knowledge of mining, but I'm willing to learn. And I'm vitally interested,
which is most of the battle. When
we take special guests up to see the mines. I'm delegated to show
them around and answer
"As my father's daughter - and he's a very exciting man - I love being behind him all the way."
Had being the daughter of a wealthy man affected her life? "Oh, yes, in lots of ways. A lot of the Left wing students at the uni didn't take to me too kindly. You feel jealousy, resentment. Some people try to use you. But I can cope."
Gina and Greg met in a Perth paint shop. She was trying to choose the right color for her bedroom and he helped her.
They liked one another immediately and kept on meeting. In 1973 when Gina was 19, and Greg 21, they were married quietly at St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney. His parents
flew out from their South Kent
farm to attend the wedding.
"My father runs sheep and cattle on 127 acres," Greg said. "Not a large place compared with Australian properties, but pretty large for this part of the country."
Greg is assistant to the section manager of the Hancock family
business in Perth. He also takes
photographs for the Hancock owned newspaper, the "National Miner," a job he finds exciting and enlightening.
Tall, good-looking, he likes to
think of himself as an Australian
rather than an Englishman. "This is a young people's country and I
He admitted to being a little upset that he has to apply for a
visa to enter Australia each time
he goes abroad, but added that he intended taking the oath of allegiance and getting an Australian passport.
Does he ever disagree with his father-in-law, who has the
reputation for being astute, hard-headed, and stubborn?. "Of course. We have plenty of arguments, but then he likes them. He likes you to disagree. He really appreciates individual-
Gina was studying economics
at Sydney University when they married. At present she and Greg share the Hancock's large home, which is divided into separate
"We are going to build our own home." said Gina. "We are
allowing 12 months for the project. We don't want to rush into things and make mistakes we
will have to live with."
The Hancocks are a closely bound family. They don't own racehorses, yachts, luxury cars
and the social scene is not for
"We have our relaxing moments." said Gina, smiling. "Greg thinks dancing is a waste of energy, which is a shame. But we love squash, enjoy our times up around the mines, on the properties, riding and swimming
"We love having friends to dinner, going to thc Pictures and, or course, plays - they are our favorite. When we go abroad, we see every one in New York and
"We just don't like standing around at cocktail parties - none of us drink, anyway lt's not that we have anything against such do's, they are just not for us.
"I love clothes and buy most of them from the one shop in Perth which seems to have everything I like."
A mischievous side-long glance and, "No, we don't have shares in the place."
She was excited about her 21st
birthday party which was to be held in the garden of their home in Dalkeith, Perth, overlooking the Swan River. "Dad wanted to have it in a hotel but I held out for home. It's so much warmer.
"We asked Mr Whitlam but he couldn't come. He sent a very
sweet telegram explaining that it was difficult because Parliament was opening at the time."
COMES OF AGE
Although she buys most of her clothes reads made Gina had had her birthday gown specially
She demurred a little at describing it before the big night until Greg said "Go on. we don't like secrets in the family."
lt was, she smiled happily, very feminine Pink chiffon, with a pearl belt, and floating panels
and a halter neck also trimmed with pearls.
They had both enjoyed the Opera House launching of the Workers Party the previous night. "Dad's not a speech giver. He showed a television film which was made about him some
time ago and then asked for questions."
There was a muffled laugh from Mrs Hancock. "My husband was sitting next to a glamorous model at supper afterwards and when a photographer came up to take their picture she told Lang to
say 'Oil and onions.' as it would
put the right expression on his
"Did he? Of course not. But he woke me up the next morning
saying. 'Oil and onions, oil and onions." and I said what a ghastly sort of breakfast, until he explained what it was all about."
Mrs Hancock was born and
bred in the north-west and met her husband when she was living on a property 180 miles from Marble Bar. Their first home was a caravan on the site of Hancock's
asbestos mines She used to take a bath in the open in a tub shielded
by a bush screen.
She has flown thousands of miles over the Western Australian outback with her husband, who is an experienced pilot, and was with him in 1952 when, diving to av0id clouds, he first saw the red of the iron ore mountains he later
It was time to move on to the
nearby hotel to see Mr Hancock. Mrs Hancock disappeared into
the bedroom for a few minutes to
re-appear in a sleek, short jersey dress, clasping a gold bracelet surrounded with eight half sovereigns on her wrist.
"Yes, they are fair dinkum." she said, laughing. "Lang gave
them to me for Christmas. Told
me they'd be handy if I ran out of money."
Lang Hancock was sitting hunched over the official table, listening to a speaker, when we
arrived at the conference room. His frown of concentration lifted
when he saw his daughter, and a few minutes later he joined us
He looked cool in a blue and
white striped lightweight suit, white shirt, and, of course, the Texan cowboy hand-made leather boots he has favored for years.
He is short, solidly built, taut and fit. He could easily give away seven of his 65 years, and is much better looking than in his photographs. His dark hair is flecked with grey.
His arm around his daughter, he said he had always made it plain to her that she could do
whatever she wanted with her life. He had been happy when she had elected to follow his mining interests, he couldn't have a
"Remember she's fifth
generation Western Australian."
Seconds later posing for photographs with Gina and Greg he started laughing. "Oil and onions, oil and onions. How's
Heiress Gina - politics and big business are her interests. Picture: Keith Barlow.