Our Founder's Story

“It was the way he felt about people – he wanted to listen to people, to hear them. His motivation was to do things, to do deals, to get things done, to make a difference."

Michael Siddle, founding Director

The history and values upon which we were founded are those of Paul Ramsay. Paul’s generous legacy is one of Australia’s largest philanthropic foundations. PRF is not only a testament to his deep empathy, collaborative spirit and disruptive thinking, it is Paul’s enduring commitment to ensuring people and places have what they need to thrive. It is his resolute belief in action: that empathy, collaboration and new thinking can transform people’s lives.

“A man with a wide political outlook, one who had great faith in the future of his native country; a man with a big, warm heart and a great love for his fellow man.”

Paul’s grandfather’s obituary, Shoalhaven News 1926

Paul was born in Sydney on 31 January 1936. The son of Oscar and Mary Chapman. Looking out for and caring for others was a strong family trait. His civic-minded grandfather, Sir Austin Chapman, championed the foundation of Canberra and the introduction of the old-age pension. Paul’s sister spoke of their formative years growing up in a run-down country house in Burradoo, New South Wales, shared with his grandmother and two great aunts. “It taught Paul and me how to get on with older people. It taught us to listen to them. It taught us patience and the value of their wisdom”.

“His love of people was what drove him. He had a joy in seeing people educated, in encouraging and supporting young people to succeed.”

Peter Evans, founding Director

In 1949, as a 13 year-old Paul starts his secondary schooling as a boarder at St Ignatius College, Sydney.

Paul later starts then drops out of a law degree at The University of Sydney. Instead of formal education, he embraces travelling, trying his hand at different ventures and most informatively, meeting people from diverse backgrounds quite different from his own.

“He was brave, and never afraid to make bold decisions. He was a man who had the courage of his own convictions.”

Charlotte Siddle (pictured)

Against the advice of many in his circle, Paul purchases an old guesthouse in Mosman, overcomes bureaucratic challenges and converts “Warrina” into one of Sydney’s first private psychiatric hospitals, with the help of John Ellard, a leading psychiatrist. And so begins a global healthcare business that grows to 460 facilities caring for communities worldwide.

In the early 80s, alongside extraordinary ongoing success in healthcare, Paul makes a foray into media. Having acquired several regional television stations he launches the Prime Network which he goes on to chair for three decades. He also invests in Capital Radio and becomes the largest commercial radio operator in the UK.

“He was one of our great supporters to save the hospital. He had this ability to get to what mattered in people’s lives and support them in it.”

Sister Clare Nolan

Paul’s company successfully bids for two Australian hospitals dedicated to the repatriation of veterans.

In 1996 Paul defended Darlinghurst’s St Vincent’s Hospital from the state government’s threat of closure. The hospital is at the heart of HIV/AIDS research, care and treatment. As a hospital board member for six years and as a passionate supporter of the community, he collaborates and helps the fight.

“There is nobody who has had a greater impact on the private hospital scene than Paul Ramsay. He was friendly, gregarious and very generous. He accepted that someone who had been so very successful in business, should give back.”

Former Prime Minister, the Honourable John Howard OM AC

Ramsay Healthcare is floated on the ASX and becomes one of the world’s largest private hospital operators. It currentlly has 460 facilities across ten countries, employing more than 77,000 staff and treating more than 8 million patients each year.

Paul is credited with having transformed private health in Australia.

Image: Paul Ramsay with Michael Siddle

“He believed that in business, people were first and foremost. He would say, "If we look after the patients, and look after the staff, the profits will follow." He was right of course, hospitals are not about bricks and mortar, they're about people.”

Peter Evans, founding Director

Ramsay Health Care continues expanding worldwide, including the acquisition of Capio, the fourth largest private hospital operation in the UK. Meanwhile, at home Paul’s service to the community is recognised by the conferral of an Office of the Order of Australia.

In 2010 Ramsay Health Care builds a major stake in private health care in France. In doing so Paul’s company becomes one of the top five private hospital operators in the world.

In 2014 Paul and Ramsay Health Care celebrate 50 years of service in private health care (pictured, with Dame Edna) and continue delivering care defined by "The Ramsay Way" which was inspired by the values on which Paul based his life.

“He was prepared to take risks. He backed people. There was a loyalty and trust in regard to people, through thick and thin.”

Michael Traill, Director

Paul Ramsay passed away on 1 May, 2014, bequeathing $3 billion to the Paul Ramsay Foundation. In doing so, Paul Ramsay made this, at the time, the largest philanthropic foundation in Australia. Guided by Paul’s life principles, and with his extraordinarily generous bequest, the Foundation set to work, leaning on Paul’s friends (including Peter Evans, pictured), business partners, and family for guidance.

PRF is a testament to his resolute belief in action: that empathy, collaboration and new thinking can transform people’s lives.