Peter Michelides: Globalisation and the demise of a Western Australian tobacco tycoon
Yiannakis, John N
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Peter Michelides, having arrived in circa 1901, helped to pioneer Western Australia’s tobacco industry. Joined by his younger brother Michael, they were soon selling handmade cigarettes from Perth street corners. From these humble beginnings Michelides established a large vertically integrated tobacco enterprise, which would become the third largest tobacco company in Australia. At the same time he was a very influential member of the local Greek community, becoming the longest serving president of the Hellenic Community of WA. However, as trade restrictions were lifted during the 1950s multinational corporations impacted on his business, bringing it and the WA tobacco industry to an end. Was this inevitable? Does this example serve as a precursor to what has happened to many Australian companies over the last 20 years?