Janet Holmes à Court, AC, HonFAHA, HonFAIB (born Janet Lee Ranford on 29 November 1943 in Perth, Western Australia) is an Australian businesswoman, philanthropist, and one of Australia's wealthiest women. She is the Chairman of one of Australia's largest private companies, Heytesbury Pty Ltd, having turned around its fortunes after the death of her husband Robert Holmes à Court in 1990. She retained full ownership of the Heytesbury Group of companies until 2008 when her son, Peter Holmes à Court, assumed ownership, while she remained Chairman.
Holmes à Court attended Perth Modern School and the University of Western Australia, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in organic chemistry and a Diploma of Education in 1965. After graduation, she worked as a science teacher before marrying her husband in 1966 and having four children with him.
She currently lives in Perth. As her children left home, she developed interests in medical research, the arts and various charitable organisations.
After the death of her husband, she took over management of Heytesbury Pty Ltd, which was considerably in debt, rescuing and expanding it. The company operates cattle stations in remote Western Australia and has interests in vineyards, wine-making and engineering contracting.
As well as her business activities, Holmes à Court has been an active participant in progressive social issues, such as an advocate for the Australian Republican Movement at the 1998 constitutional convention, and is the chairperson of the Australian Children's Television Foundation, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and deputy chairman of the Chamber of Arts and Culture WA. She has also served on the board of the Reserve Bank of Australia and is an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Institute of Building. She was Pro-Chancellor of the University of Western Australia from 1990 to 1994, and a Senate member of both Murdoch University and the University of Western Australia.
She was made an Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) in 1995 and promoted to a Companion of the Order (AC) on Australia Day 2007 for service to business, particularly as a leader in the construction, wine and cattle industries, to the advancement of Western Australia's musical and theatre culture, to the visual arts, and to the community. In 2001, she was awarded the Centenary Medal for her service to the arts as Chair of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Black Swan Theatre Company. The National Trust of Australia has included her on its list of 100 Australian Living Treasures.
Her other honours and awards include:
She holds a number of honorary doctorates including:
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