Heritage

Our heritage

We were founded to manage the affairs of the Myer and Baillieu families in the early 1900’s. From our beginnings as two single-family offices, we have evolved to meet the needs of a changing world. In the process, we have grown our offering to become the trusted partner to many of Australia’s wealthiest families and individuals. In 2017, Mutual Trust and The Myer Family Company merged to become Australia’s largest multi-family office. Today, Mutual Trust has over 200 employees and four locations nationally.

William Lawrence Baillieu

William Lawrence Baillieu (1859-1936), known as WL, was born in Australia as one of 16 children and made his fortune in property and finance.

He was known as a builder of businesses and constructor of new industries, having developing significant business interests before moving into politics. In 1918 in the wake of the Great War, he and his brothers gifted wealth and property to support returning soldiers, setting up the Anzac House hospital for disabled veterans in Melbourne.

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Sidney Myer

Sidney Myer (1879-1934) was one of the most visionary and generous entrepreneurs Australia has known. After arriving from Russia in 1899, Sidney built a business empire that is still a household name today.

Sidney and his wife Dame Merlyn Myer dedicated themselves to ensuring that future generations could take part in the opportunities created by their wealth.

As a child he was firmly educated by his parents in the importance of community and giving generously to those less fortunate. Later in life he would become renowned as an incredible visionary for philanthropy in Australia. Notable among his initiatives was the gift of Christmas dinner for 11,000 people at Melbourne’s Exhibition Building in 1930 during the Great Depression. A year later, he helped fund jobs for 1,000 married men by enabling the construction of the Yarra Boulevard.

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Dame Merlyn Myer

Dame Merlyn Myer née Baillieu (1900-1982) philanthropist and fundraiser, was the matriarch of the Myer family. Merlyn was a noted philanthropist, board member and champion for the well-being of women.

After the untimely death of her husband, Sidney Myer, Merlyn plunged herself into the Myer Emporium and charitable work, administering the Sidney Myer Charitable Trust which financed the Sidney Myer Music Bowl amongst many other projects.

Apart from her many Myer-related activities, she was for more than four decades a very active board member of the Royal Melbourne Hospital, and a member of many committees. During her lifetime she made substantial donations to the hospital. In 1954 she was made an honorary life governor.

Merlyn was a member of the national council of the Australian Red Cross Society in 1937-47. For her work on behalf of the Red Cross during the war, she was appointed OBE. She was an active fundraiser for cancer and heart disease research and was a member or patron of a host of other community welfare organisations. In 1960 she was promoted to DBE for her philanthropy.

Today, Mutual Trust honours Merlyn through Merlyn’s Circle a program of events which seeks to celebrate the role and achievement of women in building enduring family legacies.

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Our heritage

  • 1858

    Baillieu family migrates to Australia

    Baillieu family migrates to Australia

  • 1899

    Sidney Myer Sidney Myer emigrated from Russia before starting a business from which he created an emporium known today as MYER. He applied himself with equal enthusiasm to matters beyond business. He became a leader in the community, demonstrating true compassion and helping people directly through his philanthropy.

    Sidney Myer

    Sidney Myer emigrated from Russia before starting a business from which he created an emporium known today as MYER. He applied himself with equal enthusiasm to matters beyond business. He became a leader in the community, demonstrating true compassion and helping people directly through his philanthropy.

  • 1900

    Dame Merlyn Myer DBE (1900-1982)Born in 1900, Merlyn Baillieu was passionate about family and embraced the retail business when she met Sidney Myer. Charming, dignified, generous and always stylishly dressed, Merlyn was one of Melbourne’s ‘grand ladies’.

    Dame Merlyn Myer DBE (1900-1982)

    Born in 1900, Merlyn Baillieu was passionate about family and embraced the retail business when she met Sidney Myer. Charming, dignified, generous and always stylishly dressed, Merlyn was one of Melbourne’s ‘grand ladies’.

  • 1920

    Sidney Myer & Merlyn Baillieu are married

    Sidney Myer & Merlyn Baillieu are married

  • 1921

    30 Dec 1921 First record of Mutual Trust as a formalised entityOriginally founded by William Lawrence Baillieu in 1921, The Mutual Trust was conceived as a vehicle within which his successful yet fiercely competitive brothers could come together and form a harmonious alliance.

    30 Dec 1921 First record of Mutual Trust as a formalised entity

    Originally founded by William Lawrence Baillieu in 1921, The Mutual Trust was conceived as a vehicle within which his successful yet fiercely competitive brothers could come together and form a harmonious alliance.

  • 1925

    Myer Emporium listed on the ASX

    Myer Emporium listed on the ASX

  • 1934

    The Sidney Myer FundThe Sidney Myer Fund was created when Sidney Myer left a portion of his estate upon his death in 1934 to be invested for the benefit of the community.

    The Sidney Myer Fund

    The Sidney Myer Fund was created when Sidney Myer left a portion of his estate upon his death in 1934 to be invested for the benefit of the community.

  • 1951

    Mutual Trust incorporated

    Mutual Trust incorporated

  • 1958

    Sidney Myer Music BowlThe Myer family’s giving philosophy supported the construction of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in 1958, the establishment of the Howard Florey Institute, and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, among many other initiatives. Members of the Myer family have been closely involved in the leadership of these foundations across multiple generations.

    Sidney Myer Music Bowl

    The Myer family’s giving philosophy supported the construction of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in 1958, the establishment of the Howard Florey Institute, and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, among many other initiatives. Members of the Myer family have been closely involved in the leadership of these foundations across multiple generations.

  • 1959

    The Myer Foundation is created

    The Myer Foundation is created

  • 1959

    The Baillieu Library at University of Melbourne was named in recognition of a substantial bequest by Edward Lloyd Morgan Baillieu on behalf of the William Lawrence Baillieu Trust. The Baillieu family has continued to support philanthropic endeavours in education and arts.

    The Baillieu Library at University of Melbourne was named in recognition of a substantial bequest by Edward Lloyd Morgan Baillieu on behalf of the William Lawrence Baillieu Trust. The Baillieu family has continued to support philanthropic endeavours in education and arts.

  • 1973

    The Myer Family Office established

    The Myer Family Office established

  • 1991

    MFCo becomes a multi-family office

    MFCo becomes a multi-family office

  • 2006

    Mutual Trust expands to Sydney

    Mutual Trust expands to Sydney

  • 2011

    Mutual Trust expands to Perth

    Mutual Trust expands to Perth

  • 2015

    MFCo Staff Foundation is launched

    MFCo Staff Foundation is launched

  • 2016

    Mutual Trust Foundation established

    Mutual Trust Foundation established

  • 2017

    MFCo & Mutual Trust merged

    MFCo & Mutual Trust merged

  • 2019

    Mutual Trust expands to Adelaide

    Mutual Trust expands to Adelaide

Today

It is the values of the Myer and Baillieu families that Mutual Trust upholds today. When we help our clients achieve their purpose, the impact extends well beyond the family itself and has the potential to advance the economic and social development of our communities.