From humble beginnings, BOMA quickly spread around Australia, expanding across property asset classes and growing to represent all dimensions of the real estate value chain.
The Building Owners and Managers Association’s original area of focus was CBD offices, but this soon expanded to other asset classes, including industrial, retail and other forms of commercial property.
BOMA opened its doors in 1969 with divisions in New South Wales and Victoria. Queensland and Western Australian branches were established the following year. By the end of 1973, the addition of the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia saw BOMA’s reach extend to six jurisdictions, with Tasmania following in 1982.
In the early years, these small branches were run by volunteers and the occasional part-time secretary. Early team members fondly recall working from office space borrowed from generous member companies, in which tenancies were divided by towers of archival boxes.
Overseeing this patchwork of offices and branches was one of the industry’s most revered figures, Ray Powys. A true visionary and dynamic leader, Ray was BOMA’s inaugural national president and, later, its first national director. He understood property’s role as an investment platform that could create wealth for millions of Australians. Backed by hard-working administrators like Jill Mason, Ray created a trade association that hosted events and began pursuing an advocacy agenda.
After Ray retired in 1984, a strategic review driven by the brilliant Don Cunnington led to a major expansion of BOMA’s activities in all states. Peter Barda was appointed BOMA’s second national director with a mandate to bring the states together with a common strategic agenda.
Peter strengthened BOMA’s advocacy arsenal, hiring a team of talented researchers that included distinguished future leaders in the private and public sectors, not least of all our present Prime Minister, as well as Peter’s eventual successor as CEO, Peter Verwer.
These efforts and energy paid off, and the result was a national organisation with a powerful council representing Australia’s entire property industry.
By the end of the 1990s we were indeed a national organisation, with our first regional chapter, the Hunter, opening in 1990 and our Northern Territory division established in 1995, shortly followed by our Gold Coast chapter.
As our organisation’s geographic footprint expanded, so did our cross-sectoral coverage. Our big leap into residential was locked in with the launch of the Residential Development Council in 2001. We began to provide powerful advocacy on behalf of the sector that drives so much of Australia’s economy.
We stepped up our focus on the vital investment and financing elements of the industry with the launch of our Capital Markets Division in the same year.
In 2012, we established the Retirement Living Council after incorporating the Retirement Village Association, growing to become the most powerful voice of the sector by harnessing the expertise of both not-for-profit and commercial village owners and developers.
Today, we are an organisation with truly national coverage, with a strong presence in every state and territory, as well as the Hunter, the Illawarra, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Townsville.
And we represent all property sectors, with an ambit and advocacy that spans asset investment, management and development.
One organisation that brings the industry together to speak with a powerful voice.