Nationals Member for Lismore Thomas George today expressed sadness at the passing of James Strong AO.

Mr Strong, who died in Melbourne aged 68, was a unique Australian whose wisdom, leadership and adventurous spirit contributed greatly to the fabric of our nation.

Mr Strong opened the Lismore Airport terminal in December 2000 when he was Chairman of Qantas and was the guest speaker at the centenary of Blakebrook Public School, which he attended as a student.

"Mr Strong always maintained connection to the Northern Rivers with family living here and whenever I ran into him at functions he always enquired as to how things were going in Lismore," Mr George said.

Mr Strong made a strong contribution to tourism, especially when he ran the national airline Qantas between 1983 and 2001 and other major corporations.

A celebrated lawyer, James Strong was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 2006 for his services to business and commerce, particularly in the aviation, insurance and retail fields, and to the arts as an administrator and philanthropist.

Mr Strong’s achievements include Australian Centenary Medal for contributions to aviation and the arts, the Sir Charles McGrath Award for Excellence in Marketing, the Monash University and Mount Eliza Alumni Award for Leadership and the Smithsonian Institute's Laureate Hall of Fame Award for Commercial Air Transport.

A man of adventurous spirit and varied interests, Mr Strong was a keen motorbike rider, pilot and mountain climber with a love of opera. He was a strong patron of the arts.

Mr Strong was Chairman of the Australia Council for the Arts and V8 Supercars, a Board Member of CanAssist and the Sydney Writers' Festival and a member of the Nomura Australia Advisory Board and Australian Grand Prix Corporation.

James Strong will be sadly missed, especially by those in the tourism, sports and arts world and I offer my deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 1800 336 166 or 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403  Email:

Authorised by Thomas George MP. Funded using Parliamentary entitlements.