CARROLL, VICTOR JOSEPH (1924– )
Vic Carroll is the undisputed giant of Australia’s post-war journalism. Through his editing of the Australian Financial Review (AFR) and the Sydney Morning Herald, and launch of the National Times, he displayed brilliant technical skills, a vast knowledge of Australian politics, economics and business, a remarkable grasp of world history, the ability to recognise and nurture talent, and an unmatched capacity to ask the right questions. Carroll’s understanding of Australia’s economic history is sharpened by the fact that he and the AFR were key players in that history.
Born on 22 July 1924, Carroll was brought up in Mackay, North Queensland, and attended boarding school in Charters Towers. He joined the AIF in 1942, serving in New Guinea and Borneo. After the war, he studied commerce at the University of Queensland and in 1950 he joined the Brisbane stockbroking firm of Corser, Henderson and Hale.
In 1952, Carroll joined Brisbane’s Courier-Mail as a finance journalist, and was company secretary for two years. In 1960, he became financial editor at the Sun-Herald, and also wrote for the bi-weekly AFR. In March 1964, five months after ‘The Fin’ became a daily, he was appointed editor. In 1971, Carroll became editor-in-chief of the AFR and the fledgling National Times. During this period, he gave great encouragement to the employment and advancement of women journalists.
In 1975, Carroll was appointed chief executive of Sungravure Pty Ltd, John Fairfax & Sons’ magazine group, remaining in the position for four years. He then became editor, and later editor-in-chief, of the Sydney Morning Herald. He revamped the paper, making it more appealing to women readers. He ended his 30 years at Fairfax on the boards of the Newcastle Herald and the Illawarra Mercury.
Carroll wrote The Man Who Couldn’t Wait (1990), an account of the failed takeover of Fairfax by Warwick Fairfax Junior. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Macquarie University in 2013.
REF: AFR, 25 November 2013.