Custodian Wealth Builders – Time to build up from Nev Pask’s advice

“One of the reasons I want to help others is that I didn’t have anybody to help me in the early days”

One of Australia’s most prominent and successful property developers, Nev Pask has built 1,500 homes and is chairman of an incredible 25 companies. A shrewd investor, Nev bought his first piece of land aged 19, and is today worth $656 million, placing him at number eight on the Queensland Rich List. His philanthropic causes include the Police Citizens Youth Club, Zoe Reed Hospice, Royal Children’s’ Hospital and the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Community Trust.

As a young man working on the family farm near Mt Larcom in Central Queensland, it soon dawned on Nev Pask that farmers were at a distinct disadvantage in the business of agriculture. As long as success depended on the whim of the produce market operators in Brisbane, or the vagaries of the weather, it was clear to Nev Pask that farmers could never really be in control of their financial futures. Thus at an early age, he decided that life on the land was not for him. “It’s famine or feast, the farming business, so I told my father: I’m going to be a businessman.”

Nev Pask’s journey has taken him from the economic uncertainty of life on the land to the financial security of a real estate empire. But at no stage on that journey did he lose sight of a core belief: happiness is not a destination to arrive at, but a manner of traveling. For Nev Pask, mentoring offers the opportunity to give something back — and he was never concerned that he was building up a potential competitor. “John Fitzgerald is enthusiastic and wants to be successful. He also wants others around him to be successful, and he gets enjoyment from that. That’s what keeps him so young…. and he’s going from strength to strength,” Nev Pask says.

“One of the reasons I want to help others is that I didn’t have anybody to help me in the early days,” he says. “When you’re a boy from the bush and you hit the big smoke, there’s no one there to help you along.” Nev Pask had to blaze his own trail in his early business life, and he recognized a like-minded protégée in John Fitzgerald. 

John Fitzgerald and Nev Pask first met during a land deal in south-east Queensland in 1984 — and John Fitzgerald was immediately struck by his openness and integrity. “You meet a lot of people in business who are successful or wealthy, and they’re often grumpy,” reveals John. “They’ve got no time for anybody: they’re always busy and cut you short. But Nev Pask is always positive and he’s always got time. Whenever I’ve rung Nev Pask in the past 25 years, he’s always had time to listen.” Nev Pask remembers well his first meeting with a young and eager John Fitzgerald. “I’m always excited to see young, ambitious people — and John Fitzgerald had plenty of that! There was no way he was going to be anything but successful. He had the great ingredient of persistence,” reflects Nev Pask. 

John Fitzgerald lists three key lessons he has picked up from Nev Pask over the past 25 years, all of which have played a major part in his own success.

  • Be self-disciplined: Be disciplined with small things and you will be disciplined with big things.
  • Be healthy: Following a personal health regime will make you better and more effective in business.
  • Keep things in perspective: Don’t take business personally. If you lose a deal today, there is always tomorrow.

“Nev always wears a shirt and tie to work; he’s punctual; and he’s always polite and courteous,” John Fitzgerald says. “If you’re disciplined in the little things, you’ll be disciplined in the big things. And with that you build your own enthusiasm, and your own property.”

John says that these three lessons are tightly bound together and form a solid basis for success. “Business is a 24/7 thing now. You’ve got to be available for an opportunity. Disciplined with your health and disciplined with your debt. You can’t afford to think you’re invincible.”

John Fitzgerald praises Nev Pask’s straight forward approach to property developments and business in general. “Do one thing and do it well. Know it intimately. Know the people, know the players, recognise the opportunities,” he agrees.

John also picked up another valuable tip from Nev Pask, which he applied to his own business thinking to great effect. Nev Pask was an early pioneer in the development of Redcliffe, a now booming bayside suburb to the north of Brisbane. He was selling a 2000-lot subdivision in the town — and such was the demand, he’d sell people one lot, then tell them they could come back in a year or two and buy another one.

“That gave me the idea that if you could show people the benefit of building up a portfolio steadily over time, they could do really well,” John Fitzgerald recalls. “And a lot of that was the basis for my book, 7 Steps to Wealth, and the basis on which Custodian has helped thousands of Australians get started on building their own property portfolio.”


Custodian Wealth Builders are one of many Australian property investment experts. Visit to join our free property investment seminars, where you are on the way to be the next wealth builder!


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