John Hopkins is the founder and Executive Chairman of the John Hopkins Group – a financial services and property organisation.
John’s involvement in the community also includes, or has included, being a Director and Chairman of Melbourne Montessori School, President of a substantial childcare centre in Albert Park, member of an Advisory Board at Deakin University and the founding Chairman and benefactor of the Property Investment Association of Australia (now P.I.P.A.). John was also a telephone counsellor for Personal Emergency, a past government telephone emergency service.
Without question, John says the most important and impactful experience in his life has been (and still is) being the father of his six magnificent children, including a beautiful daughter-in-law.
John also enjoys great relationships with a magnificent partner, his two beautiful ex-wives, a wonderful mother, sister, brother, some gorgeous nieces and nephews and many important friends. A very successful and rewarding business, started 33 years ago, is also an achievement John is proud of, counting many of his staff and business associates as his close friends.
Yet despite the many blessings John could count in his life, he is one of the many Australians who lives with the sometimes manageable, though sometimes consuming, depression. Depression, despite active management, has had a major and continuing impact on John’s life.
Whilst John’s career has involved him working and living in both Melbourne and Sydney, he considers himself a country person at heart. He has fond memories of growing up on Phillip Island – surfing, water skiing, go-karting and playing football for the local team.
John began his entrepreneurial ways at a young age – delivering papers, carting hay, working in chicory kilns, crutching sheep, and working as a bouncer and entertainments manager for Phillip Island venues. His first business at 15 was a great success; he owned a tractor to slash grass on holiday blocks for the local council and private vendors.
Whilst attending Caulfield Grammar, John and a friend once walked more than 100 kilometres from Phillip Island to the secondary school in just 36 hours, raising $2,500 for the Newhaven boy’s home.
One of John’s ongoing passions is horse riding. He has owned his own equestrian park, established a bush riding business in Victoria’s high country and taught many adults and children to ride. He also fought the abolition of leases to Australia’s original cattle families, protesting with hundreds of Victorian cattleman as their spokesman on the steps of Parliament house and later, with others, droving cattle on horseback into Victoria’s famous Wonnangatta Valley.
John still rides horses, skis the slopes in winter, speed skates, fishes around Australia, keeps fit at the gym and loves to travel.
However, in spite of a wonderful family, active social life and successful career, John would tell you that a sadness still lingers; sometimes a deep sadness that he deals with on a constant basis.
John understands on a personal level the compelling impact that depression, anxiety and consequential substance abuse has on individuals and our community generally. He is determined to make a difference.
Whilst endeavouring to make this difference, John often reflects on the lives of two individuals – his much loved father Don who, on many occasions, explained to John that he never felt depressed. This instilled in John an understanding that not everyone sees or experiences the world as John, or others with depression, do.
The second individual is Winston Churchill who, despite battling with the ‘black dog,’ proved you can have depression and still have an important life.
Whether you experience depression or not, John is a firm believer that the world is, in fact, a wondrous and worthwhile place to exist.