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Tricia Duffield, “Adman John loves to be hated but he’s no slob,”
Sunday Independent, July 17, 1977, pp. 6-7.

And now I’d like to introduce to you one of the most hated men in Australia — John Singleton.

He’s on the National Socialist Party death list, manager of the bottom Sydney rugby league team, Newtown Jets, husband of glamour model, Maggie Eckhardt, multi-millionaire, advertising man and master of disguise.

It’s only after you’ve seen him clean his false tooth at the dinner table that you realise he’s also a charming man to boot.


He’s earned the reputation of being a foul-mouthed slob, but once you’ve met him you’ll probably sign up as a paid member of the JS fan club. That’s if you’re not in advertising.

John is the man who cost DJ Bob Rogers his job — he uttered the four-letter word and Bob let it go to air.

They celebrated Bob’s demise with a $370 lunch — “best one I’ve ever had,” John says.

John Singleton

He was in Perth this week to head various conferences and put the wind up people.

To fully appreciate the genius of this salesman, here is just a sample of John Singleton’s style.

He recently hired former Miss World, Belinda Green, to drive a Rolls-Royce around to all the opposition ad agencies in Sydney to drop off a tape recording of his 12 greatest ads.

“They’re always trying to get them behind my back, so I thought I’d do them a favour and drop them off personally,” he said.


John is the proud father of a string of Newtown Jets rugby teams. Most of them are bottom of the league, but John never stops trying.

He hires symphony orchestras, jazz and rock bands to play rousing tunes whenever his team scores: “They don’t play much.”

He had minister Ted Noffs lead a prayer session before one game “to overcome their negative points and stir up dedication.”

Sounds sacrilegious, but John is an active supporter of Ted Noff’s Wayside Chapel, a voluntary organisation for alcoholics and drug addicts.

He imported an American gridiron player who once played in a winning game at the Superbowl. His clubroom — The Jet Bar — is one of the plushest in Sydney with a $500 a year membership fee.

“That’s not bad for a team that comes from one of the poorest parts of Sydney,” he said.

During the 1974 Federal elections John ran a series of ads for the Liberal Party. Women claiming they were from concentration camps pledged eternal allegiance to the Libs and warned what would happen if they want to the other side.

“Subtle stuff. But some people are a little critical. One guy blew up my Rolls, wiped it off. He was jailed. Didn’t like the ad.”

He and Maggie make an unlikely couple. “By saying she’s really something you’re saying I’m nothing. She’s bloody lucky, that’s what I say.

“But I won’t talk about my personal life. I’m not a pop star and I don’t owe anybody my time. It’s my own and nobody’s getting it.”

John has recently turned successful author. His first [sic] book, Rip Van Australia, will be released next week, his second is on the way and he’s also writing a film script.

The film is top-secret but he guarantees it’s top-notch Singleton style, which means there will be some red-faced audiences around Australia when it’s finished.

His ideal society has no handouts, no dole, no giveaways. He says:

If somebody can’t get a job they can grow tomatoes or clean toilets.

“Most of them couldn’t care less. Why should they when they’re given money to spend in Queensland surfing and laying on the beach?

Why we try

“If I was young that’s what I’d do. It’s no longer a question of why we don’t try any more. It’s why we do try at all.

“There are so many brilliant people starving in this country while thousands just bludge and wax fat in Canberra.

“Australia is committing the most heinous crimes. We talk about Hitler, Mao and Idi Amin — well Australia’s worse than all of them. It really gives me the shits.”

John was one of the founders of the Workers Party, now Progress Party in Australia and is dedicated to his own brand of politics.

He runs his politics like he runs his ad agency — aggressively, successfully and straight from the heart.

John doesn’t take garbage from anybody and he doesn’t dish it out.

You may think he’s just a foul-mouthed slob. But then, you’ve never been close enough to see him pick his teeth.

Here’s a sample of a typical day, John Singleton style.
10.30am — Heads conference for the Australian Hotels Association, discussing new trends in management.
12:30pm — Heads Marketing and Research Society conference.
2.30pm — Heads a conference on advertising and motives.
5.30pm — Has a few drinks and talks business with friends — and squeezes in an interview with the Sunday Independent.
7.30pm — Guest speaker at a Progress Party Conference.
8.30pm — Escapes with a few friends for dinner at Riverside Lodge Hotel.
11:30pm — Hits the sack.

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