#073: Mining for ideas - Bernard Wheelahan AM

By Jordan Michaelides
July 03, 2018


🎧 Listen via  Apple Podcasts  or  Stitcher

Bernard Wheelahan AM is a retired business executive whose career spans multiple continents across mining, resources and renewables.

His work in building Latin-American and Australian relations has been recognised with scholarships named in his honour at ANU, and a membership to the Order of Australia. He’s served in an incredible array of positions, that makes my life look like child's play. Bernard has served as Chairman of Pacific Hydro and the Council of Australia Latin America Relations, President of Shell in Venezuela, and directorships that have included Transfield, Woodside and Karoon Gas.

After I interview each guest I always want to know: If they could pick just one guest to be on the podcast, who would it be? When I asked Phil Ruthven this question, he said Bernard’s name in a heartbeat.

Bernard is wise, kind and full of brilliant stories from an individual who has clearly taken his fair share of responsibility through life. This was an enjoyable episode in which we covered:

  • Earliest memories

  • Lesson learnt from his parents and family

  • The hunter/gatherer shift & indigenous culture

  • His time at Shell, working as an Industrial Chemist to the President

  • Pacific Hydro & renewables

  • Venezuela, dictatorships, economy and politics

  • Australia & Latin America relations

  • Jordan Peterson

Enjoy the episode!


02:23 - Introduction

05:43 - Where and how he learnt to drive

08:36 - Earliest memories, his father

11:15 - Lesson learnt from his parents and family

15:18 - The hunter/gatherer shift & indigenous culture

18:04 - First job, customer service

21:34 - His career and working for Shell

25:21 - Being an industrial chemist to the President

26:59 - High school, patrolling no man’s land

28:52 - Mining & resource potential in Australia

34:25 - Stock market, Pacific Hydro

38:11 - Venezuela, dictatorship, economy and politics

47:39 - Democracy, current & future of Venezuela

51:54 - Australia & Latin America relations

57:13 - Language experiences

01:00:52 - Oil and mining leaders he respects

01:03:33 - Renewables, global warming skepticism

01:05:43 - What is never changing?

01:06:22 - Daily routine

01:08:37 - Jordan Peterson

01:10:44 - Best purchase under $200

01:11:09 - Most influential book

01:11:31 - A book he would gift

01:13:19 - What is difficult to find middle-ground on?

01:13:41 - If he could have a billboard anywhere