YAdelaide Exclusives

A unique Businessman & ‘Entrepreneurial Philanthropist’

Starting in real estate at the age of 24, James rapidly moved up the ladder by demonstrating enthusiasm, sales leadership and business acumen.

James Packham
Business Name
Harcourts Packham

A unique Businessman & ‘Entrepreneurial Philanthropist’

Starting in real estate at the age of 24, James rapidly moved up the ladder by demonstrating enthusiasm, sales leadership and business acumen.

A unique Businessman & ‘Entrepreneurial Philanthropist’

Starting in real estate at the age of 24, James rapidly moved up the ladder by demonstrating enthusiasm, sales leadership and business acumen.


At the rather tender age of just 27, James became a director of (the now) Harcourts Packham specialising in real estate sales and property management.

However, it is James Packham’s latest project that sets him miles ahead of the rest. Ever heard an ‘Entrepreneurial Philanthropist’ or the new uber trendy ‘Philanthropreneur’? (Yes, these are terms – read on for our Exclusive with James and why we believe it describes him accurately…).

Meet the Team ~ Harcourts Packham

Harcourts Packham – Rapid Growth

James’s strong sales performance and entrepreneurial spirit soon developed into him owning a leading share of Adelaide’s real estate market. James’s ambitions lead to rapid growth and he soon bought out the other directors.

At that point, the expansion of James’s business entreprise began to pick up pace. In fact, it was a lightning fast pace. After it’s first year, Harcourts Packham had recruited 21 young real estate agents. Today, Harcourts Packham is a multi-site business enterprise, employing over 40 staff and with additional contractors.

Harcourts Packham‘s service offering has also expanded, as James has become more involved in niche commercial spaces and development projects. James now owns one of the largest real estate brands on South Australia’s metropolitan coast – quite a commendable achievement.

James Packham started a real business, employed real people, provided a high quality service and ensured his customers were positioned centrepiece – the focus being on developing real relationships.

I attribute my growth to always wanting to do more and being passionate about delivering a quality outcome. 

James Packham

Meet James Packham

James was born in Adelaide, South Australia. His first job was sweeping the floors of a landscaping nursery. James jokingly admits that the work was “boring and tedious”. However, it is this work that James states taught him “the value of a dollar”.

In earnest, James states that he holds great respect for anyone that works hard and does the best they can do. Emphasising this, James believes “…you could be a brain surgeon or dig ditches; it is the work ethic that I respect.”

After graduating from Blackwood High School, James went on to study business at Flinders University earning himself a double degree in business and economics. James is also licensed real estate agent, land agent and auctioneer.

In his free time, James has a strong passion for socialising and adventure – fishing, boating, weight lifting, mountain biking, travelling, camping and generally enjoying Adelaide’s fine food and wine culture.

Most of all, however, James is a familyman. Happily married to Bernadette, he is a father of two and they are delighted to be expecting their third in 2022.

What inspires me is the love and support of my family. Unconditional support from friends and family alike can be a game changer for a person trying to break out and establish something new.

James Packham

James and Bernadette Packham

Charity, Not-for-Profit, Social and Economic Development

James is a man with a purpose that extends beyond expanding his own personal business enterprises. This makes sense, as anyone acquinated with him will know James is passionate about people, their purpose and strong relationships.

Philathropy has always been close to James’s heart and in the past few years he has taken a special interest in such causes as the Childhood Cancer AssociationNeil Sachse Foundation Spinal Cord Injury Research CentreRare Find FoundationRSPCA, cystic fibrosis, and MFS. Harcourts Packham has also been sponsoring a number of schools and local sporting organisations throughout Adelaide.

Harcourts Packham is involved with the Harcourts Foundation – an organisational initiative which has gifted over four million dollars by way contributions to dozens of charities. As a seasoned auctioneer and speaker, James himself regularly volunteers his time to conduct charity auctions at various fundraising events across Adelaide. Very close to James’s heart is the Adelaide Rotary Club, in which he keenly participates in various initiatives.

James Packham is a director of the newly established Association for Business Restructuring and Turnaround (the ABRT) which was founded and is headquartered in Adelaide. The ABRT is a not-for-profit professional body aimed at improving the professional standards and quality of advice that consultants and advisors give to small and family business owners. A crucial cause given the disruption caused to the business community by the series natural disasters we’ve all encountered as society.

Almost within the same value chain, James Packham is also a member of the Southern Angel Investors. This venture and business initiative organisation provides start-up capital for early stage businesses (prior to initial public offerings – “IPO”s).

I have also established a highly trained sales team who specialise in strategy and sales for retirement living and recently completed the sell-down of the Brighton Dunes retirement living complex as the exclusive agency for Minda Inc.

James Packham | Minda Inc

James Packham and the Neil Sachse Centre (the late Neil 1951 – 2020)

Breaking: James Packham’s “Terra Firma”, an Outstanding Achievement

Hot off the press is that James has been deeply invested in finding solutions to the issues of homelessness in South Australia. He has made a bold step by establishing “Terra Firma” – Adelaide’s newest homeless shelter.

Realising he was ideally positioned to help find a solution, James ultimately settled on purchasing a backpackers hostel and purposely redeveloped the property to create a fully functional and safe homeless shelter.

Among others, James partnered with Toward Home Alliance (THA). The collaboration of key project partners crafted and forged an innovative solution to permanently help tackle homelessness in Adelaide.

THA were able to provide the boots on the ground by supplying operations support – trained workers to man the shelter, caseworkers to support the occupants, referral pathways to other available support services and much much more.

This partnership is an example of the private sector stepping up to do what they can to prevent and end homelessness and we warmly invite other organisations and investors to contact the Toward Home Alliance or Harcourts Packham to discuss how they too can be part of our collective vision or preventing and ending homelessness. 

Rohan Feegrade | Toward Home Alliance & Lutheran Care Chief Executive Officer

The Government has taken a significant interest in Terra Firma as it is the first example in the South Australia’s history where a private sector participant has delivered a housing solution to homelessness in collaboration with charitable organisations.

This state-first initiative between Harcourts Packham and the Toward Home Alliance is exactly the kind of innovation we were hoping for as a result of our bold, new nation-first homelessness reforms. Not only do we hope this initiative will better support our vulnerable, it will support more South Australians into safe, stable and longer-term housing. 

Michelle Lensink, Minister for Human Services, welcomes the partnership and initiative 

James Packham – an ‘Entrepreneurial Philanthropist’

Philanthropy can amplify one’s success and crystalise the vital relationship between giving back and enhancing one’s own business performance, reputation and success. Presenting a big cheque and being photographed in the media is generous and, undeniably, will improve public relations.

All levels of charitable involvement are beneficial and James has had his fair share of ‘giving back’ in terms of funding, support and time invested. However, after speaking with James it is clear that this is not what motivates him.

What makes James unique is that with ‘Terra Firma’ he rolled up his sleeves and immersed himself in a highly complex and risky charitable project.

By using his own business expertise and developing strategic partnerships, James has achieved something quite remakable – despite finding himself in unchartered waters at the start.

By virtue of James taking this risky approach and actually succeeding with the Terra Firma project, the pay off has been far, far greater.

Coined by Mark Desvaux in 2004, philanthropreneurship (quite the mouthful…) is characterised by the development of a philanthropist’s role by skillfully integrating business practices.

James is a true ‘Entrepreneurial Philanthropist or a ‘Philanthropreneur’ (terms which we admittedly needed to research…). We believe this ideally fits the bill with James Packham and what he has achieved with Terra Firma.

It is inspiring and ethically charged statements such as these that are expressive of James Packham being a true ‘entrepreneurial philanthropist’:

I spent many months researching the issues of homelessness, including going undercover to investigate what potential solutions are available for people who are forced to sleep rough on the streets of Adelaide. I am proud we have created something that is not only cost efficient but a permanent homelessness solution – a space for residents is that is beautiful, safe and excellently supported.

James Packham 

So, Why Adelaide?

Apart from being Adelaide born and bred, James loves the rich culture Adelaide and South Australia has to offer.

James states that when he entertains guests from interstate or abroad, he loves taking them on fishing excursions, to SA’s fine cellar doors and well renowned restaurants – knowing that they will enjoy an experience like no other in the world.

After a little digging, we discovered evidence of James’s recent family adventures in South Australia. James Packham was captured in a previous YAdelaide article “Riverland Adventure & Exploration” after he had taken his family on a motorhome road trip exploring South Australia. James was snapped enjoying a mountain of yabbies (no kidding…)!

Adelaide is a wonderfully liveable city and South Australia is rich with natural beauty. I sometimes take RV trips where I literally spin a bottle and drive with no planning required. I especially like our coastline, winery regions and the Riverland.

James Packham 

The Key to Succeeding in South Australia

Firstly, James believes that you have to figure out what is you are good at and what you enjoy. James is resolute that there will be no success or fulfilment if you spend your entire career going against your own grain. James states that success is the right combination of both nature and nurture.

Next, you need to be prepared to invest some of your time. This investment should be measured in terms of years, not months. To succeed, you must have a plan and consistently execute it. The quality of work you deliver has to be of a very high standard too. Adelaide is a “small city where people have only a few degrees of separation” and the internet makes it possible for people to conduct a digital screening process in seconds.

James continues stating that it is important “to keep your periscope up”. By this, he means you have to remain open to new ideas and new ways of doing things.

James believes in seeking out mentors, trialling new ideas, streamlining processes, and continually looking to improve the efficiency of business processes.

However, in order to do this, James says you absolutely must remain humble. Lifelong learning requires a person to retain their humility and consistently strive for more.

Finally, James believes having a professional network is very important. He describes his core network to include friends, supporters and business partners – all of whom share common goals with James.

A strong professional network means you can collaborate, discuss opportunities and solve problems more effectively.

Difficulty shared is difficulty halved, and happiness shared is happiness doubled.

James Packham


James Packham has won multiple awards:

  • the Paul Harris Fellow award from the Adelaide Rotary Club
  • Harcourts South Australia Business owner of the Year
  • Top Franchise office Harcourts South Australia

However, James makes it clear that his proudest achievement is the amazing relationships he has had the opportunity to develop with people over the years.

James is strong in his belief that years from now his fondest memories will be of the great people he has had the privilege to spend time and work with.

James Packham’s Future Projects

There are two things that are occupying James’s mind at present and they sit at polar ends of the spectrum.

1) James loves picking a fight with big societal problems. He aspires to improve life for everybody working the big problems from the bottom upwards.

As discussed earlier, most recently it has been homelessness. However, this has matriculated into James exploring solutions for other problems such as housing unaffordability, options for those escaping domestic violence with children, childhood drowning, pathways for the long term unemployed, restructuring support for struggling businesses and support through mentorship and capital investment for young businesses that have the potential to add value to economic growth and our society.

2) The other end of the spectrum is about James’s patriotic love of South Australia and helping to bring into reality ideas that are novel, add value and deserve to thrive. This improves sustainable economic growth of the South Australia business community.

This has seen James researching entertainment and activity options for young children, as well as tourism and accommodation projects in South Australia’s most popular regions.

The latter is a pertinent topic given the South Australian Government’s recent announcement that another two rounds of Great State Vouchers are available for use on accommodation, tours and experiences across South Australia.

…and getting back to the topic of Professional Networking?

In collaboration with the Adelaide Rotary Club, James Packham was running a speaker series and professional networking even held monthly at the Adelaide oval called ‘Like Minds’.

Recent speakers had included Chester Osbourne from d’Arenburg, Glen Cooper from Coopers Brewery, Michael Hickinbotham from Hickinbotham Homes and James Sarah from Sarah Construction alongside many other notable South Australian business leaders.

These nights were proving extremely popular but were suspended due to the COVID pandemic. James states he is very keen to recommence these monthly events as soon as possible! Stay tuned folks…

You also don’t have to twist my arm too hard to get me along to a game of golf or a Friday afternoon long lunch.

James Packham

James Packham
Business Name
Harcourts Packham