Born to Italian parents, Albert Bertini was raised in Paris until the age of nine when his family migrated to Australia. Arriving with no English, he lived in a one-bedroom flat in the Sydney suburb of Fairfield with his parents and three older brothers.
He left school at 15 and did an apprenticeship in tiling. He was very successful and, by 21, had a number of properties until a knee injury left him unable to work. He lost everything but started afresh, employing teams of tilers to do the work for him. During this time he also became a union delegate.
His business hit pay dirt when he manufactured, imported and then sold non-slip tiles for shopping centres. After a few years he grew tired of tiling and went into property development, revamping derelict old buildings into funky work spaces.
His company, Trivest, has more than 200 employees. It buys and restores old warehouses and heritage buildings then leases them out as office space. “They’re all my Cinderellas,” says Albert of his developments.
Trivest properties include South Sydney Leagues Club, Red Bull Alexandria Creative Park and the Reader’s Digest building in Surry Hills. The company has holdings worth more than $400 million.
Albert describes himself as “eccentric”, with a passion for design. His Italian/French background has left him with a moderate accent.
He is a firm believer in hard work and says he expects “180 per cent” from his employees. He handles any issues with a no-nonsense approach, but is a gentle character who lives by the motto “family and friends first”.
Albert recently took part in the Australian television program The Secret Millionaire. He was a fan of the UK version and is drawn to its “challenges and generosity”. The program was one of the highest rating of the season
Albert also takes a keen interest in migrant issues and delinquent adolescents.
Albert lives in Sydney with his three young sons – Remy, 8, Garcia, 6, and Orlando, 3. He has a passion for cars, and has a country estate in the Hunter Valley where he loves to take some time out.