This article comprises a case study of the development of public enterprise in Australia from its early European settlement to the present. The case reveals that public enterprise played a significant role in developing a prosperous society, serving as an engine room for growth and development. From the late 1980s, however, Australia embraced the doctrines and practices of new public management (NPM), echoing the disillusionment of world leaders like Reagan and Thatcher and steadily dissolving the public enterprise sector through commercialisation and privatisation. The transition towards a neo-liberal state also saw national governments turning away from the public sector as a primary service delivery agent for public services. The case raises the question of whether or not this evolution is a natural one along the development path. or one which has been shaped by a radical reformation of the dominant national political ideology.