frank lowy harry triguboff
Frank Lowy and Harry Triguboff are two of the richest Australians. Image – Wikimedia Commons.
  • Apart from resources, property was the most common source of wealth for the 200 richest Australians
  • 88-year old Harry Triguboff of Meriton is the richest property figure on the list - worth $14.42 billion
  • Hui Wan Mau and Frank Lowy are two other property tycoons in the top ten

Last week, the Australian Financial Review (AFR) published its annual Rich List 2021.

The list has been compiled every year since 1984, and measures the wealth of the richest Australians. The Top 200 are then ranked in order of their total wealth. This year’s group is worth a combined $479.6 billion – an increase from $424 billion over last year’s edition, or more than $2 billion per person.

The Top 10

The top 10 wealthiest people in the country, according to the AFR list are:

  1. Gina Rinehart, resources, agriculture, $31.06 billion
  2. Andrew Forrest, resources, $27.25B
  3. Mike Cannon-Brookes, technology, $20.18B
  4. Anthony Pratt & family, manufacturing, $20.09B
  5. Scott Farquhar, technology, $20B
  6. Harry Triguboff, property, $17.27B
  7. Clive Palmer, resources, $13.01B
  8. Hui Wing Mau, property, $11.7B
  9. Frank Lowy, property, $8.51B
  10. Melanie Perkins & Cliff Obrecht, technology, $7.98B

The three main wealth sources are mining and property, and now also technology. Tech has been adding more people into the rich list over the past few years, joining the more traditional sources of Aussie wealth: resources and real estate.

Manufacturing warrants one place in the top 10, and agriculture is part of Ms Rinehart’s empire. Her money has mostly come from mining, and Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd’s (HPPL) Roy Hill mine in particular. Revenues from HPPL were over A$10 billion last year, with a net profit after tax of more than A$4 billion.

From numbers 11 down to 25, resources, property, retail and media are the most common sources of wealth, with household names such as Kerry Stokes ($7.13B), James Packer ($5.72B) and Jack Cowin, of Hungry Jack’s fame ($4.94B) on the list.

Although a woman sits proudly atop the list, among the top 25, only 3 women appear at all. When you broaden it out to the entire 200, then 39 women feature (up from 30 last year). That’s still only one in five people, however.

The average age is 66 – the same as last year.

Harry Triguboff (aged 88), the founder of Meriton, is the highest-ranked property person, having increased his wealth 19.7% over the past year. In the 2016 list, he was the richest Australian.

While Meriton’s profit plummeted to $19.4 million last financial year compared to $356 million the year before, Meriton’s assets now exceed $17 billion for the first time.

The least well-known person in the top ten is arguably Xu Rongmao, whose Cantonese name is Hui Wan Mau. He is the founder and chairman of Shimao Property, one of the largest developers in Shanghai. He attended the University of Adelaide in the early 1990s, where he took out Australian citizenship. His worth is estimated at $11.7bn, a year-on-year fall of 35.2% – the only individual in the top ten whose worth actually fell last year.

90-year-old Frank Lowy, the co-Founder of Westfield, is ninth on the list with a net worth of $8.51bn. Mr Lowy sold most of Westfield back in 2017 to Unibal-Rodamco for $32billion – triple what the entire company is now worth, according to the AFR, due to the pandemic.

This decision explains why his wealth didn’t collapse last year – in fact, it went up by 2.5%.

westfield starford city
Westfield has expanded overseas, which includes Westfield Stratford City, pictured above. Image – Canva.

Sydney property developer Chai Chak Wing, who co-founded Shanghai-based Kingold Group, is the twentieth richest Australian with a net worth of $4.57B – down slightly by 0.7%, followed by Lang Walker of Walker Corporation whose wealth has increased by 4.7% to $4.27B. Walker is best known for various house-and-land packages, including Riverlea in northern Adelaide which will includes 12,000 homes.

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