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Who is Australia’s richest man?

Harry Triguboff is Australia's richest man. Image: Getty

Billionaire real estate developer and founder of Meriton, Harry Triguboff, is Australia’s richest man as of 5 February 2020. 

Dubbed ‘high-rise Harry’, Triguboff has an estimated net worth of $15.6 billion, according to Forbes. That makes him Australia’s second-richest person after Gina Rinehart’s awesome wealth of $22.5 billion. 

However they are both completely eclipsed by the $185.4 billion belonging to the world’s richest man, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. 

Who is Harry Triguboff? 

Harry Triguboff made his fortune in the Australian property market. Image: Getty

Born on 3 March 1933, Triguboff came to Australia as a teenager in 1948 after being raised in China by his Russian parents. 

He was educated at Scots College in Sydney and studied at Leeds University in England, where he graduated with a degree in textile engineering. 

After working at textile businesses in South Africa and Israel, he returned to Australia where he began to run a taxi fleet after being naturalised in 1961. 

And in 1963, he moved into real estate. Triguboff married Rhonda Triguboff in 1980 and has two children, Orna and Sharon Triguboff. 

How did Harry Triguboff make his billions? 

Harry Triguboff of Meriton in his Bligh St office in the city. September 12, 1984. (Photo by Ross Anthony Willis/Fairfax Media via Getty Images).

Triguboff began in Sydney where he founded construction company Meriton – one of the first companies in Australia to provide higher-density accommodation options at scale. 

His company has now developed more than 75,000 apartments after he was one of the first Australian magnates to see the value of apartment-style living. 

And that vision has paid off. As Sydney’s blockbuster housing market continues to grow, so too does Triguboff’s massive wealth. 

In the three months to January 2020, the average Sydney dwelling value grew 5.6 per cent - the strongest growth in any city. 

According to the Aussie and CoreLogic 25 years of housing trends report, median unit values across Australia grew 316 per cent from 1993 to 2018, and Sydney’s units have seen an average dollar value increase of $23,594 annually. 

A champion of multiculturalism

Harry Triguboff at the Meriton offices in Sydney in 2010. Image: Getty

With Chinese, Russian and Australian history, Triguboff has long championed migrants’ causes. 

He has helped fund the Shorashim Centre through The Harry Triguboff Foundation, which helps immigrants from Israel confirm their status as Jews. 

And he’s also called for a large increase in immigration, saying Sydney should have a population of 20 million by 2050, and Australia 150 million. 

He also doesn’t believe in language or values tests for immigrants. 

"What's more important for me - a guy who can fix my tap or a guy who can speak English?" he told The Sydney Morning Herald in 2006. 

Key to Harry Triguboff’s success

Now the director of Meriton, Triguboff has two simple tips for success, work hard and do what you believe is right. 

“I succeed because I work hard. I still work hard right now. I am surrounded by people who are like me,” he told City Weekly in 2016. 

“Meriton doesn’t have shareholders so I can make any decisions I believe that is right. When I believe it is right, then it is right and vice versa. It makes things easy because everyone is pushing you instead of arguing.”

Triguboff’s approach to leadership is also simple - it’s someone who believes in the company’s purpose, he told The CEO Magazine in 2019.

“He must have faith in it – if he doesn’t, it’ll never work.”

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