Harry Triguboff

Harry Oskar Triguboff AO (born 3 March 1933 in China, Liaoning), is a Chinese-born Australian billionaire real estate developer, and one of Australia's richest people.[3][4] He is the founder and managing director of Meriton and is known as "high-rise Harry".[5] In May 2016, he was declared the wealthiest person in Australia by net worth in the annual Financial Review Rich 200 list,[6] yet held the mantle for only one year.[1]

Harry Triguboff

Triguboff in his World Tower penthouse apartment
Born (1933-03-03) 3 March 1933
ResidenceSydney, New South Wales, Australia
CitizenshipAustralian (since 1962)
OccupationReal estate property development
Years active1963  present
OrganizationMeriton Apartments
Net worth
Spouse(s)Rhonda Triguboff
ChildrenSharon Triguboff, Orna Triguboff
Parent(s)Moshe Triguboff, Frida Triguboff

Early life and education

The son of a builder, Triguboff was born in Dalian (Darien at the time), Liaoning, Republic of China on 3 March 1933, the son of Russian Jews (Moshe and Frida) who fled to northeastern China after the rise of Lenin.[7][8][9] He spent his early childhood in the Jewish community in Tianjin[8] and in 1947, moved to Australia[8] to be educated at the Scots College in Sydney. He later graduated with a degree in textiles from the University of Leeds in England, before working in textile businesses in Israel and South Africa.[10]

He returned to Australia in 1960 and became an Australian citizen in 1961. He did a variety of odd jobs, including running a taxi fleet and owning a milk round in Chatswood. He tried selling real estate and worked as an assistant to a lecturer at university but wasn't so successful at either. He then bought some land in Roseville and hired a builder to begin building his house. The builder repeatedly let him down, so Triguboff threw him out and finished the job himself, learning from his mistakes.[11]


Meriton Apartments

From the experience gained in the initial development, Triguboff bought his second block of land in 1963, this time in Smith Street, Tempe, and began building a block of eight units with a partner.[12] He made a profit, which led to a second development in 1968 in Gladesville. At Meriton Street, Triguboff built a block of 18 units which provided the name of the company he registered in developers.

Triguboff is the managing director of Meriton Apartments Pty Ltd. As of 2015 Meriton had built more than 55,000 residential townhouses and apartments since its creation in 1963,[13] making it Australia's biggest residential property developer.[14] In 2010, Meriton was said to develop an average of 1,000 apartments per year.[15] As of 2015, the average exceeds 3,000 per annum.[13] In particular, Triguboff has concentrated on the Gold Coast and Brisbane in Queensland, and Sydney's central business district, building more apartments than any other Australian residential developer.[16] He is a proponent that the population of Australia should grow to reach 100 million.[17]

In 2004, Meriton completed the construction of World Tower, Sydney's tallest residential apartment building. During 2012, Meriton and the owners' corporation became embroiled in a long running court dispute over major building defects and alleged breaches of their contract, with maintenance issues worth more than A$1 million.[18] Part of the issue related to Meriton, the original builder, being locked out of the development.[19] By 2015, He had built approximately 55,000 residential townhouses and apartments.

The company has been a sponsor of the Wests Tigers (and their predecessor, Balmain Tigers) since 1998.[20] Triguboff committed Meriton throughout the club's merger period of 2000 and into 2015.[21]

Triguboff donates heavily to political parties and uses his influence to seek policy changes. In August 2010, he proposed that the federal government should insist on Reserve Bank interest rates being dropped to improve housing affordability.[22]

Personal wealth

According to the 2017 Financial Review Rich List, Triguboff's personal net wealth was estimated at A$11.40 billion,[1] an increase of $0.78 billion on the previous year.[6][23][24] Meanwhile, Forbes Asia estimated his wealth in 2015 at US$5.6 billion.[4][13] In 2015, Forbes Asia magazine's annual billionaires list assessed Triguboff as the world's 262nd wealthiest billionaire.[25] His earnings result from leasing most of his developments to short and long term tenants, with benefits from capital appreciation.

Triguboff participated in a 2010 Business Review Weekly magazine contest to "Win a Week With a Billionaire". Three young finalists were flown to Sydney where they spent a week at Meriton being mentored by Triguboff.[26]

Wealth rankings

Year AFR Rich 200 Forbes Australia's 50 Richest
Rank Net worth (A$) Rank Net worth (US$)
2011[27][28] 7 $4.30 billion 5 $3.40 billion
2012[29][30] 7 $4.85 billion 5 $5.80 billion
2013[31][32] 6 $4.95 billion 6 $4.60 billion
2014[33][34] 8 $5.50 billion 7 $4.30 billion
2015[23][4][13] 3 $10.23 billion 2 $5.6 billion
2016[6][2] 1 $10.62 billion ? $6.9 billion
2017[1] 2 $11.40 billion ? ?
2018[35] 2 $12.77 billion ? ?


Triguboff was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia on 26 January 1990 "for service to building and construction and for philanthropy"[36] and an Officer of the Order on 7 June 1999 "for service to the community as a philanthropist, and to the residential construction industry".[37][38]

Triguboff was the first person to win Australia's Property Person of the Year award twice; he first won the award in 2003 and then again in 2009.[39]


Triguboff, via The Harry Triguboff Foundation, funded a project at the Shorashim Center to assist immigrant applicants to Israel in proving their Jewishness.[40][41]

Personal life

Triguboff is Jewish.[7] He has been married twice and has two daughters from his first marriage,[42] Orna and Sharon.[40] He is married to his second wife, Rhonda.[8] He lives in Sydney and owns a collection of cars.


  1. Stensholt, John, ed. (25 May 2017). "Financial Review Rich List 2017". Financial Review. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  2. "Australia’s 50 Richest People", Forbes. Accessed 28 April 2016.
  3. "Gina Rinehart Retains Top Spot On Forbes Australia Rich List". Forbes. 3 February 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  4. "2015 Australia's 50 Richest". Forbes Asia. March 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  5. "Australia's 40 Richest, #3 Harry Triguboff". Forbes. Retrieved 20 November 2010.
  6. "BRW rich list topped by Harry Triguboff, Gina Rinehart slips to fourth". ABC News. 25 May 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  7. Encel, Sol; Rutland, Suzanne D. (2008). "Australian Jewry". In Ehrlich, M. Avrum (ed.). The Jewish-Chinese Nexus: A Meeting of Civilizations. London: Routledge. p. 138. ISBN 978-0-415-45715-6.
  8. Jewish Business News: "'High-Rise Harry' now climbed to the sixth in Australia's Richest. How does he do it?" By Orna Taub 3 March 2013
  9. World's Most Successful Immigrants at Bloomberg Business
  10. Smyth, Jamie (20 August 2017). "Meriton's Harry Triguboff on being Australia's second-richest man". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  11. "How to say I or me 77 times in explaining how I became a billionare". The Daily Telegraph. reproduced at The Crikey Rich List, 27 February 2000. 5 May 1997.
  12. Triguboff, Harry (1 August 2006). "Interview with Harry Triguboff". Domain (Interview: edited transcript). Interviewed by Tyron Hyde. reproduced at the Washington Brown Group. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  13. Schmidt, Lucinda (February 2015). "Riding the Real Estate Boom". Forbes Asia. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  14. Akerman, Pia (7 January 2010). "Priest David Cappo calls for rethink on housing the homeless". The Australian.
  15. Carter, Bridget (11 March 2010). "Sydney residential projects of bn in play". The Australian.
  16. "Triguboff's Meriton tops HIA's building starts table/". The Australian. 25 September 2013.
  17. "Triguboff and the new Great Australian Dream". Sydney Morning Herald. Bloomberg News. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2015.
  18. Tan, Su-Lin (7 January 2013). "$1m claim for defects at World Square site". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  19. Tan, Su-Lin (5 January 2013). "Meriton's war of World Tower". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  20. Gibson, Joel; Dick, Tim (6 December 2005). "Balls and whistles". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 February 2012.
  21. Proszenko, Adrian (29 July 2014). "Harry Triguboff extends sponsorship deal with Wests Tigers". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 30 July 2014.
  22. Kitney, Damon (27 August 2010). "Meriton's Harry Triguboff calls for new poll, rate cuts". The Australian. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  23. "BRW Rich 200 List 2015: Harry Triguboff". Business Review Weekly. Australia: Fairfax Media. May 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  24. Stensholt, John (28 May 2015). "Down $6b but Gina Rinehart remains richest Australian in BRW Rich 200". Business Review Weekly. Australia: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  25. "The World's Billionaires: Harry Triguboff". Forbes. 2015.
  26. Douglas, Jeanne-Vida (10 September 2010). "A priceless experience". Australian Financial Review.
  27. McIntyre, David (26 May 2011). "Newsmaker: Gina Rinehart". news.com.au. AAP. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
  28. "Chinese abandon Triguboff's Meriton Apartments". The Australian. 21 April 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  29. Jackson, Sally (23 May 2012). "The $29.17 billion woman: Gina Rinehart tops BRW's Rich List". The Australian. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  30. "2012 Australia's 40 Richest". Forbes Asia. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  31. Colquhoun, Steve; Heathcote, Andrew (22 May 2013). "Rinehart drops more than Lowy's entire worth". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  32. "2013 Australia's 50 Richest". Forbes Asia. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  33. "BRW Rich 200 list 2014". BRW (a Fairfax Media Publication). Sydney. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  34. "2014 Australia's 50 Richest". Forbes Asia. January 2014. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  35. Stensholt, John (25 May 2018). "2018 AFR Rich List: Who are Australia's richest people?". The Australian Financial Review. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  36. "Harry Oscar Triguboff AM". Commonwealth of Australia. 26 January 1990. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  37. "Harry Oscar Triguboff AO". Commonwealth of Australia. 7 June 1999. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  38. Goldberg, Dan (1 December 2007). "Harry in a hurry". The Bulletin. Retrieved 30 July 2011.
  39. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 16 October 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  40. "Triguboff organisation almost doubles Jewishness investigations". J-Wire. 2 October 2012. Archived from the original on 13 November 2013. Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  41. Jerusalem Post: "Religious Affairs: A crisis of identity" By JEREMY SHARON 20 September 2012
  42. Kitney, Damon (21 March 2011). "Harry Triguboff wonders how to hand down the family firm". The Australian.
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