Australia’s richest person lives a quiet life in country NSW

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Media heiress Blair Parry-Okeden, born in the US but a naturalised Australian, is now Australia’s richest person, according to Forbes magazine.

The 63-year-old billionaire grew up in Hawaii but moved to husband Simon’s native Australia decades ago.

She lives quietly on a farm, Rockview, in country New South Wales near Scone. She is elusive, doesn’t speak to the media and any rich list she appears in has the place for a photograph left blank.

In 2007 she inherited from her mother, Barbara Cox Anthony, the richest woman in Hawaii, 25% of media conglomerate Cox Enterprises started by her grandfather, a newspaper man and former governor of Ohio.

This gives her an estimated wealth of $US8.8 billion ($A12.5 billion), according to Forbes. And this puts her ahead of the next richest Australian, mining magnate Gina Rinehart who has $US8.5 billion ($A12 billion).

Parry-Okeden’s brother, Jim Kennedy, also owns 25% of Cox Enterprises and runs the company. Her aunt, 95-year-old Anne Cox Chambers, sits on the board and owns half the company.

Forbes says it has confirmed that Parry-Okeden is an Australian citizen.

The trained teacher reportedly leads a quiet life with few displays of her wealth. She has two sons, Andrew and Henry.

“She’s quiet and reserved,” Fairfax Media was told. “She operates behind the scenes quite effectively but is approachable.”

She has written a children’s book, Down By The Gate, and is said to do volunteer work at the local school.

Barbara Cox Anthony, mother of Blair Parry-Okeden. Image: University of Hawaiʻi

In 2012, she was reported have bought a $575,000 cottage at Burradoo in the NSW Southern Highlands.

In 2008, the year after her mother’s death, she gave $2 million to the Center on Aging at the University of Hawaiʻi for a fund to be named in honour of Barbara Cox Anthony.

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