Maha Sinnathamby

Maha Sinnathamby (born 10 December 1939 in Rantau, Malaysia) is an Australian businessman and property developer.[4] He is the entrepreneur behind the Greater Springfield Development in Queensland, the largest master-planned community in Australia.[5]

Maha Sinnathamby
Maha Sinnathamby at State Library of Queensland, 27 August 2015.JPG
Sinnathamby, 2015
Born (1939-12-10) 10 December 1939 (age 81)
Rantau, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
Alma materUniversity of New South Wales
Yoga Sinnathamby
(m. 1968)

In 2019, Sinnathamby's Springfield City Group was inducted into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame in recognition of their visionary entrepreneurship in establishing Springfield, as a nation-building project and Australia's first privately-constructed city.[6]

Early life and educationEdit

Born in Malaysia on 10 December 1939,[7] Maha Sinnathamby is a Hindu of Sri Lankan Tamil descent.

His childhood was spent on a British-owned rubber estate in the small farming village of Rantau, Negeri Sembilan. His father worked for the plantation but was taken as a prisoner of war in July 1944 during the Japanese occupation of Malaysia. In September 1945, his father was released.[8]

Maha moved to Australia and studied civil engineering at the University of New South Wales. After graduating, he worked as a civil and design engineer for several years in South East Asia before returning to Australia.[8]

Business careerEdit

He started his own property business in Perth in 1971, before moving to Queensland in the early 1980s. He continued building the company with numerous small residential subdivisions and several commercial projects in the region.[8]

Greater Springfield DevelopmentEdit

In 1992 with business partner Bob Sharpless, Maha bought a 2,860 hectare (approx 7067 acre) area of land in Ipswich, south-west of Brisbane, for $7.9 million. He then lobbied for basic education and transport infrastructure to be built in the area, which required a rezoning bill to be passed. On 24 January 1997, Queensland Parliament unanimously voted in favour of the legislation.[8]

The Greater Springfield area was designed as Australia's largest master-planned community (10th largest globally), and is focused on interconnected pillars of health, education, and information technology:

  • Education City: the educational core of Greater Springfield located in Springfield Central. It contains a University of Southern Queensland campus, 10 public and private schools, student accommodation, and a technical college.[9] It is currently home to approximately 14,000 students.[10]
  • Health City: A 52 hectare (128.5 acre) health precinct currently under construction, the area will offer Springfield residents and the wider region access to a range of professional health services. It currently contains the Mater Private Hospital.[11] Aveo Group has been appointed exclusive developer for 2,500 new senior housing units and other health integrated facilities.[12]
  • Idea City: The IT hub of Greater Springfield features Australia's leading Polaris Data Centre,[13] and has a strong research focus on commercialising innovation in partnership with government and business.[14]

Currently, more than $15 billion has been invested by public and private stakeholders into the project.[15] A$1.2 billion dual track major rail line and transit hub was established in 2013 and connected Greater Springfield to the wider South East Queensland area.[16] Greater Springfield's current population is approximately 35,000, with a predicted growth to 105,000 by 2030.[17] Greater Springfield's masterplan also retains 30 per cent of the land holding for open, green space.

Springfield City GroupEdit

Sinnathamby established Springfield City Group (formerly Springfield Land Corporation), of which he is the chairman, in conjunction with the purchase of the plot that would become Greater Springfield. The company is responsible for overseeing the development of the Greater Springfield area.[8]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1968 he married Yoga, and they have three daughters – Raynuha, Meera, Uma – and a son, Naren.[8] Maha enjoys playing golf at Brookwater.[18]

Net worthEdit

In 2017, The Australian Financial Review added Sinnathamby to its list of Australian billionaires Rich List at 57th position with a net worth of A$1.02 billion.[19]

Year Financial Review
Rich List
Australia's 50 Richest
Rank Net worth (A$) Rank Net worth (US$)
2015[20] 40   $740 million  
2016[21] 41   $650 million  
2017[22][23][19] 57 $1.02 billion
2018[24][3] 64   $1.21 billion  
2019[25][26] 72   $1.27 billion   39   $980 million  
2020[27] 76   $1.35 billion  
2021[2] 64   $1.78 billion  
Icon Description
  Has not changed from the previous year
  Has increased from the previous year
  Has decreased from the previous year


Sinnathamby has donated more than A$[clarification needed]200 million of land and funds for vital social infrastructure, and established a program of scholarships within Greater Springfield to assist people with limited access to education. Sinnathamby also mentors a select group of young professionals, helping them to achieve personal excellence.

Awards and recognitionEdit

Sinnathamby's work was acknowledged globally in 2010 with the emerging Greater Springfield being named the world's best master-planned community by the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI).[28] He also won the Ernst and Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year.[29]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Maha Sinnathamby ... the man behind Australia's largest master-planned community". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011.
  2. ^ a b Bailey, Michael; Sprague, Julie-anne (27 May 2021). "The 200 richest people in Australia revealed". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 28 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Maha Sinnathamby". Forbes Asia. October 2018.
  4. ^ Schmidt, Lucinda (27 January 2016). "Australia's 50 Richest People". Forbes. Archived from the original on 27 June 2016. Retrieved 13 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Greater Springfield named Australia's best master planned development – Greater Springfield". 20 March 2015. Archived from the original on 13 May 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  6. ^ "2019 Hall of Fame". Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame. State Library of Queensland. 2019. Archived from the original on 19 July 2019. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  7. ^ Passmore, Daryl (11 December 2016). "City A Driver of Jobs Growth". Sunday Mail. p. 29. Mr Sinnathamby who turned 77 yesterday
  8. ^ a b c d e f McCreadie, Karen (31 July 2012). Stop Not Till the Goal is Reached: The 10 Principles for Fearless Success That Inspired Maha Sinnathamby to Build a City. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781742468587.
  9. ^ "Education City – Greater Springfield". Archived from the original on 10 May 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Education in Greater Springfield: A Vision For Life-long Learning" (PDF). Greater Springfield. Archived (PDF) from the original on 17 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Health City – Greater Springfield". Archived from the original on 13 July 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Aveo Springfield". The Aveo Group. Archived from the original on 18 September 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  13. ^ "Polaris Data Centre – Greater Springfield". Archived from the original on 5 August 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  14. ^ "IDEA City – Greater Springfield". Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  15. ^ Foster, Sophie (28 May 2016). "Springfield founder doubts another city like it is possible in Australia". The Daily Telegraph.
  16. ^ Calligeros, Marissa. "Springfield here we come: rail line construction to begin mid-year". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  17. ^ "SEQRP and Greater Springfield". Springfield Land Corporation. p. 2. Retrieved 14 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Maha Sinnathamby". Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  19. ^ a b Stensholt, John; Tadros, Edmund (26 May 2017). "Billionaire Rich List ranks swell to record number". The Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  20. ^ "2015 Australia's 50 Richest". Forbes Asia. March 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  21. ^ "Gina Rinehart Loses Her No. 1 Spot". Forbes Asia. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 22 October 2019.
  22. ^ Stensholt, John, ed. (25 May 2017). "Financial Review Rich List 2017". The Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  23. ^ Mayne, Stephen (26 May 2017). "Mayne's take: The top 25 Australian billionaires, as claimed by Fairfax". Crikey. Private Media. Retrieved 10 October 2019.
  24. ^ Stensholt, John, ed. (25 May 2018). "2018 AFR Rich List: Who are Australia's richest people?". The Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  25. ^ Bailey, Michael (30 May 2019). "Australia's 200 richest people revealed". The Australian Financial Review. Nine Publishing. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  26. ^ "2019 Australia's 50 Richest". Forbes Asia. January 2019. Retrieved 28 September 2019.
  27. ^ Bailey, Michael; Sprague, Julie-anne (30 October 2020). "The full list: Australia's wealthiest 200 revealed". The Australian Financial Review. Nine Publishing. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
  28. ^ springfieldQLD (31 May 2010), World's Best Master Planned Community, Greater Springfield, archived from the original on 23 April 2016, retrieved 14 July 2016
  29. ^ "QLD Honours Entrepreneurs". 14 September 2003. Archived from the original on 14 April 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2018.

Further readingEdit

  • McCreadie, Karen (2012), Stop not till the goal is reached : the 10 principles for fearless success that inspired Maha Sinnathamby to build a city, Milton, Qld. John Wiley & Sons Australia, ISBN 978-1-74246-856-3f