Aussie billionaire adds to fortune

SHE might not be a household name in Australia's business community, but NSW resident Blair Parry-Okeden has retained her title of the richest person in Australia by boosting her fortune by $US500 million to $US4.5 billion in the latest Forbes list of the world's billionaires.

Blair Parry-Okeden, who lives in near anonymity in the NSW regional town of Scone but is still a US citizen, inherited a 25% stake in US media company Cox Enterprises from her mother Barbara Cox Anthony, who died in 2007.

While Parry-Okeden does not have a direct involvement in the company, her stake will ensure she remains on the Forbes list for many years to come.

Parry-Okeden's grandfather James Cox started the business in 1898 with the purchase of a newspaper in the town of Dayton, Ohio and later expanded the company to become one of the biggest newspaper owners in the country.

Today, Cox Enterprises owns businesses in the communications, media, automotive and internet sectors. The business has revenue of more than $US15 billion. Parry-Okeden's aunty, Anne Cox Chambers, is also listed on the Forbes list with a $US10 billion fortune.

While Anne Cox Chambers is seen as one of the most powerful figures in the US media, Parry-Okeden remains something of a mysterious figure.

Born in America, Parry-Okeden trained as a teacher after graduating from a Hawaiian school that her mother helped to establish.

She immigrated to Australia to marry Simon Parry-Okeden, whose family is well known in farming circles. They are now divorced but have two sons, Andrew and Henry.

She also wrote a children's book called Down By The Gate, which is apparently about an advertisement Mother Goose places in a newspaper.

By all reports Parry-Okeden keeps a low profile in the Scone community, although she is listed as a school councillor on the website of the Scone Grammar School.

Parry-Okeden lives on a large property called Rockview Station.

This article first appeared onSmartCompany.com.au, Australia’s premier site for business advice, news, forums and blogs.

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