Thursday, January 12, 2017

Publishing heir James Fairfax dies

 James Fairfax AC (pictures above left with Edmund Capon), the former chairman of publisher John Fairfax Ltd, passed away age 83 on Wednesday at his Southern Highlands home Retford Park in Bowral
James was a great philanthropist and art collector and the son of Sir Warwick Fairfax. In our snap above James donated a substantial body of precious art works of old masters worth then, around $35M to the the NSW Art Gallery.
Barry Humphries at the NSW Art Gallery & one of James' donated works

In 2016 Mr Fairfax bequeathed his Retford Park homestead,  worth around $20 million, to the National Trust for the Trust to preserve in perpetuity for the local community. For the past few decades Fairfax lived and traveled with his companion Ray Hansen who died in 2015.

When the young Warwick Fairfax Jnr, James half-brother launched his ill-fated move to take back the family business Fairfax Newspapers in the 1980s James recived an estimated $200M. He was a director on the Fairfax board from 1957 until 1987, and chairman from 1977 to 1987.

Spending half the year at a property in the UK, James retired permanently to Bowral in 2003. One of the highlights of the social calendar in his Sydney days was an annual masked drag ball where guests, mostly well heeled bachelors from Sydney and Melbourne competed and spent a small on extravagant gowns.
James Fairfax is survived by step mother Lady Mary Fairfax who like James has bequeathed the family home Fairwater in Double Bay to the National Trust on the proviso all her staff live there for life. James leaves behind two half sisters, Annalise Thomas and Anna Cleary, his half-brothers, Warwick and Charles Fairfax.
Below : Retford Park