Aussie makes rich list at 79-years-old

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An Aussie woman has appeared on the rich list for the first time at 79-years-old, after a lifetime of achievements that were often overlooked due to her marriage to her husband.

Property mogul Margaret Rose, of Rose Group, made her debut on the Financial Review Rich List this week at 200th place with a fortune of $690 million.

Her husband, Bob, has appeared 11 times, most recently in 2018.

In the past, entries were restricted to one name — which, by Channel 9’s own admission, “had the unfortunate effect of overlooking the contributions made by women” — but the rules have since changed, and so Ms Rose appeared alongside her husband for the first time.

Margaret Rose has appeared on the rich list for the first time aged 79. Her husband, Bob, has appeared 11 times.Margaret Rose has appeared on the rich list for the first time aged 79. Her husband, Bob, has appeared 11 times.

The newly minted rich lister is credited with instigating their multimillion dollar property empire, having played a pivotal role in closing their first deal in 1982. Bob, at the time, had already made and lost a fortune and filed for bankruptcy.

Ms Rose, who was running a PR firm at the time of the pivotal purchase, told Channel 9 the deal taught her that “everyone should have a calculated risk account” — money set aside to invest at short notice in a worthwhile but high-risk venture.

“I knew I didn’t want our life to be mediocre,” she said.

“I had put aside some money from a (PR) event and I heard Bob, who was working for Mirvac at the time, talk about a block of land at McMahons Point that was for sale. He said a number of property developers were trying to convince the owner, an Irish company, to sell.”

She approached an Australian representative of the company and managed to close the deal on an option.

“I knew it was a turning point in my life,” she said.

“I got the architects in, put the plans through council and got the approval. And then I on-sold it with a few hours to spare before the option expired.”

The couple has amassed a $690 million fortune.The couple has amassed a $690 million fortune.

The following year, in 1983, Rose Group was born.

Ms Rose said, when she started out, there were few women in property development.

“In those days, men were building all the houses but they had no idea about creating a home,” she told Channel 9.

As a late-in-life rich lister, Ms Rose said her 60s were here best years — after her kids had grown up and most of her 50s taken up by a battle with ovarian cancer.

“The family was good. The business was going very well. All my energy and passion had come back,” she said.

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The couple, who live in an Elizabeth Bay penthouse overlooking Sydney Harbour, plan to give each of their four children a share of the family business. Their two sons, who work for Rose Group, are poised to take it over.

“We had four children, but we actually had five. The company was our fifth child so you never let go of that,” Ms Rose said.

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