The story behind “high-rise Harry”

Harry Triguboff, known colloquially to the Australian public as “high-rise Harry”, is an Australian real estate developer who has made billions throughout his lifetime. He is the managing director and founder of Meriton, which remains Australia’s largest apartment developer. Here’s everything you need to know about his rise to prominence and ongoing business interests.

Early life

“High-rise Harry” was born in Dalian, China in March 1933. His parents were Russian Jews, who fled Russia after Lenin took control following the revolution. He lived in China with his family until 1947, when they emigrated to Australia. He went to school at the Sydney GPS school, the Scots College, before travelling to England to get a degree from the University of Leeds.

The rise of Meriton

In 1961, Triguboff became an Australian citizen. He briefly sold real estate and even shadowed a university lecturer for a while; however, he wasn’t overly successful in either job. He bought a plot of land in Roseville and hired a labourer to build him a new home. Dissatisfied with the labourer’s work, he sacked him and finished the house by himself.

Using this experience, Triguboff moved into apartment development. He purchased a second plot in 1963 in Tempe and built eight units. The move was profitable, so Triguboff purchased another development in 1968 in Gladesville. The street in Gladesville was called Meriton Street, which is where he got the name for his development business.

Meriton today

Meriton Apartments is Australia’s biggest residential property developer. In 2010, Meriton was building more than 1000 new apartments every year; however, this grew to 3000 by 2015. In 2004, Meriton finished construction of the World Tower, Sydney’s tallest residential block of apartments.

Calls for policy changes

Triguboff has donated to a variety of political causes, specifically relating to housing affordability. He has financially backed the Wests Tigers in the National Rugby League competition since 1998.