James Fairfax

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For the British poet and translator, see J. Griffyth Fairfax.
Fairfax family plot, South Head Cemetery, Vaucluse, New South Wales

James Oswald Fairfax, AC (born 27 March 1933), Australian company director and arts patron, was born in Sydney, eldest son of Sir Warwick Oswald Fairfax. He is the grandson of Sir James Oswald Fairfax (1863–1928) and David Wilson KC (1879–1965).

Educated at Cranbrook School, Geelong Grammar School and Balliol College, Oxford, he became a director of John Fairfax & Sons Ltd in 1957 and took over from his father in 1977. He resigned in 1987 and sold his shares to his half brother Warwick Fairfax, during 'young Warwick's' ultimately disastrous takeover bid.

A prominent art collector, initially of Australian art, but from the 1960s increasingly of European old masters, he was a generous supporter of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of Australia.

A memoir was published in 1991: Fairfax, James, My regards to Broadway : a memoir, Pymble, N.S.W. : Angus & Robertson, 1991.

A catalogue of his collection of art has also been published: Beresford, Richard, The James Fairfax collection of old master paintings, drawings and prints / Richard Beresford, Peter Raissis, Sydney : Art Gallery of New South Wales, c2003, Published to accompany an exhibition held at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 April - 20 July 2003.


He was appointed an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia in 1993.[1]

In the Australia Day Honours of 2010, he was elevated to Companion of the Order (AC), for eminent service to the community through support and philanthropy for the visual arts, conservation organisations and building programs for medical research and educational facilities.[2]