Maha Sinnathamby

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Maha Sinnathamby
Maha Sinnathamby at State Library of Queensland, 27 August 2015.JPG
Maha Sinnathamby, 2015
Born (1939-12-10) 10 December 1939 (age 77)
Rantau, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
Residence Brisbane, Australia
Occupation Property Developer,[1] Civil Engineer

Maha Sinnathamby is a Malaysian Australian businessman and property developer.[2] He is the entrepreneur behind the Greater Springfield Development in Queensland, the largest master-planned community in Australia.[3]

Early Life and Education[edit]

Born in Malaysia on 10 December 1939,[4] Maha Sinnathamby is a Hindu of Sri Lankan Tamil descent.

His childhood was spent on a British-owned rubber estate in the small farming village of Rantau, Negeri Sembilan. His father worked for the plantation but was taken as a prisoner of war in July 1944 during the Japanese occupation of Malaysia. In September 1945, his father was released.[5]

Maha moved to Australia and studied civil engineering at the University of New South Wales. After graduating, he worked as a civil and design engineer for several years in South East Asia before returning to Australia.[5]

Business career[edit]

He started his own property business in Perth in 1971, before moving to Queensland in the early 1980s. He continued building the company with numerous small residential subdivisions and several commercial projects in the region.[5]

Greater Springfield Development[edit]

In 1992 with business partner Bob Sharpless, Maha bought a 2,860 hectare (approx 7067 acre) area of land in Ipswich, south-west of Brisbane, for $7.9 million. He then lobbied for basic education and transport infrastructure to be built in the area, which required a rezoning bill to be passed. On 24 January 1997, Queensland Parliament unanimously voted in favour of the legislation.[5]

The Greater Springfield area was designed as Australia's largest master-planned community (10th largest globally), and is focused on interconnected pillars of health, education, and information technology:

  • Education City: the educational core of Greater Springfield located in Springfield Central. It contains a University of Southern Queensland campus, 10 public and private schools, student accommodation, and a technical college.[6] It is currently home to approximately 14,000 students.[7]
  • Health City: A 52 hectare (128.5 acre) health precinct currently under construction, the area will offer Springfield residents and the wider region access to a range of professional health services. It currently contains the Mater Private Hospital.[8] Aveo Group has been appointed exclusive developer for 2,500 new senior housing units and other health integrated facilities.[9]
  • Idea City: The IT hub of Greater Springfield features Australia's leading Polaris Data Centre,[10] and has a strong research focus on commercializing innovation in partnership with government and business.[11]

Currently, more than $12billion has been invested by public and private stakeholders into the project.[12] A $1.2 billion dual track major rail line was established in 2013 and connected Greater Springfield to the wider South East Queensland area.[13] Greater Springfield's current population is approximately 35,000, with a predicted growth to 105,000 by 2030.[14] Greater Springfield's masterplan also retains 30 per cent of the land holding for open, green space.

Springfield Land Corp[edit]

Maha established Springfield Land Corporation, of which he is the chairman, in conjunction with the purchase of the plot that would become Greater Springfield. The company is responsible for overseeing the development of the Greater Springfield area.[5]

Personal life[edit]

In 1968 he married Yoga, and had his first child. Maha has three daughters – Raynuha, Meera, Uma - and a son, Naren.[5] Maha has said that he enjoys spending his spare time golfing in Brookwater.[15]


Maha has donated more than $200 million of land and funds for vital social infrastructure, and established a program of scholarships within Greater Springfield to assist people with limited access to education. Maha also mentors a select group of young professionals, helping them to achieve personal excellence.

Awards and Recognition[edit]

Sinnathamby's work was acknowledged globally in 2010 with the emerging Greater Springfield being named the world's best master-planned community by the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI).[16] He also won the Ernst and Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maha Sinnathamby ... the man behind Australia's largest master-planned community
  2. ^ Schmidt, Lucinda (2016-01-27). "Australia's 50 Richest People". Forbes. Forbes. Retrieved 2016-07-13. 
  3. ^ "Greater Springfield named Australia's best master planned development - Greater Springfield". 2015-03-20. Retrieved 2016-07-14. 
  4. ^ Passmore, Daryl (11 December 2016). "City A Driver of Jobs Growth". Sunday Mail. p. 29. Mr Sinnathamby who turned 77 yesterday 
  5. ^ a b c d e f McCreadie, Karen (2012-07-31). Stop Not Till the Goal is Reached: The 10 Principles for Fearless Success That Inspired Maha Sinnathamby to Build a City. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781742468587. 
  6. ^ "Education City - Greater Springfield". Retrieved 2016-07-14. 
  7. ^ "Education in Greater Springfield: A Vision For Life-long Learning" (PDF). Greater Springfield. 
  8. ^ "Health City - Greater Springfield". Retrieved 2016-07-14. 
  9. ^ "Aveo Springfield". The Aveo Group. Retrieved 2016-07-14. 
  10. ^ "Polaris Data Centre - Greater Springfield". Retrieved 2016-07-14. 
  11. ^ "IDEA City - Greater Springfield". Retrieved 2016-07-14. 
  12. ^ Foster, Sophie (2016-05-28). "Springfield founder doubts another city like it is possible in Australia". Daily Telegraph. 
  13. ^ Calligeros, Marissa. "Springfield here we come: rail line construction to begin mid-year". Retrieved 2016-07-14. 
  14. ^ "SEQRP and Greater Springfield". Springfield Land Corporation. p. 2. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  15. ^ "ABOUT MAHA | Maha Sinnathamby". Retrieved 2016-07-14. 
  16. ^ springfieldQLD (2010-05-31), World's Best Master Planned Community, Greater Springfield, retrieved 2016-07-14 
  17. ^ Ernst and Young Master Entrepreneur of the Year 2003

Further reading[edit]

  • McCreadie, Karen (2012), Stop not till the goal is reached : the 10 principles for fearless success that inspired Maha Sinnathamby to build a city, Milton, Qld. John Wiley & Sons Australia, ISBN 978-1-74246-856-3