Sir Vincent Fairfax, born in 1909 at Cambooya, Queensland, spent his early years on Marinya, near Toowoomba, the rural property owned by his parents Hubert and Ruth.
This developed in him a love of country life, an appetite for hard work, a common touch and a love of Queensland which shaped his later life. He was widely regarded as a good person whose deeply held Christian beliefs influenced his decision-making, interactions with others and, especially his leadership and philanthropy.
After leaving Queensland to study at Oxford in 1930, Sir Vincent returned in 1933 to take up work in the Sydney Morning Herald – family owned for nearly 150 years and Australia’s oldest newspaper. He later served as a director of the Fairfax companies for 38 years. His trusted reputation for leadership and decision-making led to his many senior leadership roles including serving as a director of the AMP for 26 years and as Chairman from 1966–1982. Sir Vincent was the inaugural Chairman from 1964–1982 and a pioneer of the Stanbroke Pastoral Co Pty Ltd which became Australia’s largest beef producer. Stanbroke proved to be a triumph for the AMP in a risky industry. He was also Chairman of the Australian Section, Commonwealth Press Union for over 20 years.
Among his long list of distinguished community contributions was his service as Chief Scout Commissioner for Australia, his Presidency of the Royal Agriculture Society of New South Wales and his long Vice-Presidency of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Acting on his belief that when a man has been given much, much will be expected of him and honouring a long-held family commitment to philanthropy, Sir Vincent established a charitable trust in 1962, now named the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation, which has to date, distributed over $100 million and keeps on giving. He received his knighthood in 1971 for recognition of his service to youth, finance and the press.
Throughout a distinguished life and career on the national stage, he remained a true Queenslander, living out the values and experiences which shaped him on the family farm and the owner of a number of significant rural properties in Queensland. Sir Vincent had a true sense of public duty and encouraged good leadership believing that the leadership landscape in Australia should be shaped by people who lead their communities with actions that are grounded in a strong ethical framework.