Book to reveal city's history
IT HAS taken 400 hours and two years to compile, but the extraordinary life of the man who built an entire city from scratch will hit book stores this year.
The currently untitled biography of Springfield Land Corporation chairman Maha Sinnathamby will detail his rise from a farming village in Malaysia to one of Queensland’s richest men.
It will describe the real life benefits of using his motto ‘Chase success and the money will come’.
But the book will also be a study of politics as Springfield has been created under four different Queensland premiers.
In the book, Mr Sinnathamby recalls how he stalked former premier Wayne Goss for months in 1992, badgering him for a face-to-face meeting.
His persistence eventually paid off years later when Mr Goss was convinced to support the dream of Springfield.
“Goss thought I was bloody mad and maybe I was,” Mr Sinnathamby said.
“I just kept showing up wherever he was. I would find out what functions he was going to and I would just show up there and be friendly with him and try to make a connection.
“No one thought it would work. But he eventually listened to me.”
Most people do.
The city of Springfield is now thriving with 20,000 residents while population projections state the city will house more than 100,000 people within 20 years.
But in 1991 the land had no buyers until Mr Sinnathamby saw it had the potential to transform the Ipswich region.
“In 1991 the average price for an Ipswich home was $23,000. It was a deprived place,” he said.
“I wanted to provide a nice place to live for people that could educate them and enable them to be better people.
“I think I have achieved that.
“I was told in 1992 that I could make an easy $8 million by dividing the land into big rural lots but I said no, I’m not going to do that, I’m going to fight to build a city here.
“Springfield could have been cows, tin sheds and barbed wire today if I had chosen to chase money instead of success.”
In a few words
Mr Sinnathamby founded Greater Springfield 20 years ago on nearly 3000 hectares of land.
His favourite saying is “It’s never a no, until it’s a yes.”
In 2009, he was the fifth richest person in Queensland with wealth estimated to exceed $700 million.
He travelled to Australia by boat in 1962 to study civil engineering at the University of New South Wales