Gina Rinehart's $10.3 billion mining fortune has propelled her into the position of Australia's wealthiest person, taking the crown from Frank Lowy who topped last year's BRW Rich 200.
Not only is she the first woman in the list's 28-year history to lead it, but she also made the biggest fortune ever to be recorded by the BRW Rich 200, with her wealth more than doubling from $4.75 billion last year.
"This is the first time anyone has cracked $10 billion," said BRW Rich 200 editor, Andrew Heathcote.
"The resources boom has been very fortuitous for her but it has also been due to some very smart decisions along the way and, because of her genuine business smarts, she has done better than any other resource magnate in the country."
Top six wealthiest in the BRW Rich 200
Frank Lowy, chairman of Westfield shopping centres, tumbled to sixth position on the list with $4.98 billion, down from $5.04 billion last year. However, Heathcote said this had more do with the increase in other people's fortunes than a sharp fall in his own.
"He hasn't had a particularly poor year but has really just been a victim of rise of the top players in resources," Heathcote said.
One of the big surprises this year was Glencore's Ivan Glasenberg, who grabbed second place with $8.8 billion in his debut on the list, he said.
The South Africa-born businessman has lived in Switzerland for 20 years but also has Australian citizenship. According to Heathcote his large fortune only recently came to light during the public listing process of the Swiss-based commodities trading firm.
"This is his first time on list. No one ever debuted anywhere near the top spot, and [$8.8 billion] is a massive number" said Heathcote, adding that Glencore had benefited strongly from its "large exposure" to the resources industry.
Resources also helped 35-year-old Nathan Tinker to claim the distinction of being the youngest person to appear on the list (at position 35) and also ranking as a billionaire for the first time with a $1.01 billion fortune.
Malcolm Turnbull, Australia's wealthiest politician, fell off the list altogether from last year's spot at position 197.
Overall, the rich list gained a 23 per cent rise in wealth to $167.25 billion, and five new billionaires took the total to 35.
Most appearances on this year's list were self-made, with only 17 per cent inheriting their wealth. The number of women in the list remained at 15 in line with last year, BRW said.
Heathcote said while no key industries slipped substantially throughout the year, some property fortunes had remained stagnant and a few retail bosses had also appeared to "struggle" this year.
"The list does demonstrate the two-speed economy. With the rise in overall wealth, we are seeing strong growth in resources but most other industries are sitting fairly stable or slightly up on last year," he said.
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