babe is a frequent flyer, by Andrew Hornery -
10th May 2008
The Sydney Morning Herald)
Eighteen months ago she was known
simply as the model Erica Baxter, a regular on
the Bondi Beach social scene, aspiring pop star
and on-again, off-again girlfriend of the fabulously
wealthy James Packer.
then she was keenly aware that even friends of
the Packers do things discreetly, forcing her
to wear dodgy wigs to perform incognito at grungy
inner-city Sydney pubs.
times have changed.
days she is known as the haute couture-wearing
Erica Packer, wife of the billionaire James and
friend of the world's rich and famous.
singing career may have ended up with her debut
CD in the $1.99 discount bin at record shops,
but Erica has a far greater project to focus on
- the birth of her first baby in just a couple
of months' time.
while she had become a regular at the Church of
Scientology and undertaken several of its courses,
don't expect her to be having a "silent birth"
when the bundle of joy finally arrives. Just as
her husband has slipped away from Scientology,
so too has Erica.
months now she has been "nesting" at
Ellerston, the sprawling Packer country estate
about an hour's drive from Scone in the Hunter
billionaires don't "nest" like the rest
of us, painting the nursery and buying stuffed
and James are building their own lavish retreat
at Ellerston next to the family homestead.
say the couple will spend a significant amount
of time raising their progeny at Ellerston, far
from Sydney's prying eyes, while making regular
trips to their other homes across the world.
of the many features Erica has planned for the
new country home is a large pool so she can keep
up with her regular lap swimming while "slumming
it" in the bush.
personal helicopter has also become a regular
sight in the skies above Scone, ferrying the former
model and her billionaire baby bump between Ellerston
and her parents' home in Gunnedah, a handy 10-minute
flight away. Locals say the chopper frequently
lands in her parents' backyard, with Erica popping
in for lunch with the folks.
while her husband's many international business
commitments and burgeoning global casino business
have kept him in a constant state of jet-lag for
years, PS hears he has also been spending considerable
time at Ellerston by his wife's side.