Last June a Sydney salesman named Bazil Thorne and his wife Freda won £100.000 ($225,000) in a state lottery to raise money for Sydney's new opera house. They vowed that they would not let the money go to their heads. They went right on living in their modest brick duplex in suburban Bondi and invested their new wealth. The only member of the Thorne family to get excited over the windfall was eight-year-old Graeme, a third-grader at a private school called Scots College.

"I'm Graeme Thorne, the £100.000 boy." he boasted to classmates. One morning last month, neatly turned out in...

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