The wife of Australian billionaire and Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes has acquired Dunk Island, one of the few freehold islands on the Great Barrier Reef, for approximately $25 million.
While brokers JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group and CBRE were tight lipped about the identity of the purchaser and the price, sources confirmed to Business News Australia that Annie Cannon-Brookes had purchased the property.
Price estimates vary across different media outlets, but it is understood the billionaire's wife paid between $24-25 million for the land.
“Annie has purchased the land with the intent to preserve its natural beauty for years to come," a spokesperson for Annie Cannon-Brookes said.
It follows a tumultuous decade for Dunk Island, which sits off the coast of Mission Beach and was ravaged by Tropical Cyclone Yasi in 2011, forcing the closure of the Qantas and P&O-operated Dunk Island Resort.
In 2019, the island was acquired by James Mawhinney’s investment vehicle Mayfair 101 for $31.5 million - a move that was lauded at the time considering the businessman was going to rebuild the Dunk Island Resort and buy 200 tourism-related properties in the Mission Beach area.
Mawhinney’s plans were ultimately derailed after the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) took Mayfair 101 to court over allegations that the company was promoting misleading and deceptive financial advertisements.
The managing director of Mayfair 101, Mawhinney, was eventually slapped with a $30 million fine and a 20-year ban on dealing with financial products by the Federal Court, although he is currently appealing that decision.
Since then, the current Dunk Island owner Peter Bond (who is of no relation to the late Alan Bond) has been left holding the asset. Earlier this year, Upsense Media Capital tried to acquire the land for $20-25 million, but that bid ultimately failed.
The island maintains a number of useful utilities, including a mainland power connection, a commercial sealed airstrip, perpetual water and the remains of the Dunk Island Resort.
“This transaction reinforces the appeal of investment in coastal locations and the sentiment that leisure travel across Australia is poised for continued growth,” JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group senior vice president Andrew Langsford said.
“Given the history of this special asset, this is a very significant transaction for both Mission Beach and the greater Queensland tourism market,” added CBRE Hotels director Tom Gibson.
Even Mawhinney was happy about today’s news, which officially closes the chapter on his direct involvement with the island.
"I am pleased to see Dunk Island in the hands of a forward-thinking Australian who is committed to the environment,” Mawhinney said.
"This is a good outcome for the Cassowary Coast community and also for Mayfair 101's M Core noteholders, who will see a return based on this sale.”
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