It is the end of an era in Dunkeld, western Victoria, with the veteran Clarke farming family disposing of part of the historic Devon Park after more than 90 years.
The 1273 hectare holding – used for livestock grazing but with portions suitable for cropping – traded for $14.155 million yesterday at auction, an unusual sale method for a rural property.
Sources at the well-attended event say it was snapped up by Australian QC, University of Melbourne chancellor, respected businessman and AFR Rich List member, Allan Myers AC QC, who was raised in the area and owns Dunkeld Pastoral nearby. Any acquisition however could not be confirmed.
The Clarke family offering didn’t include the heritage listed and landmark Devon Park homestead (pictured, right) – previously known as Linlithgow Plains and which the Victorian Heritage Council describes as one of the state’s earliest examples of a squatting run.
Devon Park has been held by some significant business names in western Victoria agriculture – including the Kennedy brothers and prominent Geelong entrepreneur Silas Harding.
It last traded in 1928 to descendants of pastoralist and politician William John Turner (WJT) ‘Big’ Clarke – who, according to this Wikipedia page was also known as ‘Moneyed Clarke’ and was for a period in the late 19th century considered Australia’s wealthiest person.
The Dunkeld estate has been maintained as a profitable working farm and the owners have invested significantly on the improvements, even up until recently.
CBRE Agribusiness regional director Danny Thomas was the marketing agent, with The Auction Company’s Paul Tzamalis carrying out the event.
The sale price valued every hectare of land at (a high) c$11,120 (story continues below).
Devon Park offering “top of the pile”: CBRE
The portion which was cut out has a kilometre of frontage to Penshurst-Dunkeld Road, and four times that to each of Preuss Lane and Blackwood-Dunkeld Road.
It is contiguous, fenced, and has infrastructure including a laneway system and, for livestock, water access.
According to Mr Thomas, it was “highly productive” with “excellent climatic characteristics” including an average annual 693mm rainfall.
With a manager’s residence and ancillary shedding, too, the holding has an estimated 17,750 Dry Sheep Equivalent (DSE) capacity.
“This is the top of the pile when it comes to rural land opportunities,” the broker said, adding it is “the only property of this scale available to the market between Geelong and Adelaide”.
Devon Park, at the southern tip of Grampians National Park, is 11 lineal kilometres south of the Dunkeld town centre.
It is about 283 kilometres north west of Melbourne’s CBD and twice that distance south east of Adelaide.