JOANNA Baillieu, a member of the high-profile Melbourne family, has sold her historic Bromelton House homestead at Beaudesert in south-east Queensland to the son-in-law of wealthy Chinese investor Lawrence Lau.
The buyer, Stewart Murray, and his wife Kathy Lau, snapped up the 135-hectare property for a price believed to be more than $4 million and will turn the farm into a cattle genetics operation.
“It’s early stages at the moment,” Mr Murray said. “We have a pretty big business plan in place.”
Mr Murray, who is a veterinarian, said he was planing to breed the recognised Canadian pure breed of cattle, the Hays Converter. “It will be a cattle genetics project but it’s a bit secret at the moment,” he said.
Bromelton House sits within two hectares of landscaped gardens, formed around a native bean tree that is well over 100 years old.
The garden, which is regularly featured as part of Australia’s Open Garden Scheme, overlooks a 150-megalitre lagoon, which has water harvesting licences from the Logan River.
The farm also includes a pecan plantation, which Mr Murray said was a good investment.
“We have nearly 3000 pecan [trees] and that’s a good little side earner for us,” he said, “We have already sold pecans to a Swiss company.”
Mr Murray said he was also going to improve the six-hectare polo field which has irrigation hydrants.
The grand homestead has four 3.5-metre ceiling bedrooms, all with French doors opening to verandahs.
There are hoop pine timber floors, red cedar doors, four fireplaces and a billiards room.
Ms Baillieu, who purchased the property in 2001 , declined to comment on the transaction when contacted by The Australian Financial Review.
In 2010, she sold mixed-farming property North Toolburra outside Warwick, also in Queensland, for more than $10 million.
Raine & Horne Rural principal Danny Bukowski who negotiated the deal was unavailable for comment but said last year when marketing the property it was one of the best he had taken to market.
>> This article originally appeared in the Financial Review