July 14, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier
After a difficult decade-and-a-half-plus which saw one of the few freehold islands in the Great Barrier Reef pummelled and damaged by two cyclones and unsuccessfully acquired by one and a half new owners, Dunk Island has been sold to Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon Brookes and his family for between $23 and $24 million, according to multiple media reports.
The island has a 160-room resort on it which was damaged by Cyclone Larry in 2006 and Cyclone Yasi in 2011. The destruction caused by the latter was never repaired and the resort never reopened.
It was bought at the rough price of a high-end Sydney property in 2012 by Peter Bond, founder of Linc Energy, which went into liquidation in 2016.
In 2019, the island was purchased by private equity business Mayfair 101, for somewhere around the $31 million mark, but the property was eventually repossessed by the Bond family and Mayfair 101 and associated companies are currently subject to an ongoing investigation by ASIC. During their investigative process, the Australian financial regulatory body has imposed millions of dollars in fines and banned several people associated with Mayfair 101 from a variety of financial activities for up to 20 years – moves which are being challenged in court by their subjects.
In 2021, another private equity firm, Upsense Media Capital, which specialises in the entertainment and media sectors, was widely publicised to have bought Dunk Island, however the sale never fully eventuated.
Here’s hoping the second try by an energy-associated family – Cannon-Brookes is AGL’s largest shareholder and made a take-over bid for the energy company earlier this year – will yield a more fruitful future for Dunk Island, which has potential as both an incentive and conference destination.
The purchase by the Cannon-Brookes family is widely reported to be driven by Mike’s wife Annie.