Australia's largest banana grower is taking advantage of a boom in the agricultural sector and put one of its premier intensive horticultural landholdings in the Bundaberg region on the market.

The Mackay family - which had been in the business over four generations - is selling Norbrook on the southern bank of the Kolan River at Bucca.

The 514.38ha and has historically produced bananas, avocados and sugarcane however, recent development have also included the establishment of lychee and mango plantings.

An expected price tag has not been revealed but the farm, which the Mackay family bought in 2015, is set to sell for millions.

JLL director of agribusiness Chris Holgar, who is running the expressions of interest campaign with Clayton Smith and Geoff Warriner, said they expect interest from a broad spectrum of industry participants including private and institutional investors.


The Mackay family's Norbrook landhanding at Bucca in the Bundaberg regions.
The Mackay family's Norbrook landhanding at Bucca in the Bundaberg regions.

He said the property includes 17ha of avocados, 66ha of bananas, 103ha of irrigated sugarcane, 4ha of lychees and 6ha of mangoes.

"The Kolan River is the primary water harvesting source flowing along the northern boundary into the Bucca Weir, which is adjacent to the property," Mr Holgar said.

"This source along with the associated water licences out of the Bundaberg Irrigation Scheme provides a high degree of water security.

"Underpinned by quality infrastructure, reliable water resources, suitable land and soil types and scale, future development plans include the expansion of avocado plantings and new plantings of macadamias."

Since the business started in 1945 by Stan Mackay with small banana plantation in Tully in North Queensland, the family has grown it into one of the most extensive horticultural portfolio of landholdings in the state, primarily focused on bananas.

The properties, also include an 800 head commercial cattle herd, are focused in Tully, the Lakeland Downs regions and around Bundaberg.

The Mackay family's Norbrook at Bucca in the Bundaberg region.
The Mackay family's Norbrook at Bucca in the Bundaberg region.

Mr Warriner said the Australian rural property sector was the strongest it has been in a decade, with more than $110m in sales finalised during the first quarter of 2021 for JLL and a further $50m placed under contract.

"Australian agribusiness continues to assert its position as a secure and stable asset class. The market is currently the strongest it has been in 10 years, and sales activity is not predicted to slow as family, private, institutional and non-traditional buyers look to the rural sector for investment longevity and stability," he said.

"Norbrook represents a unique opportunity to acquire an established diversified horticultural enterprise with ample scope for expansion to further high-value tree crops, and as current market trends gravitate towards permanent plantings, there is opportunity for further development," he said.



Originally published as Queensland banana empire selling landmark Bundaberg farm