Atlassian's Mike Cannon-Brookes just bought Australia's most expensive home

Mike and Annie Cannon-Brookes. Picture Annie Cannon-Brookes/Facebook

  • Australia’s most expensive home, Fairwater, sells for “close to $100 million”
  • Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and wife confirmed as buyers
  • Property next door was bought by fellow Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar for more than $70 million

Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and his wife have bought Australia’s most expensive home, the Fairwater mansion on Sydney Harbour, Business Insider can reveal.

The price has not been disclosed, but Business Insider understands it is close to $100 million.

In a statement, the Cannon-Brookeses said they were “delighted with the purchase of Fairwater for our young family and look forward to continuing the legacy of this beautiful Sydney home.

“We love the idea of raising our four young children in this historic property, filling the house and gardens with love and laughter through the years.”

That’s Fairwater, with the pool. Picture: Google Maps

Fairwater, on the exclusive stretch of Sydney Harbour’s Point Piper beachfront, has been held by the Fairfax family for more than century. The Fairfax family were titans of the nation’s business landscape for generations and the sale to a co-founder of a global technology company is reflective of the shifts in wealth generation and success in modern Australia.

The view from Fairwater’s front garden. Picture: Supplied

The 1.121ha property stretches from New South Head Road to Seven Shillings Beach. It’s the largest private holding on Sydney Harbour and was listed a year after the death of Lady Mary Fairfax.

$100 million. That dwarfs the previous highest price paid for an Australian property, which was $71 million for the property next door.

That would be Fairwater’s older sister “Elaine”. Also formerly owned by a Fairfax family member, John B. Fairfax. And bought by Cannon-Brooke’s fellow Atlassian co-founder, Scott Farquhar and his wife Kim Jackson.

Their purchase ended concerns that the 0.7ha property would be divided up into four separate developments.

Farquhar told BI at the Atlassian Summit 2018 conference in Barcelona last month that Elaine was “a work in progress”.

“Well, we’re living there, but it’s got… It’s beautiful land but the house itself needs a lot of work,” he said. “The owner hadn’t lived in it for 25 years, so it really hasn’t been maintained in quite a while.”

Elaine – work in progress. Image courtesy of Ken Jacobs

Fairwater was designed by John Horbury Hunt and built in 1881 for stockbroker Francis Edward Joseph.

While up to 25% more expensive than Elaine, Fairwater has some advantages. It’s bigger, obviously, by about 4000 square metres.

Jacobs told Domain Fairwater had “greater architectural merit” as well, and the Cannon Brookeses will get an extra two houses and a swimming pool, as well as better views.

It came into Fairfax hands in 1901 when Sir James Oswald Fairfax paid £5350 for the two-storey house, set about additions from 1910 onwards. It is described in heritage records as “medieval and Queen Anne inspired”.

Sir Warwick Fairfax moved into Fairwater in 1968 with Lady Fairfax, who in 1996, claimed she would leave it to the people of NSW.

The Cannon-Brookeses recently sold Braelyn, near Sydney’s Centennial Park, for $16.5 million.

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