Vast WA estate expected to sell for around $40 million

The 11,170ha site includes multiple titles and is expected to sell for around $40 million.  Picture:
The 11,170ha site includes multiple titles and is expected to sell for around $40 million. Picture:

An unassuming American-born businessman who owned most of the coastal fishing village of Lancelin will donate the sale proceeds of his $40 million land estate to charity, in a remarkable final act of kindness.

The impressive landholding of over 11,170ha was amassed by the late Joseph Beck Matthews and his family 40 years ago and could facilitate significant expansion of the small township, an hour’s drive north of Perth.

Considered the largest landholding portfolio in the district, the property spans from the Lancelin to Breton Bay and includes more than 8700ha of productive farmland at the Karakin, San Angelo and Baramba Farms.

It also includes 1775ha of rural and conservation land and more than 4000 residential lots.

The vast landholding, which is for sale in an expressions of interest campaign, is expected to fetch around $40 million.

JLL agribusiness specialist Clayton Smith said Karakin, San Angelo and Baramba Farms had a big future with their export infrastructure, favourable rains, high stock carrying capacity, productive soils and multiple titles.

“We see plenty of scope for various rural pursuits here including the possibility of reintroducing intensive agriculture and expect the market will eagerly pursue this opportunity,” Mr Smith said.

JLL WA sales and investments director Sean Flynn said Lancelin has seen an uplift in buyer activity given its close proximity to the Perth metropolitan area.

“We see this as a structural change as buyers seek to relocate to the outskirts of major cities and nearby rural communities that offer a viable commute and an ocean-based lifestyle,” Mr Flynn said.

“This private landholding has the added benefit of being only 2km from Lancelin with direct access to a pristine beach, some of WA’s best cray and deep-sea fishing and a golf course literally next door.”

Master plan for Lancelin

The Lancelin estate has been listed for sale as part of Mr Matthews’s estate, with proceeds to be bequeathed to the Karakin Foundation, a charity he established in 1997.

Mr Matthews had plans to expand the community in Lancelin. Picture:

The foundation helps adults with intellectual disabilities, provides educational scholarships and offers specially adapted homes for US veterans with disabilities. In recent years, its remit has expanded to providing clean drinking water and healthcare facilities in the developing nations of South East Asia and Africa.

Close friend and colleague Sam Williams, who worked for Mr Matthews for 11 years, said the trained geologist was a humble and hands-on entrepreneur who was incredibly gifted and business savvy, but philanthropy also played a big part in his life.

“He was a very generous man in the Lancelin community. I know he gave a big portion of his water licence to the Lancelin Golf Club and provided some donations to the club in terms of equipment and finance for the irrigation of their course,” Mr Williams said.

“In his eyes he would have thought it his civic duty. He would say he was fortunate enough and the family had worked hard to be independently wealthy and he wanted to share that with humanity.”

Mr Matthews had visions of a massive expansion of the Lancelin community and over the years had secured planning approval for a subdivision of the 300-lot Seaview Park rural residential estate.

He later secured approval for the 675ha master planned Lancelin South development which is expected to one day deliver 4000 residential lots ranging from 500sqm to 5000sqm, 122 light industrial lots, three primary schools, a secondary school, parklands and direct pedestrian and cycle connections to the beach, Lancelin township and golf club.

“He was very much a man who kept to himself and was very understated,” Mr Williams said.

“The Matthews family purchased the property some time ago to broaden their agricultural interests. They were a ranching family (in the US) so obviously there was that strong agricultural interest and Joe became the owner of the landholding…He took over the farming operation of Karakin, San Angelo and Cowalla (Baramba) Farms.”

In farming, Mr Matthews explored growing grain crops, running sheep for wool and developed a potato growing operation. Mr Williams said his friend was up for any challenge.

“He was a very practical man, he was very hands on. He would be the guy who would be working on the potato harvester and if something went wrong he’d be welding, lathing a part to fix it,” he said.

“He was pretty much the quintessential all-round farmer who just knows a lot about everything and makes an operation hum. But he was also a developer. In wanting to realise a greater vision for the town of Lancelin, he embarked on the rezoning and the development of Lancelin South.”

He lived on the property when in Lancelin and spent up to three months a year in Australia.

Axia Corporate Property and JLL are taking expressions of interest in the sale. EOIs close on July 7.