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After decade of destruction, turmoil and financial collapse, Dunk rises again


After a decade of turmoil and controversy, Queensland resort getaway Dunk Island has a new owner.

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The island has been sold to Mark Spillane’s Upsense Media Capital for an undisclosed sum, but rumoured to be around $20 million to $25 million.

If that’s the case it’s a big reduction from the $31 million it recently sold for but still a remarkable turnaround from when it was smashed by Cyclone Yasi in 2011.

The devastated resort was bought for $3 million by Brisbane millionaire Peter Bond, known for his role in the disastrous Linc Energy saga and then subsequently sold in 2019 to Mayfair 101, led by James Mawhinney, for $31.5 million. Mawhinney had plans to develop the island into a major residential and tourism project that collapsed, owing millions.

But the island was reclaimed by the Bond family’s Family Islands Operations after Mayfair failed to make repayments. 

Spillane is well known in entertainment and finance circles and started his working life as a guitarist.

Dunk is one of only a few freehold islands on the entire Great Barrier Reef.

It has also previously been owned by Qantas and P&O and before Yasi destroyed it, the island had a 4.5-star family resort featuring 160 guest rooms, a 9-hole golf course, multiple food and beverage outlets, tennis courts, and day spa.

 “We are delighted at the opportunity to bring new life to this iconic Australian asset and we look forward to working closely with the local community, regional and state government and other key stakeholders in planning a sustainable development,” Spillane said.

 The deal was brokered by JLL Hotels and Hospitality Group senior vice president Andrew Langsford and Nick Roche.

Langsford said Australia’s regional hotel market had been a huge beneficiary of Australia’s high overseas spend being diverted domestically. 

“However, when international travel resumes, we expect to see accelerated demand from international travelers visiting Australia as our attractiveness as a safe and trustworthy place to visit has been significantly enhanced,” he said.

The island apparently attracted significant interest from a broad range of capital sources, both domestic and international, despite the uncertainty around the COVID-19 environment. 

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