Mining billionaire John Grill secures a $13 million wedge of Whale Beach: Title Tattle

Mining billionaire John Grill secures a $13 million wedge of Whale Beach: Title Tattle
Mining billionaire John Grill secures a $13 million wedge of Whale Beach: Title Tattle

The retiring billionaire John Grill, from the mining services company WorleyParsons, has emerged as the $13 million-plus buyer of the Wedge, the beachfront home at Whale Beach.

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It was sold last month by the businessman and environmental activist Geoff Cousins, snapped up within 10 days of hitting the market through Raine & Horne Palm Beach agent Glenn Lee. The actual sale price remains very much unconfirmed.

Despite the prestige Palm Beach peninsula rumour mill's normal reliability, Title Tattle scoffed at the almost instantaneous rumours it had been the neighbouring hedge fund expatriate Greg Coffey who'd bought himself an early retirement present, with Title Tattle proffering instead the buyer was from the mining services industry.

Grill stepped down last month as the chief executive of WorleyParsons, the mining engineering giant he co-founded, but will now become its chairman.

His wealth has fluctuated over the course of the mining boom, but he was estimated as having billioniare status in Forbes 2006 listed as #1014 with a net worth of US$1.01 billion, the 19th richest man in Australia and New Zealand. In the latest ranking of Business Review Weekly's richest Australian executives and managers, John Grill had a $780 million estimated value.

Now the retired lawyer Malcolm McLean and his artist wife, Jean, have listed their nearby beachfront home with $10 million-plus hopes through Glenn Lee when offers close November 29.

The Whale Beach Road property is two doors from the beachfront retreat of Geoff Cousins.

Both the Cousins house – built in 1991 – and the 2002 McLean house (pictured below) were designed by architect John Crawford.

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The McLean residence is described as a modern, Hamptons-style, five-bedroom house with sweeping beach views. The home boasts two pavilions with an interconnecting corridor, five bedrooms, including private master retreat.

The McLeans' 1,567-square-metre block is bigger than the Wedge's 1,392 square metres and by some pundits' measurements the largest land holding on Whale Beach.

Jean McLean is originally from St Martins College of Art London, a designer and artist who shares the home with husband Malcolm McLean, the former managing partner of Greenwoods and Freehills, the tax arm of Herbert Smith Freehills. They are downsizing to a city apartment.

He retired in 2007 after many decades advising clients on Australian taxation matters.

The previous Whale Beach record stood at $13 million achieved for 245 Whale Beach Road in May 2007. Coincidentally that had been Cousins' previous northern beaches weekender, having sold to the late international photographer Richard Bailey for $1.5 million in 1994.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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