Mining contractor buys Stowe farm

Rhianna King

A little-known WA mining contractor has been revealed as the new owner of one of Perth's most famous properties, Devereaux Farm.

Linkforce Engineering director Luke Herbert paid $21.35 million for Ric Stowe's family mansion, which has been on the market since 2010.

The sprawling 2470ha property in Bullsbrook is one of Australia's largest urban estates and boasts five residences, a polo field and clubhouse, two helicopter pads, a private chapel, a pool and tennis court. It was listed for sale by receivers after Mr Stowe's coal empire collapsed.

Mr Herbert, who grew up on cattle stations in the Pilbara, said the property offered a good opportunity for his family.

"It's a nice part of the world," he said yesterday. "I'm looking forward to spending time there.

"Growing up in the North West as a child, it's a fantastic life and I think, hopefully, my children, while not on a cattle station in the north, will experience a bit of rural, even though it's not by any means remote."

Mr Herbert, 36, set up Linkforce Engineering in 2007, specialising in shutdown, construction and scaffolding services and equipment hire in the Pilbara.

The company recorded a $92.9 million turnover in the 2011-12 financial year, up 54 per cent on the previous year.

Mr Herbert has spent most of his life working in the mining industry in the Pilbara but now lives in Mosman Park with wife Melinda and their two children.

He is likely to run cattle on the farm but said he had not decided if he would live at the property.

"Things are usually pretty busy but hopefully I'll spend some time there and enjoy it," Mr Herbert said. "It's a lovely property and a good opportunity."

Mr Herbert, who was ranked 90th on BRW's young rich list in September, said he liked to keep a low profile. He grew up on Juna Downs station, which his family later sold to Rio Tinto, and his father Matt managed several cattle stations for the mining giant.

Selling agent John Garland, from John Garland International, said Devereaux Farm was unique. "It was very, very hard to find buyers for because it's a one-off situation," he said. "It's a beautiful property and irreplaceable as far as cost is concerned."

Mr Garland described Mr Herbert as a "hardworking and successful businessman" who was very private. Devereaux Farm, which includes an eight-bedroom mansion, was initially valued at $70 million but the sale campaign was interrupted several times, including when Mr Stowe put in an offer.

It was listed for sale again when the offer did not progress.

The 16-lot farm has Avon and Brockman river frontages and has played host to countless A-list parties and polo matches.

Devereaux Farm.