AN artist impression of facilities at a proposed $41 million development at Empire Vale.
AN artist impression of facilities at a proposed $41 million development at Empire Vale. Contributed

Who are the beef barons behind $41m development?

THE family set to build a $41 million private retreat at Empire Vale - complete with helipad, go kart track and clay shooting range - came from humble beginnings.

The Menegazzo family from Queensland are now one of the country's largest beef producers, but their story began in Australia in 1925 - new to Australia from Italy, keen to make a living from growing fruit and vegetables.

 

Screengrab from ABC News of file footage of Australian cattle baron, Peter Menegazzo whos Piper Chieftain plane crashed in bad weather about 20km west of Condobolin in western NSW, Friday December 2, 2005. Mr Menegazzo, his wife Angela, the pilot and another man lost their lives in the crash. (AAP Image/ABC News)
Screengrab from ABC News of file footage of Australian cattle baron, Peter Menegazzo whos Piper Chieftain plane crashed in bad weather about 20km west of Condobolin in western NSW, Friday December 2, 2005. Mr Menegazzo, his wife Angela, the pilot and another man lost their lives in the crash. (AAP Image/ABC News) ABC NEWS

Peter Menegazzo was born in the 1940s and helped his parents grow their Victorian based fruit and vegetable farm into a national concern.

He became one of the country's largest potato growers, even growing a special variety of potato for Smith's Crisps.

Peter decided to move his interests to beef after a holiday to Cape York in 1987, purchasing several Queensland cattle stations, including Van Rook, Glen Ore and Warren Vale.

In 2003, he was part of a consortium with Jack Cowin, founder of Hungry Jack's, and Queensland grazier Peter Hughes, which bought the Stanbroke Pastoral Company from AMP for $491 million.

It was said to be the largest rural transaction in Australian history, and the "deal of the century".

The consortium split after eight months, and Peter bought out his partners for a rumoured $340 million, making a reported cash return of more than $500 million in less than a year.

With that, Peter became one of Australia's largest landholders, and the third-biggest cattle owner.

It brought a great deal of attention to someone who was an intensely private man.

Stanbroke operates eight cattle stations in northern Queensland, when combined encompass over 1.6 million hectares of prime grazing country. They also manage 46 properties in southern Queensland which are used to background cattle and prepare them for entry into the feedlot.

On December 2, 2005, Peter Menegazzo, his wife Angela, pilot Anthony Gobel, and co-pilot Derek Mostyn were killed when the twin engine Piper Chieftain they were flying crashed in severe weather near Condobolin.

They were survived by four children Brendan, Mark, Deborah and David.

Brendan Menegazzo continues the third generation of Menegazzo family food production in Australia.

He is currently the Managing Director of Stanbroke, which has connections to Ringtank Pty Ltd, the company listed on the Empire Vale development application.



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