Chef Shannon Bennett spends $2 million buying on Belongil Beach

The Melbourne restaurateur Shannon Bennett has bought prime Byron Bay residential beachfront land from the entertainment industry entrepreneur John Cornell and his wife Delvene Delaney.

Shannon Bennett, owner of Vue de Monde restaurant, has paid $2 million for the five lot 4,588 square metre holding on the Belongil Beach peninsula.

There had been speculation Shannon Bennett had been in purchasing partnership with Adam Garrisson, the former owner of Melbourne's Windsor Hotel, but the recently settled acquistions are in his name only. An adjoining holding has been bought by Garrison's Wetherby GPO trust company for $2.25 million on extended settlement terms.

Bennett and Garrison are currently creating a six-star eco-resort at the Art Moderne mansion of Burnham Beeches, the 1930s estate on the edge of Melbourne.

The Cornell couple still have vacant land for sale through Glen Irwin at LJ Hooker Byron Bay including a three lot 2,090 square metre offering with approved plans for demountable module style abodes given coastal erosion concerns.


Byron Bay buyers have typically been split between Sydney, and those that cross the border from Melbourne and Brisbane over the past few decades.

Their timing depending on how the micro economies have been performing. 

It's suggested high-profile interlopers aren't encouraged to flash inflated egos or material symbols of their fame.

The Cornell's bought the 26 lot, one hectare holding in 1987 for $375,000 from the developer Peter Kurts. The compound was secured after the exodus of management from the meatworks, the town's previous main industry.

John Cornell has been long known as the Baron of Byron Bay with the entrepreneur, and his mate, the actor Paul Hogan, making their first property foray in the early 1980s, long before the prices of the district's properties took off.

For much of the subsequent two decades they were big buyers, although more recently sellers.

It was 1983 when Cornell, Hogan and another mate first homed in on the Byron district. They spent $265,000 in 1983 on an eight-hectare ocean-front holding, just south of the town on Seven Mile Beach. It sold for $5.02 million in 2005.

The Cornell couple are also selling 41 housing sites at nearby Ewingsdale, which comes with frontage onto Parkway Drive, McGettigans Lane and St Helena Road.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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