Descendants of a Melbourne knight have collected a more than $100m in the sale of a 434ha grazing property just 50km north of the city’s CBD.

Sir Cecil Looker – a prominent businessman who was a private secretary to Sir Robert Menzies during World War II and later chair of the Melbourne and Australian stock exchanges – purchased the farm as a lifestyle property in the late ‘60s.

His family continued to operate the Merri Park estate at Beveridge as a cattle and sheep station after Sir Cecil passed away in 1988 – he was valued at $2.6million.

Chinese-backed Australian property developer, SIG group, bought the grazing property for a figure understood to be more than $100m.

The sale of the property comes after the family lobbied to have the site rezoned within Melbourne’s Urban Growth Boundary, with Victorian Planning Authority documents calling for it to be redevelopment as “an entire new suburb” in 2009.

Merri Park Grazing Property

The property was sold as an opportunity to develop and define the residential, industrial, commercial and logistical growth within the northern growth corridor of Melbourne.

The land, which also included parcels at 1355 Merriang Road and 300 Donovan’s Lane, Beveridge, offers extensive development opportunities.

About 100ha of the 434ha property has been rezoned for residential development, 199ha of industrial land and 125ha of potential future development land.

The planned Outer Metropolitan Ring Road will eventually run through a section of the property, separating the residential estate and land used for the Beveridge Intermodal Freight Terminal – a $2 million project announced in the federal budget.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the funding would create jobs now and “set Australia up for the future”.

“A new intermodal terminal in Melbourne will help to boost the productivity of the nation by helping businesses get their products to domestic and international markets faster following the completion of inland rail,” he said.