The son of the late Australian wool baron Sir William Gunn, Bill Gunn is the founder and majority shareholder in Gunn Agri Partners.
The business runs several large-scale cattle stations across Australia, and has a total of around 1.3 million hectares under its control.
Robert McBride and his family own and operate a slew of wool-producing businesses across Australia that account for a significant chunk of the country's wool industry. All in all, the family says it owns 1.3 million hectares of land Down Under.
Thanks to the 513,057 hectares it owns in the US, the Irving family – which is headed up by brothers Arthur and James, who hail from Canada – are the sixth-largest landowner in America.
However, the lumber divison of Irving also owns around 800,000 hectares of private timberlands across New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In total, the Irving clan owns at least 1.3 million hectares.
In April 2020, the McMillan Pastoral Company agreed to buy Australia's Wollogorang Station and Wentworth Station from Chinese billionaire Xingfa Ma, who had acquired the holdings in 2015. The deal cost AU$53 million ($41m/£30m) and boosted the McMillan family’s portfolio by almost 706,000 hectares.
In their second acquisition of 2020, the McMillans then purchased Roxborough Downs and Mudgerebar Station, adding another 420,000 hectares. This cost close to AU$40 million ($29.5m/£22.5m). The family already owned Calvert Hills Station in Queensland, which they acquired for AU$15 million ($11.6m/£8.5m) in 2013, bringing their total land to at least 1.6 million hectares.
The Lee family owns Australian Country Choice, one of Queensland's biggest and most successful farming firms. The company operates 42 properties in the state, which collectively add up to around 1.75 million hectares.
Malcom Harris and family own Cleveland Agriculture, which is part of Six Rivers Beef. Starting in 2018 Harris bought several properties from investor Consolidated Pastoral Company. Cleveland now has at least four properties including the Nockatunga station of 852,000 hectares in Queensland, Australia. Cleveland Agriculture's portfolio also includes the 450,000-hectare Benmara Station, 370,000-hectare Gogo Station and Ucharonidge Station of 245,550 hectares.
With a fortune of $20.4 billion (£13.8bn) according to Forbes, mining legend Andrew 'Twiggy' Forrest is one of Australia's richest people, and he has significant livestock farming interests.
In February 2022, he added another 634,000 hectares to his portfolio by purchasing Balfour Downs from Xingfa Ma. This brought Forrest's portfolio to just shy of two million hectares.
The Hewitt family have been pastoralists in Queensland for generations and the clan still controls numerous land holdings across the Australian state, as well as in the Northern Territory and New South Wales.
The family’s extensive portfolio includes 16 holdings, such as the recently-acquired Narwietooma aggregation, which comprises 1,108,200 hectares. Purchased in February 2022, it nearly doubled the family's land ownership to 2.05 million hectares and reportedly cost close to AU$100 million ($74m/£56m).
The Morgan and Wells families together own 2.1 million hectares of land along the border of South Australia and New South Wales.
Their Mutooroo Pastoral Company was established in 1868 and manages five cattle stations, including Quinyambie, which alone comprises 1.2 million hectares.
One of the world's leading packaging and paper production companies, the South Africa-born Mondi Group manages 2.4 million hectares of forests across South Africa and Russia.
Australian retail entrepreneur Brett Blundy has amassed an epic portfolio of land over the past few years. His cattle business BBRC owns about 2.4 million hectares in total, although that figure could be set to change.
Its supersized Walhallow Station in the Northern Territory is currently on the market, with the asking price currently sitting at around AU$200 million ($145m/£111m).
Swedish bank Handelsbanken is the majority owner of the Swedish Cellulose Company, Europe's largest landowner.
The company says it has around 2.6 million hectares of forest in northern Sweden, equivalent to the size of the country of North Macedonia.
The aristocratic Holmes à Court family are the proud owners of Australia's Heytesbury Cattle Company, which controls more than 2.7 million hectares of land across the country's vast Northern Territory.
Along with his family, organic agriculture enthusiast David Brook owns and operates farms in southern Queensland and South Australia.
His holdings total 3 million hectares according to the OBE Organic Group, which is a conglomerate of farms owned by families across Australia and comprising more than 8 million hectares. Brook is founding director and chairman of the organisation, as well as a shareholder.
The Hughes clan have run their family cattle business in Queensland since 1872. The Hughes Pastoral Company is one of the biggest and most profitable beef-producing enterprises on the planet, and specialises in the premium Wagyu cut.
In June 2021, the company paid a record-breaking AUS$180 million ($131m/£100m) for the 438,000-hectare Miranda Downs cattle station, marking the largest amount of money ever paid for a single pastoral holding in Australia. The purchase brought the Hughes's total holdings to around 3,138,000 hectares.
Old McDonald had a farm – and then some. The venerable McDonalds have been farming Down Under since the early 19th century, and by 2013 McDonald Holdings was running a total of 175,000 head of cattle over 3.36 million hectares in the heart of Queensland.
That same year, tragedy struck the family when cattle baron Alexander McDonald died after falling from a windmill. The family's MDH Pty organisation still operates 14 properties across its millions of hectares.
The Consolidated Pastoral Company owns approximately 300,000 head of cattle at any one time, as well as 3.6 million hectares throughout Australia. It also has two feedlots in Indonesia.
The company is majority-owned by UK investor Guy Hands's Terra Firma Capital Partners, which snapped the business up from businessman James Packer in 2009. Hands is pictured here.
The Paraway Pastoral Company is yet another vast Australian farming enterprise, and runs a number of major sheep, cattle, and crop businesses that collectively cover more than 4.4 million hectares across the country.
The firm is owned by Macquarie Asset Management, the Sydney-based banking giant.
The Williams family's eponymous cattle company acquired the gigantic Anna Creek Station in South Australia in 2016 which, at 1.57 million hectares, is the largest working cattle station in the world.
The family also owns another six cattle stations and additional grazing land, which adds up to a total of 4.5 million hectares.
The Handbury Group, headed up by the nephew of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, owns and operates Arcoona Cattle Station and Wagyu cattle property Swinging Shovel in South Australia, as well as Western Australia's The Rises. The combined hectarage of the properties comes to more than 5.28 million.
Unsurprisingly Australia's wealthiest person is among the country's top private landowners. In 2016 mining magnate Gina Rinehart (pictured), who has a net worth of $31.2 billion (£23.8bn), teamed up with China's Shanghai CRED Pastoral to buy the lion's share of S. Kidman & Co. As the largest individual private landholding on the planet at that time, this added to her already bulging real estate portfolio.
Controversially, Rinehart has faced opposition while working to open a new 2,800-hectare coal mine in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. While she's keen to expand her mining empire, she's currently busy selling off swathes of land elsewhere. According to ABC Rural, Rinehart sold around 3,787,519 hectares in January 2022, bringing her total holdings down from an estimated 9.2 million hectares to just over 5.4 million. Prior to the sale, she was Australia's biggest landowner.
Founded in 1877, the privately-owned North Australian Pastoral Company is one of the largest cattle companies Down Under.
The company manages over six million hectares in Queensland and the Northern Territory. This includes the 1.6 million-hectare farm Alexandria, which has around 80,000 cattle.
Another Australian farming business, the Jumbuck Pastoral Company was established in Adelaide by patriarch H. P. MacLachlan back in 1888.
The firm, which is wholly operated by the founder's descendants, owned 5.7 million hectares of land as of 2016 according to The Weekly Times. It has since expanded its holdings thanks to its 2021 purchase of Wave Hill Station, which comprises of 1.25 million hectares and was snapped up for around AU$100 million ($74m/£56m).
Dating back to 1824, the Australian Agricultural Company is one of the country's oldest firms. Today, British tycoon Joe Lewis (pictured) is the major shareholder. The company owns and operates a huge 6.4 million hectares across Queensland and the Northern Territory.
In late 2018, Australian farmers Viv Oldfield and Donny Costello teamed up to buy Clifton Hills, a 1.65 million-hectare cattle station in South Australia that is widely considered to be one of the world's largest farms.
Earlier this year, their joint venture Crown Point Pastoral boosted its holdings by a further 3.26 million hectares after it bought three stations from Gina Rinehart, bringing its total landmass to 7.2 million hectares. The families are now the largest private land owners in Australia.
The world's largest farm is the 9.1 million-hectare Mudanjiang City Mega Farm in China, which is jointly owned by China's Zhongding Dairy Farming and Russia's Severny Bur.
The dairy farm, which is roughly the size of Portugal, supplies the Russian market and is home to 100,000 cows. Collectively, its bovine mass can produce 800 million litres of milk a year.
Thanks to the Western Arctic (Inuvialuit) Claims Settlement Act, signed in 1984, the Inuvialuit people living in Canada’s western Arctic area hold title to 910,000 square kilometres of land, the equivalent of 9.1 million hectares.
The region’s logo is a gyrfalcon, which is the largest falcon in the world. It was chosen just as the bird was about to be removed from the endangered species list, serving as a symbol for the Inuvialuit’s resilience, particularly when it comes to the contentious issue of land ownership.
The Inuit people in Nunavut, northern Canada, have title to over an enormous 35.3 million hectares in the region.
The land was handed over by the Canadian Government in the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement of 1993, and went on to form the territory of Nunavut, which was founded in 1999.
The Catholic Church is estimated to hold an incredible 71.6 million hectares of land in its bulging real estate portfolio, an area larger than France, according to The New Statesman.
This means that the Holy See is the second-largest non-government landowner in the world, with vast swathes of land in countries from Germany to India under its control.
By far the world's largest non-governmental landowner, Queen Elizabeth II was the head of the British Commonwealth from 1953 until her death on 8 September this year. As a result, she was technically the legal owner of around 2.7 billion hectares of land, as estimated by The New Statesman. This equates to around a sixth of the planet's land surface, which now belongs to King Charles III as the new British monarch.
The Crown Estate includes prime chunks of London, massive tracts of agricultural land in rural Britain, and around half of the UK's foreshore. The Crown also owns over 90% of the land in Canada, where King Charles III is now Head of State. However, the land cannot be sold by the reigning monarch and isn't considered their private property.
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