It costs a lot to be this ironic

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - JAMES WEIR -

IN a con­fus­ing move, two Aus­tralian tech bil­lion­aires have used their shiny tech money to buy neigh­bour­ing run­down dumps.

Mike Can­non-Brookes and Scott Far­quhar are the Hamish & Andy of the tech world. They in­vented some kind of fancy soft­ware and are now rolling in it — this year they were ranked in the top 10 rich­est peo­ple in Aus­tralia.

The boys can af­ford any home they want. As tech bil­lion­aires, they should be buy­ing re­ally elab­o­rate homes where ev­ery­thing’s made of chrome and you can ask Google Home to flush the toi­let.

But tech bil­lion­aires are com­plex peo­ple who love be­ing ironic. De­spite hav­ing zil­lions of dol­lars, they en­joy not wear­ing proper footwear and look­ing like they can’t af­ford sham­poo. They ride uni­cy­cles to the of­fice and love telling peo­ple they’ve never owned a suit.

But Can­non-Brookes and Far­quhar have taken bil­lion­aire irony to a new level. They’ve bought two old houses, once be­long­ing to the Fair­fax fam­ily. They’re now best friends, busi­ness part­ners, and neigh­bours liv­ing in homes that smell like old peo­ple.

Far­quhar snapped up the Elaine es­tate last year for a breezy $71 mil­lion. This week, Can­non-Brookes bought the neigh­bour­ing Fair­wa­ter es­tate for a re­ported $100 mil­lion.

Don’t let those eye-wa­ter­ing amounts fool you. While the Point Piper prop­er­ties look like palaces from the out­side, in­side it’s as if time stood still. Weird wood pan­elling clings to the walls and lino peels up off the floor. Wi-fi has never been in­stalled.

Ren­o­va­tions are ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary and we hope the boys go all out. The carved tim­ber stairs will be re­placed by a slip­pery dip. The sunken liv­ing room over­look­ing Syd­ney Har­bour — which was once used to en­ter­tain some of the world’s most high-pro­file peo­ple — will be trans­formed into a ball pit.

Lady Fair­fax would love it.

Scott Far­quhar and Mike Can­non-Brookes.

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