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Creating A Living Legacy | Ballina Wave


The Ranch, Chris Murphy & Plans For The Future

Stevey Arena gives a touching insight into the hopes and dreams of Sugar Beach Ranch after her heavy loss of her father Chris Murphy, the previous owner of the ranch.

Raised by rock royalty, Stevey Arena is a powerful force in her own right. As the eldest daughter of late Chris 'CM' Murphy, longtime manager of INXS, she is now dedicated to fulfilling her father's legacy and continuing his plan for INXS, The Buckleys and many other exciting projects - one of which is the development of Sugar Beach Ranch, a beachside haven in South Ballina.

The Legacy

​In January 2021 Stevey's father, Chris, passed away following a battle with a rare form of cancer. In passing, he left behind a legendary roll-call of Australian musicians whom he helped rise to stardom and a family determined to bring his vision to life.


Passionate and driven, Chris' life was a tale of many triumphs from an illustrious career in the music industry which spanned over 40 years. Best known for guiding INXS to superstar status and making them one of Australia's most successful exports ever, his successes influenced the lives of many around the globe. He was often-times referred to as a 'master-marketer' and worked alongside many other household names such as The Models, The Screaming Jets, Wendy Matthews and You Am I.

Following a 10-year hiatus, during which Murphy sold his music assets, he returned to the industry to build new companies and commence a new direction. Petrol Records was launched in 2001 (INXS signed with the label in 2008) and Murphy Rights Management in 2014. At the time of passing, Chris was developing a community for musicians and music industry professionals in NSW, at South Ballina.

This was to be an opportunity to promote the creative potential of Australia's Northern Rivers at a global level.

Upon the passing of her father, Stevey stepped in to take the reins as Managing Director of what is now known as Murphy Petrol Group - an umbrella company encompassing the Petrol brands consisting of Petrol Records, Petrol Live and Petrol Publishing. Whilst clearly carrying her father's passion, drive and business smarts across the music business, Stevey, her siblings and CM's wife Caroline are also determined to pay tribute to him through another project which was close to his heart.

Sugar Beach Ranch

Sitting on 60 acres of unspoilt beauty along South Ballina's shore line, Sugar Beach Ranch could be described as the canvas of Chris' life across his latter years. It was his home, a space he affectionately referred to as 'nature's playground' due to its proximity with the beach, its abundance of wildlife and the simplicity of life lived on the ranch.

In the hopes of sharing the private and picturesque beachfront space with the community, Stevey is now working with local suppliers and Council to transform the property into a beautiful venue for hire and a sanctuary for those looking to connect with nature.

Stevey explains, 'The ranch is a special place and will act as our tribute to dad. This can be seen in the CM Murphy Memorial Forest, a space we created with the community as beautiful living, breathing legacy, in honour, of him.'


Keeping with the Murphy family tradition, horses are front and centre to much of the ranch's activity. Stevey says,


*Our family have been polo players, breeders and horse enthusiasts for over 35 years, so it was natural to bring this into the space which we have done through our equine facilities and programs.'


With direct beach access guests are able to stay at the property with their horses, book the space for a clinic or enjoy the venue's equine therapy classes. The property's totally secluded and large open spaces, the pool cabana and the bungalows also make it the prefect place for bespoke events and photoshoots.


'It is truly a blank canvas,' says Stevey. 'We work with many creatives and individuals to bring the space to life whilst offering an opportunity to connect back into the simple joys of life. It is in this flexibility that we find the magic happens.' Discover more about Stevey and the Sugar Beach Ranch

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