Movement at the Station: Properties for sale

Property editor Linda Rowley, 26/08/2020

THIS week’s property review includes this wrap-up of interesting recent listings across the country, and a separate article of recently completed sales of note.

  • Mount Surprise breeding blocks generating strong inquiry
  • SA’s Wertaloona Station returns to the market
  • Economies of scale and sustainable grazing in NSW’s Upper Hunter
  • Trangie’s Murrumbah is production driven
  • Quality buffel cattle country on offer at Mitchell

Mount Surprise breeding blocks generating strong inquiry

One of the few freehold pastoral enterprises in North Queensland is currently in the process of being subdivided, with two of the three blocks to be auctioned in mid-October.

Late last year, Bruce Angel and Gary Hill, who have a history of property development, secured Rocky Springs at Mt Surprise for between $8 million and $9 million.

The holding is located 400km north west of Charters Towers and 330km south west of Cairns. It borders the Mt Surprise township to the east and has a 20km double frontage to the Savannah Way (Gulf Development highway).

Over the past nine months, the pair has been subdividing the holding into three freehold blocks – the 9982ha Rocky Springs (which the pair is retaining), the 3562ha Savannah Station and the 4106ha Byrimine Station.

They have also invested in significant infrastructure upgrades including new bores, stock watering, fencing and property entrances.

Savannah and Byrimine are situated on well-regarded basalt soil breeding and growing country, with a history of careful pasture management. Both boast outstanding underground water resources.

Byrimine Station fronts the Fossilbrook Creek which has a substantial, year-round flow and fertile grazing frontages. This, in addition to a PMAV and irrigation licence, offer dryland or irrigated farming, and broadacre or horticulture cropping options.

Henry Slaney from Slaney & Co, who has been appointed to carry out the marketing and the sale of the two adjoining properties, believes the subdivision will attract more players.

“There is already plenty of local interest from producers seeking a grower block. It is also likely to appeal to central and north western Queenslanders and to people on the Atherton Tablelands who have high quality fattening country but no breeding country,” he said.

Mr Slaney said the properties would also appeal to established cattle breeders as a grow-out opportunity on grass, leuceana or forage feeding of young cattle.

Savannah Station and Byrimine Station will be offered as a whole or in separate lots, bare of livestock and plant, via online auction.

Cattle on Rocky Springs

 SA’s Wertaloona Station returns to the market

One of South Australia’s largest pastoral land holdings, Wertaloona Station, is being offered for sale with a price guide of $10-$12 million.

Wertaloona is an Organically Certified Pastoral Lease covering 255,000ha in the North Flinders District, on the edge of Lake Frome and the Gammon Ranges National Park, about 540km by road north of Adelaide.

The property has a prescribed maximum stocking rate of 5940 cattle or 29,700 sheep equivalents, making it attractive to investors seeking to establish or expand a business at scale.

It has been operated since 1997 by Simon Rowe and family from the large-scale livestock enterprise Princess Royal, headquartered in South Australia’s pastoral centre of Burra. However the property is no longer central to Princess Royal’s strategic plan.

Elders’ general manager Real Estate Tom Russo and SA/NT rural real estate manager Phil Keen are handling the sale process, after an earlier expressions of interest campaign failed to secure a buyer.

Wertaloona features some spectacular and iconic landscapes, such as Chambers Gorge and Big John Creek.

While the property is presently utilised for EU and Organically Certified beef production based on a Shorthorn x Santa/Droughtmaster herd, it is also suitable for sheep meat and wool production.

Excellent water distribution is a feature, with five main creeks and numerous watercourses running from the ranges, the majority of which flood over the flood plains. There are 28 bores throughout the property with associated tanks, solar panels, pumps and trough systems, plus 10 dams.

Cattle on Wertaloona

Economies of scale and sustainable grazing in NSW’s Upper Hunter

The diverse and productive Upper Hunter Valley grazing properties Mandalea and Ardroy have returned to the market a year after changing hands.

The 2368ha of country, comprising the 1393ha Mandalea and the 974ha Ardroy, is situated east of Scone, alongside the historic Belltrees Station.

As a whole, Mandalea and Ardroy form one of the larger properties in the sought-after Scone area, offering economies of scale.

The aggregation has been relisted with Michael Burke from MacCallum Inglis with expectations of between $6.5m and $7m.

Mandalea was a 728ha soldier settlers’ block established in 1948 by Ian MacCallum. Over the years, the area expanded with the addition of adjoining blocks, including Ardroy.

At its peak, Mandalea ran 700 cows and calves, 150 replacement heifers and 1500 sheep.

Mr Burke said the holding is attracting interest from beef cattle and mixed grazing operators.

“Diversity is its strength. It features responsive and productive slopes and hills and 333ha of arable lands suited to fodder cropping and finishing livestock. The improvements are also suitable for both sheep and cattle production.”

“In fact, the previous owners grew award winning fine wool fleeces and fattened prime market topping bullocks on Mandalea,” Mr Burke said.

Stock and domestic water on Mandalea and Ardroy are sourced from the Hunter River. Dams are complimented by a tank and trough reticulation system.

Mr Burke said there is scope to further develop Mandalea and Ardroy to fully utilise their potential.

The two properties are being offered bare of stock, separately or as a whole, via expressions of interest closing on September 24.

The Upper Hunter Valley property Mandalea and Ardroy is expected to make between $6.5m and $7m when expressions of interest close next month.

MacCallum Inglis is also offering to the market Fernleigh, a 2074ha wool and beef cattle operation at Ellerston in New South Wales’ Upper Hunter.

Selling agent Michael Burke said Fernleigh had been extensively improved over the past 20 years, with sustainable farming development as a goal.

“The vendor has focused on productivity, profitability and sustainable land management by improving pastures, weed management, livestock handling efficiencies and farm infrastructure,” he said.

Undulating and hilly country is complemented by heavy plateaus with soils comprising predominantly chocolate basalt with some red loams.

The property is currently lightly stocked and enjoying an abundance of good quality stock feed. It has been rated to carry up to 9100 DSE per annum, and with further pasture development and fertiliser this number could be increased.

There are 46 dams and four equipped bores supplying water to large header tanks and reticulated to 14 toughs.

Fernleigh is being offered for sale by expressions of interest closing on October 1.

Fernleigh had been extensively improved over the past 20 years, with sustainable farming development as a goal.

Trangie’s Murrumbah is production-driven

The production-driven blue-ribbon farm Murrumbah in New South Wales’ central west will be auctioned on September 25.

Located 10km south west of Trangie and 80km to Dubbo, the mixed farming enterprise boasts highly productive grey self-mulching soils and deep red loams.

The 943ha of country is suitable for cropping, sheep, wool, prime lamb, and beef cattle production and is well watered by equipped bores, dams and the Nine Mile Cowal creeks.

Richard Gemmel from Elders Central Western NSW said the turnkey enterprise provided an agribusiness investment opportunity complimented by well maintained and appointed improvements.

Murrumbah is being offered with an extended settlement to post harvest.

The production-driven blue-ribbon farm Murrumbah in New South Wales’ central west will be auctioned on September 25.

Quality buffel cattle country on offer at Mitchell

Quality buffel cattle country at Mitchell, in southern Queensland, has been listed by Roma’s MAA Livestock & Property.

Scottsvale, 15km west of Mitchell, is a 2082ha freehold farming and grazing property with poplar box red soils, brigalow belah scrub country and bendee ridges.

The current carrying capacity is suited to 350 to 400 breeders or 500 to 600 dry cattle.

The property is well watered by 12 watering points, with most of the dams desilted in 2008.

The sale of Scottsvale is being handled by MAA’s Seamus Filan, with the auction scheduled for October 16.

Scottsvale, west of Mitchell, is a 2082ha freehold farming and grazing property with poplar box red soils, brigalow belah scrub country and bendee ridges.


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