Property

Movement at the Station: Recent property listings

Property editor Linda Rowley, September 23, 2020

After just 18 months of ownership, South Korea’s Hanwha Group has listed the Warragundi Aggregation on NSW’s Central Tablelands, citing a change of direction with its agricultural investment in Australia.

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.

  • Korean owners list Mudgee aggregation
  • Tully River Station block in FNQ attracts strong enquiry
  • WA’s Hutt River Province offered to the people
  • Good value breeding block in south west QLD
  • Locals attracted to tightly held country on NSW’s South West Slopes

Korean owners list Mudgee aggregation

After just 18 months of ownership, South Korea’s Hanwha Group has listed the Warragundi Aggregation on New South Wales’ Central Tablelands, citing a change of direction with its agricultural investment in Australia.

In March last year, the solar manufacturer paid $25 million for one of the largest agribusiness enterprises in the Mudgee region. At the time, it was described as a strong price given the dry conditions. The walk-in, walk-out transaction included 1200 Angus breeding cows and calves, 2000 Merino ewes, a 1014ML Cudgegong River water licence, plant and equipment and fodder crops.

It was Hanwha’s first foray into Australian agriculture, and the company announced it was retaining the property’s existing staff, looking forward to getting to know the region further and working with local businesses. During its ownership, the South Korean corporation operated the 5800 hectares as an intensive agricultural producer of cattle, sheep, wool, prime lambs, cropping and fodder.

Situated on the banks of the Cudgegong River at Goolma, the Warragundi Aggregation is made up of three main holdings, within which sit nine aggregated farms, all operated as a single agribusiness enterprise.

The property offers outstanding water access – 3700ha of combined river flats and cultivation country, with 79ha serviced by three centre pivots and with an irrigation water entitlement of 1014 megalitres. The 2020ha of improved and natural grazing (together with the irrigated and dryland fodder production) support 26,000 DSE, currently comprising a breeding herd of Angus cattle and Merino sheep.

Richard Gemmell from Elders has been appointed to sell the Warragundi Aggregation via expressions of interest, closing on October 22. He believes the aggregation will appeal to a broad range of investors.

“There is interest from private agricultural farmers through to corporate and institutional investors. The scale of the aggregation is considerable in the Mudgee region where the trend has been to subdivide.”

“Located in a reliable 600mm rainfall area, the property offers climate security to anyone looking for a holding of this scale. It is also accessible and well located to markets and services,” Mr Gemmell said.

The Warragundi Aggregation is being offered on a walk-in, walk-out basis including 2400 Angus cattle and 2600 sheep, irrigation and a significant list of plant and machinery.

Tully River Station block in FNQ attracts strong inquiry

There has been tremendous interest in Fishtail, a property that once formed part of King Ranch Australia’s Tully River Station, one of the most productive coastal cattle stations in Queensland’s tropical far north.

Tully River Station was owned by the United States’ King Ranch cattle empire during the 1960s and 70s. At the time, the property ran around 40,000 head of cattle on 18,000 hectares, mostly fattening weaners from Lake Nash Station on the Barkly Tablelands in the Northern Territory on heavily-fertilised tropical brachiaria decumbens pastures.

Fishtail comprises 912ha which are situated 40km south west of Tully and 20km west of Euramo, on Queensland’s Cassowary Coast, in far north Queensland.

For the past seven years, John and Janelle Foote (QWR Pastoral Co) have been using Fishtail as a backgrounding cattle enterprise to support their cattle breeding operation at Mount Cardwell Station, Mt Garnet, supplying steers to the live export feeder and slaughter market at Townsville. The couple now wants to expand their breeder operations closer to home.

Selling agent Matthew Kennedy from Kennedy Rural said the country on Fishtail is similar to the Atherton Tablelands.

“It is a productive (freehold) grazing and farming block boasting fertile alluvial grey to red soils, reliable high rainfall and abundant water that can easily run 1000 backgrounders,” he said.

Boasting an average annual rainfall of 4000mm, water is supplied by plentiful spring and rainwater, as well as abundant permanent running streams and springs.

Around 550ha can be farmed, with more than half of Fishtail fertilised in the last five years. With its fertile soils and locked in PMAV, Fishtail also lends itself to highly productive and intensive agriculture such as bananas, sugar cane and horticulture.

Mr Kennedy said freehold properties of this size and scale were rare in the Tully region. “It is very good backgrounding and fattening country, as evidenced by the level of interest. In just four days, there have been nine inquiries from local producers, and from others from Dalby to Malborough to Charters Towers.”

With the local beast area price achieving from $4000 to $6000, Fishtail is likely to achieve around $5.4m.

The property will be auctioned on October 30. The sale includes around 900 head of cattle, as well as plant and machinery.

There has been tremendous interest in Fishtail, a property that once formed part of King Ranch Australia’s Tully River Station, one of the most productive coastal cattle stations in Queensland’s tropical far north.

WA’s Hutt River Province offered to the people

Western Australia’s iconic aggregation Hutt River, better known as the Hutt River Province, is being offered to market for the first time in 50 years.

Located 43km north west of Northampton and 500km north of Perth, the 6105ha property was originally purchased in the mid-1960s when it was cleared and developed for grazing and cropping.

Following a dispute over wheat production quotas in 1970, farmer Leonard Casley claimed the principality to be an independent sovereign state. He attempted to secede from Australia by appointing himself ‘prince’, even issuing his own currency, stamps and passports. However, the Hutt River Province was never recognised as a country by the federal government.

The province did become a tourism destination for visitors from all over the world until January this year when it closed its borders. The previous year, the owners lost a Supreme Court battle against the Australian Tax Office which demanded they pay more than $3m in income tax.

Last month, the Hutt River Province was formally dissolved, with the aggregation returning to its cropping and grazing roots.

Selling agent Kris Teakle from Elders said there had already been a wide range of local, interstate and international interest.

“From neighbours, foundations, organisations and individuals. An astute investor can enhance the farmland and current infrastructure to improve on what’s there now, or lease out the settlement area for any number of commercial ventures,” he said.

The property’s topography is undulating with areas of breakaway country and pristine bush along the river. An abundance of native vegetation adds beauty and character to the property, while multiple dams and bores provide valuable access to water.

Hutt River is for sale through expressions of interest, with Kris Teakle saying “it will be first-in, best-dressed.”

Western Australia’s iconic aggregation Hutt River, better known as the Hutt River Province, is being offered to market for the first time in 50 years.

Good value breeding block in south west QLD

Thargomindah weaner factory Besm is on the market again after experiencing a good winter, setting itself up for a positive outlook for spring.

The south west Queensland breeding and fattening property was purchased three years ago by James Cowan. The property served its purpose during the drought, and Mr Cowan has now decided to bring his business back to western New South Wales.

Located 50km north east of Thargomindah and 160km west of Cunnamulla, the 45,600ha holding is described as drought-resistant, sweet productive country with low edible mulga and a good selection of natural grasses, herbages and salines in season.

It features beneficial flood-out country from both the Bulloo River and local flooding out of Bundilla Creek, two flowing bores servicing 23 tanks and troughs, two permanent waterholes, three dams and a number of water courses spreading out from the Jandel Creek. Besm is a low-cost grazing operation estimated to carry 1000 cows and calves.

Andrew McCallum from GDL Nutrien Harcourts said the property was a sound agriculture acquisition that was presenting well.

“Twenty millimetres of rain fell over Besm on Saturday which is beneficial following good winter rain. There is also a plentiful water supply and natural feed reserves.”

Mr McCallum said country in the Thargomindah area was hard to come by.

“It is a tightly held area and generally, not as well-known as some of Queensland’s other breeding areas. It is seen as good value buying, considering its productivity and capabilities to continually produce.”

In July, Roly and Brigitte Hughes sold their Thargomindah grazing property Autumnvale for around $4.5 million, after 37 years ownership.

Besm is being sold via online auction on October 8.

Locals attracted to tightly held country on NSW’s South West Slopes

Andrew and Penny Crawford are selling Moeyan, on New South Wales’ South West Slopes, after more than 60 years of ownership.

The 643ha property features an enviable balance of arable and grazing land, secure water from multiple sources and quality working improvements.

It is situated in the tightly held Berthong Valley, 25km south west of Young and 23km north west of Wallendbeen, where generational family ownership dominates the area.

Moeyan is a scenic property which boasts gently undulating to rolling grazing hills. Soils consist of a balance of both basalt and granitic loams.

It is a true mixed farming enterprise combining winter cereals and oilseeds with dual purpose crops and perennial pastures supporting sheep, cattle and boer goat enterprises.

Water is reliably supplied by two bores and nine surface dams.

LAWD and Delta Agribusiness, which have been appointed to market and sell Moeyan, have already carried out eight inspections, with most of the interest coming from locals seeking expansion.

Moeyan is being offered for sale by expression of interest closing on October 15, with the property expected to make around $1590/ha.

Andrew and Penny Crawford are selling Moeyan, on New South Wales’ South West Slopes, after more than 60 years of ownership.

 

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