Tobermorey, Rockybank sales further signs of life in property market

James Nason & Jon Condon, 17/09/2013


Two prominent Queensland cattle holdings owned by the estate of the late live export identity John Quintana have changed hands, in a further sign of an uplift in the rural property market.

In the deals completed last week, S. Kidman & Co secured the 14,600ha Rockybank aggregation near Roma for $7.4 million at auction, while neighbours are understood to have completed private post-auction negotiations for the 146,000ha Tobermorey aggregation on the state’s far west.

Mr Quintana died tragically in a light aircraft accident earlier this year (click here to view earlier story).

The price accepted for Rockybank by receiver, McGrathNicol which is handling the financially-distressed estate, is understood to represent a significant discount to what Mr Quintana paid for the holdings when he put the aggregation of smaller properties together during the height of the cattle market.

S. Kidman & Co managing director Greg Campbell will detail the company’s herd bull breeding plans for Rockybank in an article to follow on Beef Central later today.

The auction attracted four registered bidders, in a further reflection of the strengthening property market.

Grant Daniel Long/RuralCo’s Andrew McCallum, who handled the sale, said the transaction would hale provide a benchmark for pricing in the western downs/Maranoa area after a period of few transactions.


Neighbours secure Tobermorey

The Tobermory aggregation at Quilpie, also owned by the estate of John Quintana, was also sold last week following several days of post-auction negotiations.

GDL’s Andrew McCallum, who also handled this sale, said he was not at liberty to divulge either the selling price or the identify of the purchasers.

However local sources have told Beef Central it is now widely known in the local community that the successful buyers were Graham and Judy Bodkin and family from Wodonga, Dirranbandi, who have owned Tinderry at Quilpie, which neighbours Tobermory, for the past nine years.

Their purchase effectively restores the original Tobermory Station, once owned in partnership by Sir Sidney Kidman and his long-serving station manager John “Galloping Jack” Watts, to its former size.

Jill Bowen’s 1987 biography “Kidman: The Forgotten King” notes that Sid Kidman bought Tobermory Station in 1912 in half-shares with Mr Watts as a thank-you gesture for the latter’s decades of faithful stewardship in managing several of Kidman’s south-western Queensland stations.

When Sid Kidman retired in 1927 he signed the entire station over to Galloping Jack.

The Watts family owned Tobermory for 97 years, during which time the original station was split into four properties – Tobermory, Nerrigundah, Bowalli and Tinderry – for the purposes of succession planning.

Toberymory, Nerrigundah and Bowalli were owned by Galloping Jack’s descendent Alastair Watts until 2011 when the aggregation was sold to John Quintana.

The Bodkin's purchase of the 146,100 ha Tobermory, Nerrigundah and Bowalli aggregation last week, alongside their existing ownership of the 68,084ha Tinderry, brings the previous 214,184 hectare (529,250 acre) aggregation back together under one owner.

GDL’s Andrew McCallum said the sales of Rockybank and Tobermory showed that interest was returning to the rural property sector.

“We’ve found across our network there has been a lot more interest in rural property in 2013,” he said.

“There is genuine buyer interest, but in saying that, they’re all doing their sums and are willing to go to a price that they have set. So while it has turned the corner, it is going to take a little while to return in price.”

  • Later today on Beef Central: S. Kidman and Co’s Greg Campbell outlines the company’s plans to centralise its bull breeding operations on the recently acquired Rockybank aggregation, running some 1700 selected Santa and composite program females to produce herd bulls for company properties.



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  1. Craig Elliott, 07/08/2022

    Worked on Tinderry and surrounds under Bruce Watts. Wondered if you were looking for a station hand/bore runner?

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