Weekly property review: Recently completed sales

Property editor Linda Rowley, 11/03/2020

The two Gulf stations Wollogorang and Wentworth were sold on a walk-in walk-out basis with 30,000 head of Brahman cattle and comprehensive station plant.

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

  • Cloncurry’s McMillans reportedly buy Wollogorang
  • Western Victoria’s Mawallok achieves $25m
  • Meat processing identity sells Menindee portfolio for $25m
  • Mungalalla’s Mt Lonsdale sells prior to auction
  • Cotton destined for NT’s Kingfisher Station

Cloncurry’s McMillans reportedly buy Wollogorang

Cloncurry’s McMillan Pastoral Co is reportedly the un-named Queensland buyer of the large-scale Gulf of Carpentaria district grazing properties Wollogorang and Wentworth.

The McMillan family owns the neighbouring Calvert Hills Station, situated west of Wollogorang and 80km from the Queensland border in the Gulf of Carpentaria. They also operate a collection of large-scale grazing properties around Cloncurry, centred on Corella Park.

The 4814sq km Calvert Hills Station was listed in 2013 along with at least 15 others across northern Australia following the live export ban to Indonesia. It sold later that year to the McMillan Pastoral Co for $15 million including 15,000 head of cattle.

Straddling the Northern Territory and Queensland borders facing the Gulf, the Wollogorang and Wentworth aggregation comprises the 576,198ha Wollogorang to the west of the border, and the adjoining 129,000ha Wentworth station to the east.

They were offered to the market in August last year by wealthy Chinese businessman Xingfa Ma.

Beef Central flagged the Wollogorang sale in this article published in February, however the buyers’ name at that point was not disclosed.

In July 2015, the founder and chairman of the Tianma Bearings Group, paid $47m for the 705,198ha leasehold and crown pastoral lease, including 40,000 head of cattle.

Wollogorang and Wentworth, which enjoy 80km of coastline, have been extensively upgraded since 2015, including fencing, waters, poly pipe and yards infrastructure.

The two stations were being sold on a walk-in walk-out basis with 30,000 head of Brahman cattle and comprehensive station plant.

The holdings were marketed through an expressions of Interest campaign by Ray White Rural.

Western Victoria’s Mawallok achieves $25m

One of the largest wool top makers in the world is believed to have paid around $25 million for the large Western Victorian grazing property Mawallok.

The historic holding was offered to the market by Elders in October for the first time in 172 years.

Tianyu Wool is one of the biggest buyers of Australian wool. In 2014, it paid around $20 million for the historic Lal Lal Estate at Ballarat – a 2000ha Merino sheep breeding and woolgrowing property running more than 16,000 head.

The 2349ha Mawallok is located 45 minutes west of Ballarat and around two hours north west of Melbourne.

It boasts highly productive red volcanic and grey loam soils, an outstanding natural water supply via multiple spring fed lakes, bores, catchment dams and a 231 megalitre irrigation entitlement.

The highly versatile mixed farming operation is ideally suited to cattle, wool, prime lamb and cropping pursuits. It is estimated to run around 30,000 dry sheep equivalents.

Mawallok features one of Australia’s finest pastoral homesteads set within a 2.5ha William Guilfoyle designed English garden setting offering expansive views across the lake through to the Pyrenees Ranges and Mount Cole.

Originally settled by Scottish migrant Alexander Russell in 1847, it was held by members of the Russell family until 1980 when it was privately sold to the Mitchell family.

The sale of Mawallok is reportedly subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval.

Elders Victoria and Riverina manager Nick Myers handled the expressions of interest campaign, however he was unavailable for comment.

One of the largest wool top makers in the world is believed to have paid around $25 million for the large Western Victorian grazing property Mawallok.

Meat processing identity sells Menindee portfolio for $25m

Well known meat industry identity Robert Woodward has sold his four Menindee properties in New South Wales’ far west in a record walk-in walk-out deal worth close to $25 million.

The Woodward family part-owns and operates the vertically integrated Swan Hill Abattoir, feedlot and Murray Valley Meats businesses called Woodward Foods Australia. It sold a share in the business to Chinese investors last year.

It is understood Mr Woodward sold his Western Lands lease grazing country to Semi-Arid Ag – a family run business owned by Phil and Trish Palmer who run a commercial Dorper operation at Ivanhoe, in western NSW.

The Palmer family owns four properties – Denian, Overnewton, Hazel-dell and Coolaminyah – that cover a combined area of 141,640ha and run around 20,000 Dorper breeding ewes.

The Palmers are also certified organic lamb producers at Overnewton Station. The operation is a family affair with three of their four sons, their wives and children working the farm with them.

Their latest purchase includes Tintinallogy, Bakara, Teryawynia and Cowary – spanning 127,476ha and running around 30,000 dry sheep equivalents.

The four Menindee properties feature a balance of red bluebush, heavy grazing to black soil lakebed Darling River country.

It is understood the WIWO sale included around 7500 sheep, Dorpers and goats, plus plant and machinery.

David Russell of Landmark Russell Cobar confirmed he handled the off-market transaction, but refused to disclose any details.

Mungalalla’s Mt Lonsdale sells prior to auction

Chinchilla’s Peter and Shari Knudsen have paid between $8 million and $10 million ($982/ha – $1227/ha) for quality grazing property Mt Lonsdale, in Queensland’s south-west.

Situated 14km north Mungallalla and 150km west of Roma, the 8147ha block was offered for sale less than a month ago, via an online auction due to end on March 12.

Marketing agent Ben Forrest from the Resolute Property Group could not disclose details of the sale, but said the price paid was good for both parties.

“Western Queensland presents good value for money and as a result, Mt Lonsdale attracted good interest,” he said. “Inspections were stalled when rain fell, but the property sold not long after.”

This year alone, the property has received more than 450mm of rain.

Mt Lonsdale boasts numerous land types including open black soil downs, and heavier and loamy soils.

The combination of established buffel, Mitchell grass and newly developed country enable it to safely maintain a reasonable stocking rate through average seasons – around 1400 to 1500 adult equivalents.

The property is accredited to access the EU market and is watered by two sub-artesian bores and four dams.

After 73 years of continuous ownership, Bill and Cecily Douglas will now retire.

Chinchilla’s Peter and Shari Knudsen have paid between $8 million and $10 million for quality grazing property Mt Lonsdale, in Queensland’s south-west.

Cotton destined for NT’s Kingfisher Station

Irrigation potential is what attracted Wee Waa cotton farmer Jim Miller to pay $3.25 million for Kingfisher Station, in the Northern Territory’s Douglas Daly region.

The 2027ha property, 250km south of Darwin, has a 1000 head carrying capacity, an all-weather access road and is close to cattle markets.

Historically, it has finished trading cattle, with cattle gaining weights of over 1kg per day between the months of November and April. The vendor estimates the capacity for livestock is two beasts per hectare over the wet season.

Kingfisher boasts 2km frontage to the Daly River and is positioned over multiple aquifers, including the Oolloo. It also has an additional 3003mgl ground water extraction licence.

Mr Miller said he was attracted to Kingfisher’s irrigation potential.

“We will run cattle on agistment, but plans are underway to put down a couple of test wells and install a couple of irrigation pivots. In New South Wales, we pay $4000/mgl for water and $250/mgl for temporary water transfers – which is unstainable.”

Under the ownership of Sam and Sarah-Jane McBean (Ruby Downs, Douglas Daly, and Providence Station, Sturt Plateau), Kingfisher had been used for intensive grazing.

However, 70 percent of Kingfisher is cleared and developed to improved pastures which means it could be further developed to hay production, fodder cropping or forestry – with many family-owned properties and corporate forestry groups holding land in the Douglas Daly region.

With Kingfisher boasting Blain soils, Mr Miller said he is planning to grow whatever the market demands.

“Hay or corn, but the cotton seed itself will be a bonus to local cattle producers who want to finish their cattle. For me, cotton is one of the few crops I can use to pay off serious debt.”

Mr Miller believes he paid top dollar for Kingfisher Station but was happy with the value of water, its improved pastures, good fencing and good soils.

Alison Ross of Elders Katherine who handled the sale, took over the marketing of the property this time last year after it failed to sell following an expressions of interest campaign with another agent.

70pc of Kingfisher is cleared and developed to improved pastures.


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