Where Kydrabah Greys thrived

Where Kydrabah Greys thrived


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Howard Charles and his wife Anne are selling "Rockybah".

Howard Charles and his wife Anne are selling "Rockybah".

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Howard Charles and his wife Anne are selling their renowned property "Rockybah".

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Property of the week:

A Monaro property renowned locally for its homestead garden and nationwide in times past for its stud Murray Grey cattle will go to market next month, ending a successful 37-year tenure.

“Rockybah” is owned by Howard Charles and his wife Anne, who bought the Nimmitabel property in 1980 as a new home for their Kydrabah Murray Grey stud (dispersed in 2014).

The stud had been founded 20 years earlier by Mr Charles’ mother, Betty, and took its name from the “Kydrabah” property to the north of Nimmitabel on which she and her medico husband, Gilbert, had settled in 1949 after emigrating from Britain.

"Rockybah" will be sold via online auction on May 16-17 with Meares and Associates of Sydney and Fergusson Real Estate of Cooma.

"Rockybah" will be sold via online auction on May 16-17 with Meares and Associates of Sydney and Fergusson Real Estate of Cooma.

Originally a soldier settler block off “Yandra”, taken up as “Brechnoch” in 1949 by John Mooney, “Rockybah” changed hands to Tom McCoy in 1965 before being bought by the present owners in 1980.

Howard Charles is a prominent figure on the NSW rural scene, where he has been closely involved over many years with the Murray Grey breed society, the Royal Agricultural Society and NSW Farmers.

Now, however, retirement beckons, and “Rockybah” has been listed for online auction on May 16-17 with Meares and Associates of Sydney and Fergusson Real Estate of Cooma.

Situated 13 kilometres south-west of Nimmitabel, “Rockybah” is a property of 1378 hectares (3407ac) comprising typical open, rolling Monaro plains country of heavy basalt soils.

Average rainfall ranges from 550mm to 600mm and the property is exceptionally well watered, thanks mainly to the creation in 2008 of Lake Pendrill, with a licensed capacity of 91 megalitres.

Stocked with trout, the lake supplies water to two strategically sited tanks from where it is gravity-fed to a network of troughs.

Additional income is derived from two wind turbines erected on the property in 2014.

Additional water sources are the Boco Creek, which flows through the middle of the property, 20 dams, and the MacLaughlin River, to which there is a 6km frontage along the property’s southern boundary.

Most of the property has been pasture improved, including a 10ha stand of established lucerne on the flats of Boco Creek, and about one-third of the total area is topdressed each year.

This underpins a historical carrying capacity of around 6000 DSE, which under the owners’ management was typically shared by the stud cattle herd of 120 breeders and a Merino flock of 3500 sheep.

Since the dispersal of the stud, “Rockybah” has been leased to a local farming family who run a base flock of 4000 wethers plus opportunity agistment stock.

Additional income is derived from two wind turbines erected on the property in 2014.

The three-bedroom homestead is of weatherboard construction, built in the 1950s, and incorporates a family room and east-facing deck and patio overlooking the prized garden. In recent times it has been completely renovated under the guidance of a local heritage architect.

Built up from bare ground over 37 years by Betty Charles, the “Rockybah” garden with its mature trees, sprawling lawns and garden beds has become widely known through the Open Garden scheme.

Working improvements include a three-stand shearing shed with steel sheep yards, timber cattle yards with under-cover crush, two three-bay machinery sheds and an 800 metre airstrip.

Its productive history, lifestyle features and location midway between the snowfields at Thredbo and Merimbula on the South Coast are expected to see “Rockybah” attract bidding between $2.75m and $3m.

  •  Contact agents: Meares and Associates, (02) 9362 8111; Fergusson Real Estate, (02) 6452 7004.
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