In the mid-1800s, the Australian Agricultural Company often had to move sheep or cattle over the ranges between its Port Stephens settlement and its newly acquired run, “Goonoo Goonoo”, on the Peel River.
As a staging post for these movements across the ranges, the company established a station near present-day Nowendoc, a rich pocket of basalt country midway between Gloucester and Walcha.
This station was later bought by the Laurie family from Gloucester, who fattened bullocks on a particularly choice part of the property.
In 1932 that bullock fattening paddock was hived off and sold to brothers, Thomas and Herb Higgins, from another well-known Gloucester family.
It was Thomas’s son, another Herbert, with his wife Gwen, who took over the property in 1963, naming it “Weegoona” and building the homestead that would be their home for the next half a century.
Now Herbert and Gwen are ready to retire to a house they have bought in Walcha, and they have listed “Weegoona” for sale by auction with agent, Peter Etheridge, of CBRE.
It’s the second simultaneous CBRE listing of prime New England eastern fall cattle country, coinciding with the marketing program for the large-scale grazing outfit, the Upton Property Portfolio at nearby Niangala.
The Upton package – a sale and leaseback proposition, as described in these pages last week – is aimed at high-end investors. “Weegoona”, by contrast, is of a size more suited to family ownership.
Comprising 550 hectares (1360ac) of naturally fertile, high-rainfall grazing country, “Weegoona” would be an ideal add-on breeding or finishing property for an established cattle operation.
Situated 58 kilometres south of Walcha and 61km north of Gloucester, the property comprises mainly well-grassed slopes of red and grey basalt-type soils, with areas of alluvial flats and lightly timbered ridges.
The property has won a number of district pasture competitions through the years, testifying to its potent mix of rich soils, high rainfall and inspired pasture management.
About 280ha of the total area is an established high-performance pasture blend of Quantum 2 fescue, ryegrasses, cocksfoot and clovers, regularly topdressed for more than 50 years based on soil tests.
A further 160ha has been planted this season to oats and turnips undersown with perennial pastures, leaving a balance of soaks and wetlands planted to Maku Lotus, and some ridge country.
The elevation range is 860 to 980 metres and the property’s eastern aspect, coupled with well-placed shelter belts in all paddocks, results in rich pasture growth while giving shelter from frosts.
Average rainfall is a reliable 1134 millimetres and stock water is provided by an extensive frontage to Coutawong Creek, springs and 16 dams.
The property has been stocked conservatively during the lead-up to the sale and retirement, currently carrying about 100 Hereford cows and 180 replacement and trade cattle.
With continued pasture maintenance, however, it is estimated that “Weegoona” should comfortably support a herd of 350 breeders or equivalent dry cattle for backgrounding or finishing.
Structural improvements include the four-bedroom weatherboard homestead, solid timber cattle yards with covered work area, a four-bay steel machinery shed and other shedding.
“Weegoona” will go to auction in Nowendoc on May 25, and buyers are reportedly seeing value in the property at around $3.5 million.