Changing role for superfine wool haven

Changing role for finewool haven


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"Rock Alpine" is certain to appeal to city folk seeking an accessible weekend refuge, or “tree changers” looking for a new venture.

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You won’t make your pastoral fortune at “Rock Alpine”, but you might just come across a sapphire in the back paddock, and end the day grilling a home-caught trout on your barbecue. 

“Rock Alpine” is a grazing property at Biala, an area of mostly undulating, granite-type country in the Upper Lachlan valley, between Crookwell and Gunning. 

Comprising 495 hectares (1223ac), “Rock Alpine” was a viable living area for most of last century, when it was held by the local Waters family – a name synonymous with top-drawer superfine wool. 

The property is certain to appeal to city folk seeking an accessible weekend refuge, or “tree changers” looking for a new venture.

Times have changed and now the property’s productive attributes are likely to take second place in buyers’ eyes to its lifestyle appeal, and its accessible location. 

We will find out when the property is offered at auction by Elders Goulburn on December 8, ending three years of ownership by Allan and Rowada Nassar. 

Bidding is expected in a range above $1.2 million, or roughly the same as the median price of a Sydney house, and at “Rock Alpine” you get not only a house, but a grazing income and your own creek. 

Situated within three hours’ drive of Sydney and just over an hour from Canberra, the property is certain to appeal to city folk seeking an accessible weekend refuge, or “tree changers” looking for a new venture. 

A key selling point of “Rock Alpine” is its six kilometre frontage to the permanent Grabben Gullen Creek – a stream prized by trout anglers and well known to gem fossickers for its sapphires. 

“Rock Alpine” is mostly gently undulating, rising to steeper hill areas with granite outcrops. It is mostly cleared for grazing apart from scattered native timber and strategic plantings of poplars. The mostly native pastures were supered in years past, but the property’s productivity could be lifted substantially by new  investment in pastures, fertiliser and supplementary cropping. 

Now virtually destocked in readiness for sale, the property has an estimated carrying capacity in its present condition of 1750 DSE, or about 1500 wethers and 15-20 breeding cows. Its granite soils and native pastures make it ideally suited to superfine wool production, but with pasture upgrading it could readily support a prime lamb or cattle breeding enterprise, as nearby properties do. 

Average rainfall is 750mm and the property is watered by the permanent creek, springs and seven dams.

It is also well fenced into 11 main paddocks. A heritage attraction of “Rock Alpine” is its 1920s double-brick homestead, built by the property’s early owners, the Abbey family, and incorporating original and modern features. 

Situated on a rise within established gardens, the four-bedroom home has a country-style eat-in kitchen, separate lounge, high ceilings and a verandah commanding views over the property. Other structures include a three-bay lock-up garage with concrete floor, machinery and hay sheds and steel sheep and cattle yards.

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