THE Liverpool Plains is justly famous for its rich cropping soils and abundant groundwater for irrigation, but no less well regarded are the grazing foothills of the adjacent Liverpool Range.
Characterised by sheltered valleys, north-facing slopes, generous rainfall and rich basalt soils, grazing properties straddling the plains and the surrounding hills are keenly sought, and rarely become available.
An exception has arisen with the offering for sale this month of "Ardgour", the property held since the mid-1970s by the Hudson family and being sold now to finalise the estate of the late John Hudson.
The 1747 hectare (4317ac) property has been listed for online auction by Meares and Associates of Sydney, and will be available for registered bidders for three days from April 27.
Situated at Bundella on the south-west fringes of the Liverpool Plains, 95 kilometres west of Quirindi, "Ardgour" was originally part of Bundella Station, where upwards of 30,000 sheep were shorn in the late 1800s.
It was bought by the Body family of Bundemar Merino stud, Trangie, in 1914 and used as a breeding property.
Rams bred on "Ardgour" were moved to another Body station, "Buttabone" at Warren, to grow out.
In the 1970s "Ardgour" was split into two by its then owner, Malcolm Body, and Sydney stockbroker John Hudson bought the homestead portion, which is the property now listed for sale.
It is managed today by Mr Hudson's son Richard, who runs it in conjunction with another property near Tambar Springs, where calves bred on "Ardgour" are grown out to market weights.
Estimated to carry 500 cows, the property is now conservatively stocked with between 450 and 480 Angus cows (which the purchaser will have the option to buy), and well grassed following good summer rain.
The country consists mainly of sheltered valleys and low hills of heavy black basalt soils carrying native and introduced pastures, regularly topdressed.
About 200ha of cultivation country is used to grow fodder crops, giving the property a fattening capability in season.
Average rainfall is about 700mm and the property is watered by two creeks and five equipped bores, the latter supplying header tanks from which stock water is gravity-fed to paddock troughs.
A feature of "Ardgour" is its sprawling homestead, built early last century of rendered stone and weatherboard and renovated by the present owners.
Set in established gardens with an in-ground swimming pool, the homestead boasts a family room and separate formal lounge and dining rooms, wide verandahs and a three-car carport.
It is complemented by a three- bedroom brick veneer manager's residence and working improvements including steel cattle yards and a three-bay machinery shed.
Bidding for "Ardgour" is expected in a range from $3.5 million to $3.75m.
Contact Meares and Associates, (02) 9362 8111.