A Western Division pastoral property with links to the early settlement of the lower Murray region has joined the spring listings, presenting rich development options for a new owner.
Moorna Station is being marketed by CBRE on behalf of the Walsh family, who have held the historic property since moving there from South Australia in 1983.
It is being sold now by Annabel Walsh, who is retiring to a small property near Woodside (SA) following the death of her husband John last year.
Since her husband was incapacitated following a serious car accident in 1972, Mrs Walsh has managed Moorna Station, effecting major improvements to water reticulation, fencing and pasture regeneration.
The property is today a sustainable grazing operation supplemented by lakebed cropping, but offers further potential for more intensive development, including irrigated horticulture and viticulture.
Situated 30 kilometres west of Wentworth, fronting the north bank of the Murray River, Moorna Station is a substantial holding of 18,896 hectares (46,673ac), including 3222ha of freehold title.
The property was one of the first to be settled on the lower Murray when it was taken up in 1846 by Ned Bagot. At that time it was about twice its present size, extending east to the Darling Anabranch.
In 1850 the station changed hands to E.B. Scott, who built the first homestead before selling in 1862 to John Crozier, whose extended family would hold “Moorna” until 1939. It was then bought by a syndicate of South Australian interests including the Hawker family of Bungaree Merino stud, who introduced their bloodlines to the 70-year-old Moorna stud.
In 1972 “Moorna” was acquired by Douglas Morphett, who divided the property in two when reselling in 1978, the eastern (Anabranch) section becoming “Warrananga”, while the homestead block was bought by David Hawker, who sold to the present owners.
Comprising a useful balance of soils, from self-mulching lakebed clays to grey clay floodplains and red loam rises, “Moorna” supports a rich mix of native grasses, herbage and forage shrubs.
Carrying capacity is estimated at 10,000 DSE although the property has been understocked for the past two years and now runs 2000 Dorper ewes (which replaced Merinos in 2006) and 300 cows.
Augmenting the grazing operation is the 690ha of lakebed cropping (currently sharefarmed) based on pre-plant flood irrigation from the regulated Frenchman’s Creek.
Of this, 415ha is now sown to wheat while the balance is inundated in readiness for an opportunity summer crop or next year’s wheat. Scope exists to expand the lakebed development, subject to approvals. A feature of “Moorna” is the station homestead, erected in 1869 by William Crozier and expanded to its present grand dimensions by his brother-in-law Ben Chaffey in 1912.
Set in established gardens beside the Murray River, the rendered brick homestead of 10 bedrooms comprises three wings with a central courtyard, renovated kitchen and bathrooms.
Working improvements include extensive steel shedding with enclosed workshop, three-stand (two equipped) shearing shed and sheep yards, two sets of steel cattle yards and aircraft hangar.
Expressions of interest for Moorna Station close on October 27, with offers expected to be submitted on the high side of $8 million.