It’s just over 10 years since Sydney businessman, the late David de Mestre, first offered for sale his landmark “Warrangunyah” aggregation at Ilford in the Mudgee district.
Mr de Mestre had built up the property from an initial purchase of 1421 hectares in 1970 to a substantial aggregation of 2827ha, on land originally taken up and held by the pioneering Suttor family.
Part of the aggregation then was a 600ha portion called “Inverway” owned since 1998 by his lawyer son Paul with his wife Cathy, who intended to retain an adjoining small vineyard block of “Inverway”.
In the event, “Warrangunyah” was not sold at that time.
David de Mestre died a few years later and since then, all of his country has been subdivided and sold.
Paul retained the “Inverway” portion of the aggregation and has since been reaping the benefits of the much-improved returns from woolgrowing, but now he and Cathy are also ready to move on.
In order to allow more time for family and business affairs, they have listed “Inverway” for July auction with Webster Nolan Real Estate in Sydney and McDonald Lawson of Mudgee.
Their decision puts into play a commercial-scale chunk of choice Central Tablelands grazing country within easy reach (2.5 hours) of Sydney and just over half an hour from Mudgee.
Comprising 768ha (1897ac) of red clay-based loam country with pockets of basalt and granite soils, “Inverway” is a mix of fertile valley floor, cleared grazing slopes and timbered hills.
Lucerne has been established on the extensive alluvial flats, where some paddocks were previously irrigated.
The balance of the country is mostly native pastures with clover.
Although managed by the present owner as a low-input operation, the grazing country offers scope for increasing production through further investment in pasture establishment and topdressing.
In its present state of development, the property supports a flock of Glenwood blood Merinos, with a breeding flock of about 1400 ewes mated variously to Merino and terminal sires.
The sheep are shorn every 9-10 months, yielding adult fleeces of around 18.5 microns, and are augmented by trading cattle as seasons permit.
One section of the property accommodates the 11.3ha Shiraz vineyard (now in maintenance-only mode), of which about 8ha is trellised and set up for drip irrigation, complete with dam and pump shed.
Average rainfall is 800mm and the property is watered by a long double frontage to Warrangunia Creek (with permanent holes), semi-permanent Redbank Creek, 13 dams and a bore servicing five paddock troughs.
A bore on the creek flats, currently unequipped, comes with a 128 megalitre irrigation licence, diesel pump and underground mains.
An attractive two-storey, five-bedroom homestead set amid lawns and trees with views over the creek flats has a modern kitchen, separate living and dining areas, tile floors and slow-combustion heating.
It is complemented by a four-bedroom manager’s residence, and working improvements include a three-stand raised board shearing shed, steel sheep and cattle yards, machinery and hay sheds and a concrete-floored winery.
“Inverway” will go to auction in Sydney on July 10 with bidding expected in a range around $3 million.