While it’s comforting to have access to a river with regulated flow from an upstream storage dam, it’s often better still to have frontage to that river – if it has permanent flow - above the dam. Such is the happy status of “Wittagoona”, an irrigation property just listed for sale near Manilla, on a stretch of the Namoi River upstream of Keepit Dam where water use is unregulated.
Owned by the Eather family for 22 years, “Wittagoona” is a 1074 hectare (2653ac) mixed farming property which boasts a 7.5 kilometre frontage to the life-giving Namoi. Under present ownership the property has 140ha of developed irrigation which has been used in the past to grow lucerne and cereal crops, but there is scope to more than double the irrigated area. “Wittagoona” is now surplus to the owners’ wider business interests and has been listed for November 21 auction by Ruralco Davidson Cameron Real Estate. Bidding is expected in a range of $3.5-$4 million. Situated 14km north-east of Manilla and 60km from Tamworth, “Wittagoona” is a property of mostly open, lightly timbered country rising from semi-alluvial river flats to basalt slopes and steeper hills.
Although now mostly natural pasture, about half of the total area is considered arable and suited to improved pasture establishment. In past years with cropping and irrigation the property fattened and turned off up to 1000 head of cattle, but it is now lightly stocked with about 500 head.
Average rainfall is 626mm and four river pumps deliver stock water through 100mm PVC mains to dams and header tanks for reticulation throughout the property. A 191 megalitre unregulated licence underpins the irrigation system which includes a 5.5-span centre pivot covering 38ha, and travelling gun irrigators. The older-style weatherboard homestead, built in the 1940s, has four bedrooms, a tennis court and swimming pool. It is complemented by a four-bedroom manager’s residence built in the 1980s and a self-contained granny flat-cum-office. Working infrastructure includes a set of steel cattle yards, a two-stand shearing shed and an eight-bay steel-framed machinery shed.
By PETER AUSTIN
...boasts a 7.5 kilometre frontage to the life-giving Namoi