Choice grazing parcels on the prized Eastern Fall of the Walcha district rarely hit the market, but every so often a family dynasty comes to an end and an opportunity arises.
Such an opportunity is now available as third-generation landholder Steve Lisle and his wife Diana head for retirement, leaving a vacancy at their long-held “Hartford” property.
Situated just 20 kilometres south-east of Walcha on the edge of the eastern escarpment, “Hartford” is a well-improved 638 hectare (1575ac) property of predominantly rich red basalt soils.
It has been listed for sale with Andrew Blomfield of Pitt Sons, Walcha by expressions of interest, and is expected to attract offers in the vicinity of $5 million by the closing date of February 20.
The property was originally part of A.A. Dangar’s Waterloo Station, before being sold as a subdivision in 1936 to the present owner’s grandfather, A.E. Lisle.
Under his ownership, “Hartford” became an early local adopter – along with pasture pioneer A.S. Nivison – of aerial seeding and topdressing. He is also credited with having been the first Walcha woolgrower to sell wool in the 1950 market boom for “a pound a pound” at the Newcastle sales.
Described as mostly gently undulating, open and 70 per cent arable, with some hilly sections, “Hartford” is a mixture of natural and introduced pastures, offering scope for further development.
An estimated 60pc of the property has been sown over the years to a pasture mix of cocksfoot, ryegrass, clovers, phalaris and fescues, supplemented by rotational plantings of winter oat crops.
Average rainfall is 850mm and the property is amply watered by the permanent Hartford Creek, dams and a 5400-litres/hour bore supplying paddock troughs.
The property is subdivided into 17 main paddocks plus smaller holding paddocks and laneways, with at least 70pc of the fencing renewed in recent years.
The country is mostly open, apart from remnant shelter and shade trees of stringybark and black ash.
Under present ownership the property has typically carried about 2000 Merino and first-cross ewes and 180 Hereford and black baldy cows, with calves sold as weaners or fattened according to season.
Fleeces from “Hartford” have won many ribbons over the years at the Walcha Show, as well as a reserve grand championship in the Royal Agricultural Society’s District Exhibit competition.
A feature of “Hartford” is its well-maintained weatherboard homestead, set in landscaped gardens with panoramic views to the north. The four-bedroom home has a Tasmanian oak kitchen and large, open-plan living area, formal dining-room and office, and is flanked by a 112-year-old two-room cottage suitable for guest or B&B use.
Other potential homesites offer themselves on “Hartford”, as various points on the property command sweeping views to the east over the spectacular Apsley River gorges.
Working improvements include a four-stand shearing shed with steel sheep yards and adjacent weather shed (with combined shed-room for 1100 woolly sheep), steel cattle yards, machinery and car sheds.