A Central West property whose name was a byword among prime lamb breeders of the 1940s, '50s and '60s will go under the hammer next month to end 84 years of continual family ownership.
On offer is Marylebone, the Cudal property of Andrew Norton and his wife Janet, who are selling to retire and have listed the property with McCarron Cullinane of Orange for auction on September 27.
Marylebone was previously owned by Bob Smith (Janet's father), then as a somewhat larger property and home to the nationally prominent Marylebone Dorset and Poll Dorset studs.
Marylebone was a regular exhibitor at Sydney Sheep Show where it won many broad ribbons including grand champion Dorset ram two years running in 1953 and 1954, also topping the 1954 sales with a ram fetching a record 300 guineas (nearly $11,000 in today's money).
When previously owned by the Kerr family, Marylebone was home to a Merino stud, and under present ownership it has been home to Suffolk and White Suffolk studs.
Today Marylebone is a compact and productive holding of 166 hectares (410ac) situated in Central West 'dress circle' country five kilometres east of Cudal and 38km from Orange.
Described as 90 per cent arable, the property has basalt and limestone soils supporting a clover-rich pasture mix of introduced and native species which underpin a stocking rate estimated at 7.5 DSE/ha.
The pastures were last top dressed in 1996, and since then the property has been managed holistically, using cell grazing to encourage the spread of desirable native species and promote ground cover.
Biodiversity has also been enhanced by the planting along fencelines of some 15,000 native trees over the years, providing shade, shelter and landscape enhancement.
Rotationally grazed pastures are complemented by 25ha of self-watered lucerne flats which produce 10-12 tonnes/ha of hay a year.
Conservatively stocked with around 500 ewes in normal seasons plus cattle, the property offers scope for more intensive management through new pasture establishment, cropping and fertiliser use.
It also lends itself to further deployment as a sheep or cattle stud, or for thoroughbred or pleasure horse breeding.
Average rainfall is 615mm and a bore supplies water to a holding tank from where it is reticulated to troughs in all paddocks.
Well set up for stud or equine purposes, the property is subdivided into 30 grazing paddocks plus eight 1ha horse spelling paddocks, while a large (30m x 12m) shed contains six loose stables, tack room and cattle handling facilities.
Other working improvements include a three-stand (two equipped) steel shearing shed with under-cover sheep yards and attached lambing sheds, five-bay machinery shed/workshop and two hay sheds with combined capacity for 10,000 small bales.
The two-bedroom weatherboard homestead dates from the 1920s, with later extensions and recent renovations, and features polished timber floors, an open-plan kitchen/living area with slow-combustion stove and air conditioning.
By PETER AUSTIN.