A substantial mixed farming property to be auctioned next month in the Central West has direct family lineage to the early settlement of the Baldry district, north-east of Parkes.
William Barber in the 1870s was only the second settler to take up land in the Baldry district, and today, four generations on, a residue of his original holding still in Barber hands is about to be sold.
On offer is the 1513 hectare (3738ac) Emrose, which is being sold by Zarin Barber to wind up nearly a century and a half of one-family ownership.
Zarin with his wife Carla moved to the coast with their two young sons 18 months ago (although Zarin still visits the farm each week).
Emrose will go to auction in Sydney on October 11, presenting a rich entry opportunity to a productive and tightly-held mixed farming district.
Situated 42 kilometres north-east of Parkes and within an hour's drive of Dubbo, Orange and Forbes, Emrose is a property with a long history of successful cropping and sheep breeding.
In the 1930s, '40s and '50s, Emrose (then a larger holding of some 4000ha) regularly took out first placings in the local division of the annual RAS field wheat competitions.
Under present ownership the emphasis has swung to wool and prime lamb production from bought-in Merino ewes, supplemented by fodder cropping.
Rising from creek flats to gently undulating, open farming country of sandy grey loam and low timbered hills, Emrose is just under 75 per cent arable.
About 160ha is sown to oats - currently locked up after being grazed - and the balance of the country is a mix of introduced and native pastures including phalaris, fescue, wheat grass and clovers.
Before the drought intervened, the property typically ran 4800 to 5400 ewes which were mated to White Suffolks, the progeny being either sold off their mothers or finished on another property closer to Parkes.
Sheep were shorn every six months, producing an annual wool clip of around 200 bales.
Since the drought, numbers have been reduced to about 1500 ewes and the property is now ready to respond to any rain event, building on a welcome 24mm last month.
Long-term average rainfall is 700mm and thanks to recent investment the property is water-secure, with 28 dams augmented by reticulation systems from two solar bores.
The property is subdivided into 61 paddocks serviced by two laneway systems which feed into the central steel sheepyards and four-stand woolshed (with new Heiniger overhead gear).
Other working structures include a steel machinery shed, workshop with concrete floor, four haysheds, wool storage shed (with sheep space below), timber/steel cattle yards and 11 silos.
The four-bedroom brick homestead is set in established gardens with in-ground pool and has a recently renovated kitchen and bathroom, new carpets, reverse-cycle air conditioning and wood heating.
It is complemented by a three-bedroom staff residence of Hardiplank and concrete construction.
By PETER AUSTIN.