Prime 'lamb factory' near Bathurst hits the market

'Fat lamb factory' near Bathurst hits the market

Property News

John B. Fairfax's Central Tablelands property Dunns Plains has hit the market.


Billed as a 'fat lamb factory', the Central Tablelands property Dunns Plains now being marketed by Inglis Rural Property also boasts a long and colourful history dating back to the early days of inland settlement.

Dunns Plains is a highly productive grazing property of 2609 hectares (6446ac) situated at Rockley, 38 kilometres south of Bathurst, 57km from Oberon and 3.5 hours driving time from Sydney.

It is owned by Sydney-based businessman and pastoralist John B. Fairfax from the eponymous media dynasty.

He has held and extensively developed the property since 1989.

The property had its origins in 1824, when a land grant of 2000 acres was made to George Porter, the first recorded settler in the Rockley area.

Bushrangers tormented the next owners, but by 1841 Dunns Plains was a 6580-acre estate owned by William Bowman of Richmond.

For much of last century Dunns Plains was owned by the Coward family, whose other NSW holdings included Bunnamagoo at Rockley and Carrawobbity at Forbes.

Under present ownership, Dunns Plains is managed as a prime lamb and cattle breeding nursery, with its estimated 22,000-24,000 DSE carrying capacity divided between a 4500-head flock of composite ewes and 550 Angus cows.

This is the package that Inglis Rural Property is marketing by expressions of interest closing on October 30.

Other sales in the area are indicating a likely price range of $7250-$7750/ha ($2900-$3100/ac), or close to $20 million.

With an elevation range of 870-1050 metres, Dunns Plains is a mostly arable property rising from heavy black creek flats to undulating country of red basalt loam soils.

About three-quarters of the total area has been developed with an improved pasture mix of phalaris, cocksfoot and clovers or lucerne, and seasonal cropping of oats and ryegrass.

This leaves a balance of native pastures and 80ha of timber.

Remnant shade and shelter trees of yellow and grey box, ribbon gum, apple, red gum and stringybark are complemented by planted windbreaks comprising 12,000 eucalypts and pines.

Average rainfall is 700mm.

The property is watered by three bores and a well reticulating to 50 troughs, plus dams and 5.5km of creek frontages.

In response to the drought, the property is now lightly stocked with 3700 ewes and lambs and 370 cows and calves.

Welcome falls of 20mm in the past fortnight have provided a promising start for spring growth.

If operated as an all-sheep enterprise, it is estimated the property could support 8000 to 8500 composite ewes, or as a cattle enterprise 1200-1300 cows.

The present enterprise sees a self-replacing flock of Primeline composite ewes producing prime lambs at 140 per cent to terminal sires.

Angus cows are turning off weaner calves by Rennylea bulls.

Both the sheep and cattle will be available by negotiation to a successful purchaser, along with station plant and equipment.

There are substantial working improvements including the five-stand shearing shed with main sheep yards and four outlying sets of yards.

There is also two sets of cattle yards, machinery and hay sheds, a workshop and silos.

The four-bedroom main homestead, now occupied by the manager, is of 1940s double-brick construction.

It is set in mature gardens.

The homestead is complemented by two three-bedroom cottages.


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