Baerami Creek elegance

Baerami Creek elegance

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A rich slice of Upper Hunter history will go up for online auction next month with the offering of Baerami House, once the home base of a man reputed to be Australia's largest landowner.

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A rich slice of Upper Hunter history will go up for online auction next month with the offering of Baerami House, once the home base of a man reputed to be Australia's largest landowner.

Baerami House is today the 322-hectare (797ac) home of former lawyer Angus Neil-Smith and his partner Sally Blaxland.

They have held the property since 2002 and are selling now to retire.

They have listed the property for sale with Sydney-based Meares and Associates and it will go to online auction on November 12, with bids expected in a range from $3.75-$4.25 million.

It is anticipated the purchaser will also be able to take over an adjoining 64ha (158ac) block of crown lease, taking the total area to 386ha (955ac).

Baerami House started life in 1834 as a 2560-acre land grant to Captain Emmanuel Hungerford.

Captain Hungerford transferred it in 1852 to his son Thomas, under whose ownership during the next half-century it swelled to become a 40-kilometre-long station of more than 10,000ha.

From his base at Baerami, Thomas Hungerford built a pastoral empire extending from the Gulf Country to the north-east of South Australia and north-west NSW.

At its height, it was reputedly carrying some 50,000 cattle.

Following Hungerford's death in 1904, Baerami was bought by White Bros of nearby Martindale and operated as dairy share farms until 1917.

In that year, more than half the property was resumed by the government for soldier settlement.

That left about 4000ha, which was subdivided into 32 blocks and sold at auction in 1926 to 19 purchasers.

The homestead portion, then about 640ha, was bought in 1936 by Stuart MacFarlane.

Mr MacFarlane lived there until his death in 1964.

It was then sold to Douglas Staff QC who established Murray Grey and thoroughbred studs.

Today, with estimated carrying capacity of 3000 DSE or 150 cows, Baerami House is run as a commercial Angus cattle breeding and fattening operation.

Situated 30km west of Denman and about three hours drive from Sydney, the property enjoys a private setting in the valley of Baerami Creek (to which it has a 3.2km double frontage), largely surrounded by Wollemi National Park.

About 38 per cent of the total area is native forest, the balance productive grazing country rising from alluvial flats to gentle slopes of sandy loam supporting a mix of native and introduced pasture and a 10.5ha oat crop.

Average rainfall is 645mm and the property is watered by three creeks, with three electric pump sites delivering reticulated stock water and 79ha of irrigation via underground mains, backed by 534 megalitres of entitlements.

Centrepiece of the property is the heritage-listed Baerami House homestead.

It was built for Thomas Hungerford in 1875 of locally quarried sandstone and faithfully preserved and maintained by subsequent owners.

The two-storey, north-east-facing homestead has four bedrooms, formal living and dining rooms, verandahs on all sides, and a renovated kitchen and bathroom.

It includes period features such as French doors, cedar joinery and marble fireplaces.

Adjoining the homestead are a century-old three-bedroom cottage, a self-contained studio/poolroom and an in-ground pool.

Other structures include four-stall horse stables with foaling yards, an 18m x 20m garage/workshop and steel cattle yards with covered crush area.

By PETER AUSTIN.

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