An unexpected change in family priorities has resulted in a prized Upper Murray grazing property lobbing back onto the market less than six months after being purchased.
The consequent re-offering of Rocklea, now for sale by expressions of interest with Corcoran Parker of Wodonga (VIC), will mark only the property's second change of hands in nearly 50 years.
It therefore presents a rare and - in view of the drought now gripping most of eastern Australia - extremely timely opening to a tightly held region renowned for its water security and pasture productivity.
Rocklea is a 252 hectare (622ac) property fronting the Murray River midway between Walwa (VIC) and Tintaldra (NSW), with a further 43.5ha (107ac) of country held under water frontage licence.
It is situated at Pine Mountain, 35km north of Corryong (VIC) and 125km east of Albury-Wodonga, adjoining the Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park, famous for a spectacular granite monolith.
Prior to its offering in June this year, Rocklea was operated as a dairy for many years by the Daly family.
Earlier owners included the Thorburn and Hanna families, Robert Hanna having taken up the property as a selection in the 1880s.
With estimated carrying capacity of 250 cows and calves or 500 trading steers, Rocklea since changing hands in June has been managed as a cattle fattening operation.
It is now flush with feed, being only lightly stocked with about 250 steers and 50 cows.
Fronting the Murray River for more than 3km, Rocklea comprises about 155ha of alluvial flats, rising to plateaus and lightly timbered grazing country, plus about 53ha of heavy timber.
Average rainfall is a reliable 825mm and stock water is pumped from the river to tanks gravity-feeding 20 paddock troughs, supplemented by dams.
On the river country, 36.5ha has been developed since 2010 for spray irrigation from two pump sites and is typically double-cropped each year to maximise fodder production for grazing, hay and silage.
Irrigation is secured by a 127 megalitre Murray River water entitlement, which is included in the sale.
Apart from the irrigation land, a further 155ha of the property is sown to improved pastures of perennial ryegrasses and sub-clovers, augmented by direct-drilled annual rye and oats plantings.
Pasture productivity is maintained by an ongoing fertiliser program involving superphosphate, MAP and urea.
The original weatherboard homestead, built in 1898 for Robert Hanna, has undergone complete renovation in the past six years and today is a pleasing blend of period features and modern comforts.
Set in established gardens with views to the river, the four-bedroom home has formal and informal living areas, polished floorboards, reverse-cycle air conditioning and slow combustion heating.
Two additional Hardiplank cottages of two and three bedrooms provide further accommodation options.
Dairy infrastructure consists of a 16-stand swing-over milking barn with fully automated feeding system, 5000L stainless steel vat and 30 tonnes of silo capacity.
Other working structures include steel cattle yards with 150-head working capacity, fully-enclosed Colorbond machinery shed/workshop and hayshed with space for 360 round bales.
Expressions of interest for Rocklea close on December 11, with drought-fuelled interest expected to see offers landing on the high side of $4 million.
- Agent: Mike Weller, 0410 663 041. Corcoran Parker, Albury-Wodonga.