- LOCATION: Armidale
- FOR SALE: $4.3m
- LAND: 918ha (2268ac)
- AGENT: David Healey, 0490 307 766. Nutrien Harcourts Walcha.
A New England grazing property whose name was for many years associated with top-ranked bales of superfine wool is again for sale, but this time without a Merino sheep in sight.
Nutrien Harcourts Walcha has listed for private sale the Armidale district property Girrakool, today a 918 hectare (2268ac) spread given over to Angus cattle breeding and trading.
But in an earlier era, when it was a larger holding owned in turn by the Coventry and Tully families, Girrakool was home to a superfine Merino flock whose top lines of wool earned international acclaim.
In 1981 a bale of Girrakool wool won the coveted Lumb Golden Bale award for then owners Ross and Peg Tully.
The Tullys had taken over the management (and later, ownership) of Girrakool from Peg's uncle, Albert Coventry, in 1949 following Ross's return from the war.
At the time, Girrakool was an unimproved, rabbit-infested sprawl of some 12,000 acres, before the dual weapons of myxomatosis and 'super and sub' transformed the property in the 1950s.
In 1979 Girrakool was split four ways between family members, the homestead portion later being sold by the Tullys' younger son Maurice to the Waters family.
A further subdivision saw the area now for sale acquired by Ben and Emma Rossiter, who ran cattle and performance horses, and more recently by the present owners, Quentin and Tillney Webb.
The Webbs, originally from South Australia, live on another nearby property, Swallowfields, and are selling Girrakool now as part of an asset restructuring process.
Situated 37 kilometres north-east of Armidale in the Rockvale district, Girrakool is a property of mostly undulating traprock country with some steeper areas and loamy river flats.
Timbered by stringybark, yellow box, red gum and apple box, the property is described as two-thirds open grazing, with light to medium timber cover on the balance.
About 28ha is newly established pasture comprising phalaris, fescue, brome, prairie grass and clovers, with a further 92ha sown to high-performance annual ryegrass.
The balance of cover is native pastures including microlaena, red grass and trefoil with introduced clovers.
This supports a stocking rate of 5500-6000 DSE, or in the owners' estimation a breeding herd of 300 cows plus replacements and steers to trade weights.
Now flush with feed, the property is lightly stocked with 130 Angus cows and calves and 250 steer and heifer yearlings.
Average rainfall is 820mm and the property is watered by dams and a 7km double frontage to Boundary Creek, from which water is reticulated to troughs.
The property is subdivided into 22 paddocks, most of the internal fencing having been replaced in the past 10 years.
Working structures include two sets of steel cattle yards, the main ones with crush and covered work area, the original seven-stand shearing shed, machinery and storage sheds.
The four-bedroom weatherboard homestead, built before the war and offering makeover potential, has a modern kitchen and is set in established grounds with mature trees.
It is complemented by a three-bedroom cottage recently painted and recarpeted.
Priced at $4.3 million, Girrakool apart from its productive capabilities has farmstay potential, a major drawcard being the creek with its swimming holes, waterfalls and natural picnic sites.