A trophy Murray River property with a history dating back to colonial times will go under the hammer next month in what promises to be one of the Riverina highlights of the autumn sale season.
Elders has listed for sale the Mayfield property of former veterinary surgeon, David Harding and his wife Francien, to enable them to take their retirement to the next stage.
Situated on the Riverina Highway at Bungowannah, 20 kilometres west of Albury, Mayfield is today a property of 274 hectares (678 acres) with a 2.75 kilometre frontage to the Murray River.
The present owners have held the property since 2004.
During that time, they have extensively renovated the 165-year-old homestead while lifting the farm's overall grazing productivity to a high pitch.
Mayfield first appears in the records as the property of John Darby.
Mr Darby had previously owned hotels at Mullengandra and later Albury before taking up Mayfield and building the present homestead.
It was subsequently held for many years by the McIntosh and Browne families in turn, reportedly carrying up to 5000 sheep on its 1026 hectares (2536 acres), before being sold in subdivision by later owners in the 1990s.
Today Mayfield is operated as a cattle breeding concern, with a herd of some 150 Angus cows plus replacement heifers, while the steers are grown out for sale.
The cattle will be available for purchase by a successful buyer.
The property is also well suited to cattle trading, prime lamb production or cash cropping.
Mayfield also offers potential for irrigation.
Described as 95 per cent arable, the country rises from rich alluvial flats lining the river to gentle slopes of red loam, cleared apart from native trees retained for shade and shelter.
An improved pasture mix of phalaris, ryegrass and sub-clovers is complemented by lucerne and annual fodder or grain crops, all managed in accordance with ongoing agronomic advice.
Apart from an annual topdressing of super at 150kg/ha, the property receives a biannual application of lime at 2t/ha and strategic applications of DAP and gypsum.
Average rainfall is in a 575-600mm range and apart from the river, the property is watered by dams and a bore pumping to a 125,000-litre tank for reticulation to troughs. General security and stock-and-domestic water licences also come with the property.
Centrepiece of Mayfield is its classic Colonial brick homestead of four bedrooms, set in landscaped gardens amid mature trees and shrubs with an outdoor entertaining area and solar in-ground pool.
With a formal dining room and billiard room, the homestead boasts a modern kitchen with granite benchtop and jarrah joinery, opening to a large family room, all with ducted heating and air conditioning.
Adjoining the main homestead is a self-contained three-bedroom flat with kitchen, bathroom and family/lounge room.
Working infrastructure includes machinery and hay sheds, the main steel cattle yards with under-cover work area and all-weather loading ramp, a second outlying set of yards and eight cone-based Kotzur silos.
Livestock management is facilitated by a laneway system servicing the 21 main paddocks.
Mayfield will go to auction in Albury on May 14, with recent sales of comparable Murray Valley properties indicating a likely bidding range upwards of $22,500ha ($9000/ac) or $6 million.
By PETER AUSTIN