Bullo River Station sells

Bullo River Station sells


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In 2012, Marlee Ranacher, Bullo River Station, was forced to land in the mud and sank when the engine of her Cessna failed, and the insurance payout helped save her property at the time.

In 2012, Marlee Ranacher, Bullo River Station, was forced to land in the mud and sank when the engine of her Cessna failed, and the insurance payout helped save her property at the time.

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GUTSY top end cattle producer Marlee Ranacher and her husband Franz have sold their Northern Territory cattle property.

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GUTSY top end cattle producer Marlee Ranacher and her husband Franz have sold their Northern Territory cattle property, the world-famous Bullo River Station.

Industry sources have confirmed the Victoria River District property settled last week for a price believed to be within the $9 million to $10m price bracket.

Over the years, Bullo River Station was made famous by Marlee's parents, the late American businessman Charles Henderson and his wife Sara. After Charles' death in 1986, Mrs Henderson and her three daughters worked against debt-burden odds to save the property.

In 1990, Mrs Henderson was named Australian Business Woman of the Year, and this led to a publishing contract and a series of autobiographies which made Bullo River Downs and her family famous through a series of autobiographies.

In 2001, eldest daughter Marlee and husband Franz bought the property after a legal battle with her mother.

The new buyer is Grant Farris, a well-known Darwin-based businessman, and his Perth-based business partner.

Included in the sale are 7000 Brahman cattle and a five-star tourism operation which will continue operating.

This is the second time the Ranachers have marketed the station, the first being in 2011, when it was placed on the market amid the fallout of the Indonesian live export ban.

However, early in 2012, when Ms Ranacher was piloting a small Cessna aircraft, searching for cattle on the Victoria River floodplain, the engine failed, forcing her to land wheels-up on a mud bank.

Marooned in the middle of a river 3 kilometres wide, with a fast-incoming 7.5-metre tide, she struggled on foot through deep mud to reach a point closer to the shore, where the tide was offset by the flow of the river.

"I was able to swim 500 metres to the riverbank without having to battle the usual roaring current," she said at the time.

"As it turned out, our bad fortune losing the plane was in fact good fortune.

"With the export market closed down by the government, the insurance payout we received (from the crash) was one reason we were able to hang on - tenuous though it was - until late in the year, when we had our second bit of luck and were able to sell floodplain cattle for a good price.

"It gave us the option of turning away offers of purchase for Bullo that didn't meet our benchmark."

The recent sale is believed to be negotiated by Andy Gray, Territory Rural, Darwin. When contacted by Queensland Country Life earlier this week, he said "he was unable to discuss the details of the sale".

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