A scaling-down process is behind the decision of Bob and Cathie Wheatley to part with their “Kildare” property at Deepwater, ending nearby 70 years of one-family ownership.
It was Bob’s father, Jack, who drew the 623 hectare (1540 acres) block now for sale as “Kildare” as one of eight soldier settler blocks carved from the 8000ha Deepwater Station after the Second World War.
The present owners have another property to the north, “Rosedale”, at Stannum, where they have their home, and they plan to retain that property at this stage but sell “Kildare” to ease their workload.
They have listed “Kildare” for sale with Craig Thomas of Col Say and Company at Glen Innes, and it will go to auction in Glen Innes on March 28 with price expectations on the high side of $3 million.
“Kildare” is one of several significant properties listed for sale this autumn in the Northern New England region, providing a timely test of the market for well-watered, productive upland grazing country.
Situated five kilometres north of Deepwater, between Glen Innes and Tenterfield, “Kildare” is a gently undulating property of heavy clay/diorite and granite-based soils that respond well to pasture improvement.
The property received annual applications of superphosphate from the mid-1950s to 2000, since which time super has been applied only as an adjunct to new pasture sowings.
Nearly all the country has been sown to an improved pasture mix of clovers, fescue, ryegrass and phalaris, either by cultivation (following an oats or turnip crop) or by direct drilling.
The end result is a highly productive pasture mix of native and introduced species, supporting a notional stocking rate of around 7.5 DSE/ha, which has been oriented at different times to sheep or cattle.
Since 2011 the property has been stocked with cattle only, but in earlier years “Kildare” trading as J.M. Wheatley and Company typically ran 4000 to 5000 sheep cutting 100-plus bales of wool.
As an all-cattle proposition the property has an estimated carrying capacity of 300 breeders, selling progeny as weaners, although it is now understocked, with 220 to 240 breeders plus replacements.
Calves bred on “Kildare” are keenly sought at the annual Angus and Angus-cross weaner sale in Glen Innes, where last year the Wheatleys’ consignment included the champion pen of heifers.
Water is a feature of “Kildare”, which enjoys a reliable average rainfall of 700-800mm.
There is also a secure stock water supply from two creeks, Noorakapeeta Creek and Kangaroo Creek, which intersect the property on their way to the Deepwater River.
Solar pumps allow water to be transferred as needed from the creeks to paddock dams.
The owners have undertaken major environmental work on the property over many years with creek-bank stabilisation and extensive planting along paddock fencelines of native and introduced trees.
These tree lanes, which also provide valuable shade and shelter, are double-fenced, providing added security to the property’s internal subdivision into 30 main paddocks.
Electric fencing is also incorporated.
The weatherboard homestead of three (or four) bedrooms, erected by the present owner’s parents in the early 1950s, is currently leased.
Working structures include a three-stand electric shearing shed, a new, three-bay machinery shed and three sets of cattle yards.
By PETER AUSTIN