A century-long association by the Hart family with Blackall district properties Thornleigh and Moorlands is coming to an end, with the announcement this week that the AAM Investment Group is seeking a further $50m to $80m of capital to add the purchase of the two properties to its acquisition of Terrick Terrick.
Prominent Blackall selector John Henry Hart, the owner of Springfield Station, purchased neighbouring Thornleigh and Moorlands from James Moffat in 1912.
Mr Hart was prominent in the history of Blackall, being a councillor from 1900 to 1913 and chairing the five-member company that erected a woolscour for the town, now one of the district's main tourist attractions.
He was responsible for drilling what was thought to be the deepest flowing bore in the southern hemisphere, if not the world, on Springleigh Station nearby, to a depth of 2136m.
In 1925 he donated land to the community for the establishment of the town's war memorial park, and the street that runs alongside the park is named Hart Lane.
WH Hart MBE was a Blackall Shire councillor between 1936-39 and 1943-52, and was the shire chairman from 1952 to 1964.
Ownership of Thornleigh and Moorlands devolved over the years to Hart descendants Wendy Quilty and Lynda Baker, and AAMIG managing director Garry Edwards said his company had entered into lease arrangements with them in early May, with an option to purchase.
"That's the expectation," Mr Edwards said. "We're looking to raise capital for the acquisition of those assets."
The two properties, 35,000ha in size, will give AAMIG 92,000ha in total in the Blackall district, with both to be run under the one umbrella with Terrick Terrick.
Mr Edwards said a small number of cattle had been purchased as part of the lease agreement and more cattle were due to arrive shortly.
The company is targeting October for its capital raising plans in the hope that some COVID-19 travel restrictions will have unwound by then, allowing interstate travel.
As well as being able to speak with potential investors face-to-face, Mr Edwards said the significance of the long, unbroken stewardship of the land by the family was important to people wanting to put their money into Australian pastoral and agricultural ventures.
"We are working with the vendors on capturing the history they have," he said.
"It paints a picture of how they started, how it developed, and what the future could be.
"We want a sustainable legacy with our investments - too many times when land changes hands, that's lost.
"We think investors like knowing that it's not just land with a few cattle they're buying into.
"Properties like Terrick, Thornleigh and Moorlands haven't been transacted many times - we feel privileged to be a part of that, and a part of the community."
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