Choice relic of South-West breakup

The offering of “Blairgowrie” opens a rare buying window in a tightly held area of productive mixed farming country four kilometres west of Kikoira village.A MIXED farming property for private sale at Kikoira in the State’s South West has direct lineage to the original station of the same name whose breakup after the First World War helped usher in a new era of land use to this former grazing district.

The catalyst for the breakup – and for the land use change – was the mid-1920s extension of the railway from Ungarie to Naradhan, which opened up a wide swathe of former grazing land to subdivision and closer settlement for wheatgrowing.

One of the properties to be intersected by the new railway line was “Blairgowrie”, a sheep station of 10,000 acres (4000ha) owned by McDonald and Steverson, who offered their land for sale in 1927 in a 12-block subdivision

The blocks ranged in size from 750 to about 950 acres (300-380ha) – much too small even then to support the families who paid between $7.55 and $12 an acre (in pounds, shillings and pence) to settle on the timbered and barely improved country.

It was only after the so-called Southwest Scheme (the brainchild of local parliamentarian, Major Chanter) instituted a reconstruction of the over-settled country in the late 1930s that property build-up occurred, and properties became viable.

Today the Kikoira property bearing the name “Blairgowrie” – and listed for sale by Mark Flagg Livestock and Property of Barellan for $1.7 million – is a holding of 1057ha (2614ac), owned for 30 years by the local Hoskinson family.

It was bought in 1985 by Errol and Vivienne Hoskinson from Jack and Dolcie Davies and is held today by Errol’s son Mark and his wife Helen, whose home property is the nearby “Boreamble”, another residue of a once-substantial station of the same name.

Mark, who is well known as a former chairman of NSW Farmers’ grains committee, also farms with his son Jordan two other nearby family properties, “Fernleigh” and “Wilga Park”, and is selling “Blairgowrie” to consolidate.

The offering of “Blairgowrie” opens a rare buying window in a tightly held area of productive mixed farming country, well situated just four kilometres west of Kikoira village with its GrainCorp receival facility, and 85km north-west of West Wyalong.

When advertised for subdivision sale as “Blairgowrie Estate” in 1927, the country was described as “most suitable for wheat, wool and fat lambs” and today that is still the prevailing land use mix, along with other winter crops and lucerne.

The Hoskinsons have operated their “Blairgowrie” block in conjunction with their other country, growing wheat, barley and oats in rotation with lucerne and pasture, and their highly-regarded flock of One Oak Merinos.

Average rainfall is about 450 millimetres, and wheat and barley crops of three tonnes/ha are stripped in good seasons, while Merino lambs and cull ewes regularly fetch top prices at Griffith saleyards.

The level, red loam country is ideally suited to cropping and about 90 per cent of the property has been farmed, leaving areas of planted shelter belts and retained natural timber.

An all-weather gravel road runs through the property and the 14 paddocks are watered by 13 dams and two troughs.

Structural improvements include a two-stand shearing shed with new steel sheep yards, 570t of grain storage, two hay sheds and an old farmhouse (the original station homestead was on an adjoining property).

At the asking price of $1.7m, “Blairgowrie” works out at just over $1600/ha ($650/ac) making it an attractive proposition to investors in the present climate of firming farmland values.

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