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92.9fm Regional News

  • Writer's pictureAlayna Fong

Emu Creek on sale after 155 years

For the first time in 155 years, Walcha’s historic Emu Creek is listed for sale and open to expressions of interest through LAWD real estate agents.

Originally purchased in 1868 for one pound per acre, the now 3,026 hectares is expected to fall within the mid-$30 million range, reflecting its position in the sought-after and high rainfall Walcha grazing district.

Located 13km from Walcha, the property features a well-maintained 1908 homestead and, over the last six generations, it has been developed to be a thriving breeding and fattening operation with a capacity to maintain 25,000 DSE.

LAWD Senior Director Col Medway said the property, rich in history, posed a significant development opportunity and would attract interest from parties in search of a premium grazing asset.

“Emu Creek has been run and well maintained by current owners Mark and Angie Berry. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to be involved in the transaction of such a remarkable and unique property,” Mr Medway said.

“Benefiting from an average of 700mm rainfall per annum, the property will suit any institutional investor or large farming family looking for scale and will cater for any mix of livestock production.

“There is also a significant opportunity for further development which will provide new owners with the ability to increase the operational scale of the property.”

Emu Creek ranges in topography from gently sloping alluvial creek flats to undulating low grazing hills and timbered ridgelines. Soils vary across the property to include fertile red and black basalt soils (Chocolate Soils and Euchrozems) through to New England Trap soils (Soliths, Red & Yellow Podzolics).

The property has strong water supply through a number of sources, in part made up by a total 24km of frontage to a number of creeks including Dog Trap Creek, Emu Creek and Brookmount Creek.

Additionally, stock water is provided by a series of 28 dams, while six bores and a solar pump from Brookmount Creek deliver water to head tanks which gravity feed 37 strategically placed concrete troughs.

Mark and Angie Berry are excited for their next chapter and said Emu Creek has been a wonderful home to all of them over the generations, and it has been an enormous privilege to be the custodian of the beautiful property.

A brief history of Emu Creek

Emu Creek was purchased by George Robert Gill for one pound per acre - the minimum price for rural land at the time - at the Maitland Town Hall in 1868.

The property was sparsely developed with an old station cottage, a woolshed, barn, cultivation paddock, and a washpool nearby and was gradually transformed into a superfine wool growing enterprise, comprising at one time of more than 40,498 hectares (100,000 acres).

In 1874, Mr Gill was the first to import Vermont Merino sheep from San Francisco to Australia to establish his flock and later, he formed a Merino stud on stock from Havilah Station, Mudgee and introduced rams too from Trefussis, Valleyfield, and Winton stud from Tasmania, as well as the Merriville stud of Yass.

By 1908, George Robert Gill II built the existing homestead with modern amenities including electricity and the telephone.

Steam engines were installed to drive farm machinery and the family was among the first in the area to embrace the automobile as their means of transport.

By the 1950s new technology was again being embraced by George Reginald Gill including aerial application of superphosphate and clover seed, trucks, tractors, 240-volt electricity, modern telephone, refrigerators, electric heating, hot and cold running water and new shearing machines.

Prized by British, Italian and French mills, Emu Creek’s wool gained international acclaim.

It was under George Robert Black Gill’s management that Emu Creek was recognised internationally as producing some of the finest Superfine Merino wool in the world.

The family achieved record prices on countless occasions and were repeat winners of the prestigious English Lumb’s Golden Bale Award and two-time winners of the Italian Ermenegildo Zegna Award.

Today, the grand 1908 homestead sits among the magnificent five-acre garden, meticulously maintained and renovated to incorporate modern living expectations, and is home to the family’s sixth generation.


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