Hale River Holdings buys Narwietooma, Glen Helen and Derwent…

Hale River Holdings buys Narwietooma, Glen Helen and Derwent...

Hale River Holdings buys Narwietooma, Glen Helen and Derwent…

Three Central Australian cattle stations covering 565,800 hectares have been bought by a local pastoralist for $38.5 million.

The deal also included stock, plant and equipment for an undisclosed sum.

Hale River Holdings, owned by Tim and Emily Edmunds from Napperby Station, settled a deal on the neighbouring Narwietooma, Derwent and Glen Helen Stations, around 165 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.

The properties were bought from NT cattle industry veterans Tony and Pam Davis, who also own the adjoining Amburla and Hamilton Downs Stations.

In 2015 the Edmunds family left Central Australia after selling Ambalindum and Numery Stations for more than $50 million, moving to a mixed farming property in South Australia’s Clare Valley.

But in 2017, the family came back to the NT, buying the 542,400 hectare Napperby Station for $20 million.

With this week’s purchase, Hale River Holdings now controls approximately 1.1 million hectares of adjoining land in the Red Centre with a carrying capacity of around 40,000 head of cattle.

Speaking to ABC Rural, Mr Edmunds said the purchase of the aggregation presented a great opportunity to control a range of country types.

“The diversity of land types of the properties will give us a greater ability to complete my dream to be able to breed, grow and fatten [cattle] on one aggregation, and do it sustainably on a larger scale,” Mr Edmunds said.

a shallow creek and hills with red rocks exposed.
The aggregation covers a wide range of land types, including surface water at Glen Helen Creek.(Supplied: Hale River Holdings)

The three properties will all maintain their own management team but will move cattle and staff between each where needed.

‘Best pastoral country in Australia’

Mr Edmunds said he restructured $105 million worth of assets, including selling his grain farms in South Australia, to finance the purchase of the three properties.

“We can access every market in Australia β€” yes, we have a bit of a freight bill, but that’s why we own a fleet of road trains to combat that β€” I think Central Australia is an untapped [pastoral] region.

“It’s efficient, it’s organic by default, it’s an amazing bit of ground, you just have to understand it and develop it to a point that’s sustainable.”

a view of cattle yards from the air with trees and a range on the horizon.
The Edmunds family plans to transition the existing cattle herd to a high-grade Droughtmaster-Santa Gertrudis cross herd.(supplied: Hale River Holdings)

Hale River Holdings has had control of the three properties for the past 12 months, while the transaction was being negotiated.

In that time, the company has spent close to $3 million on infrastructure improvements and has plans to spend another $5 million with the aim of raising carrying capacity to 50,000 head.

“The people who have [owned the properties] before me have done a great job, but wire, steel and troughs have a life span,” Mr Edmunds said.

“So we will rebuild with what works in this day and age, reduce costs and work to combat staff shortages with infrastructure β€” laneways, yards, and good waters.

a road train on red dirt.
Hale River Holdings owns a fleet of road trains to help lower costs of transporting cattle to markets.(Supplied: Hale River Holdings)

Mr Edmunds said he would look to expand his pastoral portfolio even further in the future.

“This certainly won’t be the only opportunity that we look at and achieve,” he said.

Alongside a fleet of road trains, the Edmunds also own a spelling and transfer facility in South Australia’s Clare Valley.

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