History of Clifton Hills Station

Clifton Hills Station hit the headlines in 2018, when it was sold to Viv Oldfield and Donny Costello of Crown Point Pastoral Company. The property’s selling price was not revealed, but value expectations for the land alone were $34 million.

The cattle and plant were also part of the overall sale. This led to speculation that the overall sale price was around $45m to $50m. The figures discussed suggest that Clifton Hills Station is one of the largest organically certified beef property sales in Australia. This is a far cry from the origins of the station, in the 19th century.

Key points
  • Station was founded in 1876
  • 10,360 square km located in north east South Australia with 14,000 head of cattle
  • By 1923 the station held 20,000 of the shorthorn breed
  • Today, the station is licenced for 21,000 head and has a central hub, roadways, airstrips and trucking yards

The early history of Clifton Hills Station

Clifton Hills Station was founded in 1876, next to the Birdsville Track in the north-east area of South Australia.  J. H. Howie and Andrew and J. Broad were amongst the first owners of the property. The Broads owned the property in 1891, when Mr. Turnbull was the manager. He had overall charge of 14,000 head of cattle, located over 4,000 square miles (10,360 square kilometres).

By 1904, there were 2,000 head of cattle on the property, which was being managed by H.C. Trew at this point. Eight years later, in July 1912, the station changed hands. G and E.A. Brooks became the new owners of the property.
At the time of the sale, the property was listed as covering 3,566 square miles (9,236 square kilometres). 9,000 head of cattle and 168 horses were also included in the sale.

Clifton Hills combined with Kanowna Station in 1914

G and E.A. Brooks already owned other properties, including Buckland Park at Two Wells. Two years after they purchased Clifton Hills, they bought the adjoining Kanowna Station, from Beltana Pastoral Company.

G and E.A. Brooks still owned Clifton Hills in 1923 and the head of cattle had increased to 20,000 of the shorthorn breed. Seven years later, the station manager of the time, Norman Gurr, dealt with severe flooding in the area.

Better news came in 1960, when the owner of the time, Hector Brooks, used road transport along the Birdsville Track, to Gepps Cross abattoir and cattle market. This was the first time the owner had done this.

Recent history of Clifton Hills Station

The long and interesting history of Clifton Hills Station brings us back to the sale of the property, in 2018. According to reports at the time, this was the first time the property had been up for sale in 60 years.

The station was listed as the second-largest cattle property on earth, with a land area of 6,370 square miles (16,510 square kilometres).  The sale was on a walk-in, walk-out basis, so buyers Crown Point Pastoral Company also got around 18,000 head of cattle (licensed for a maximum of 21,500), and the on-site plant as part of the sale.

The selling owners, Clifton Hills Pastoral Company (four families), gave up their interest in the business. This was a significant change as some of them had been involved for more than 60 years.

The purchase was a valuable addition for Crown Point Pastoral Company. The company was already successful in its ownership of stations such as Andado Station, Horseshoe Bend Station, and New Crown Station.  The partnership also already owned Pandie Pandie Station, which adjoined Clifton Hills, and had recently purchased Maryvale Station for £15 million.

Today, Clifton Hills Station is as impressive as ever. To put its size in context, it has a land area that is more than half the size of Belgium. There is a central hub, roadways, airstrips, trucking yards, and equipment within the station. It’s an impressive sight on the landscape between Queensland and South Australia, and its illustrious history seems set to continue well into the future.

Northern Australia Development

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