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One of the largest cattle stations in the world for sale

One of the largest rural properties in the world – one which holds a special place in the Australian beef industry – has come on the market. Historic Clifton Hills Station, established in 1878, a huge organic cattle station on the Birdsville Track in the far north-east corner of South Australia, is being offered on a “walk-in walk-out basis.”

Public marketing is about to commence and Colliers International Rural & Agribusiness and Rural Property and Livestock (RPL) have been appointed.

At around 16,500 sq kms (over four million acres) in four contiguous pastoral leases, well over half the size of Belgium, Clifton Hills occupies a significant part of the fabled Channel Country, which extends from Queensland into South Australia.

The  Georgina River, Cooper Creek and the Diamantina River all flow across Clifton Hills. Rainfall in their catchment areas consistently water large areas of Clifton Hills, creating some of the best cattle fattening country in the land. The Diamantina is currently in flood.

Strong demand from investors (both domestic and international investors) and institutions has had a significant impact on cattle property sales over the past year.

Arguably there’s never been a better time to offer a cattle property of this calibre. The owning partnership represents multiple shareholders, most of whom have been in place for more than 60 years. The consortium is offering the whole enterprise on a walk-in walk-out basis.

Ben Forrest, Jesse Manuel and Nick Dean Colliers in conjunction with Wally Cooper from Rural Property and Livestock (RPL), have been engaged to run an international tender process. 

Clifton Hills comprises three main country types: one third sandhill country (suited to seasonal winter rain and which responds well from as little as an inch of rainfall); one third flood country (Diamantina, Cooper and Georgina, which flourishes from “outside rainfall”); and one third stony red country, which acts as a “tin shed” but also contains quite sweet country in places.

Wally Cooper knows this country well: “The beauty of Clifton Hills is not only the amazing flow of water it receives from the north but all rain that falls on the property stays on the property. The internal gibber country acts like an enormous roof which fills numerous creeks and swamps generating growth of fantastic feed all from an inch of rain.”

The great advantage of this diversity and scale over comparable enterprises is that Clifton Hills Station is largely self-sustaining and can maintain a core herd during periods of drought.

The Birdsville Track crosses the property giving access to both northern and southern markets.

The four pastoral leases, two for Clifton Hills, Goyder Lagoon and Kanowana, currently support an estimated 18,000 head of cattle made up a variety of breeds to suit northern and southern markets.

The infrastructure comprises a central homestead hub, formed roadways, airstrips, 24 sets of steel trucking yards, six flowing bores, and valuable plant and equipment.

Clifton Hills Pastoral Co. Managing Partner Dave Harvey said Clifton Hills had three main strengths that set it apart from most other stations in Australia.

“There are three distinct and equally balanced land types – Gibber plains with creeks, soft sand hill country, and inland river floodplains,” Mr Harvey said.

“The Diamantina River effectively terminates in a delta floodplain on Clifton Hills, giving a consistent 1,500 sq km of flood area per annum, and making it a very fertile area.

“The property has very good scale, with a 21,500 head of stock rating on the pastoral lease. The scale on Clifton Hills is achieved without massive infrastructure – the secret is the large land area which allows cattle to be well spread-out.”

Mr Forrest said a beef industry asset as special as Clifton Hills Station sits in a market of its own and will attract a premium price.

“Clifton Hills Station offers a very appealing opportunity for investors to acquire a substantial herd without the costs associated with freight, and the complexities involved in purchasing new stock,” Mr Forrest said.

The agents anticipate interest from $1550 per beast area, based on the present pastoral board maximum of 21,500 cattle, plus cattle. They emphasise the very appealing opportunity for investors to acquire a substantial herd without the costs associated with freight and the complexities involved in purchasing new stock.

Expressions of interest to participate in an international tender process are invited. Contact Colliers International and RPL.

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Nick Dean

National Consultant | Transaction Services | Agribusiness



Nick has had a long career in non-residential property brokerage and agency administration and since 2002 has specialised in the Rural & Agribusiness sector with a focus on wine industry assets.

Nick holds directorships in the wine industry, including Project Wine Pty Ltd, and enjoy a parallel honorary career in the not-for-profit sector, including governance roles in the Australian Paralympic Committee and Disabled Wintersport Australia.


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Jesse Manuel

Director | Transaction Services | Agribusiness



Jesse is a registered Land Sales Representative with 17 years’ experience in representing private family, corporate, institutional and Government clients in the divestment and acquisition of medium to large scale agricultural property assets, ensuring that financial outcomes for clients are maximised.

Jesse has gained a broad knowledge of various types of land tenure including freehold and crown leasehold (including pastoral and perpetual leases) in all states of Australia and the Northern Territory.

Significant experience in negotiating complex property transactions for pastoral and grazing properties, horticulture properties, plantation forestry, intensive animal keeping, aquaculture, rural infrastructure assets and other specialised agricultural property assets and portfolios.

Jesse has an extensive national network of rural and property industry participants that include landowners, corporate companies, investors, service providers and state and federal Government agencies.

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