Upmarket and outback Burrawang West Station listing to test our acquisitive nationalistic bona fides

Upmarket and outback Burrawang West Station listing to test our acquisitive nationalistic bona fides
Upmarket and outback Burrawang West Station listing to test our acquisitive nationalistic bona fides

The listing of Burrwang West Station in the central west NSW will be an interesting indicator of the capacity of  Australians to retain its rural treasures.

Ironically the property is actually the product of the hard work of English, American, Scottish, Chinese, Japanese and indigenious forebears, although it's the quintesentially Australian outback offering. 

It's the 4,673-hectare farm – with five star resort – of Graham Pickles, a whitegoods distributor, and his wife, Jana, an American-born banker turned marketing executive.

The then private resort was actually established in the early 1990s by the Japanese corporation Kajima Corporation as a retreat for its executives and favoured clients, but had been dustily mothballed for many years and several ownerships when the Pickles acquired the property in 2000.

The property was acquired by Dr Schoichi Kajima, president of one of Japan's largest construction companies, to create an authentic Australian bush retreat with architecture reflecting a contemporary interpretation of traditional Australian farm buildings coupled with a Zen-like sentiment in the self-sufficient remote location.

Its main striking building is its quintessential Australian homestead with wrap-around verandas, high ceilingsand twin chimneys amid a rose garden.

There are four boutique lodges, designd by Denton Corker Marshall, which resemble woolsheds on the outside, that accommodate 12 guest suites. They are known as The Barn, Woolshed, Jackaroo Cottage and Jillaroo Cottage. There's also along with a 20-metre swimming pool, tennis courts, saunas and conference facilities.

It's two hours from Dubbo or Orange and has its own airstrip. The garden now comes with an attention-grabbing concept – Utes In The Paddock – some 12 colorfully painted utes. The first ute – a 1971 Holden HQ series – by the Lightning Ridge artist John Murray.

Kajima's fate is outlined in the book A Yen for Real Estate: Japanese Real Estate Investment Abroad – From Boom to Bust by Roger Farrell. It was amng the Japanese investment, which left some amazing property assets especially in the east coast capitial cities, which fizzled with amazing losses in the early 1990s recession. 

The farm, where the Pickleses have run an Angus beef herd and a white Dorper sheep stud, dates back to the days of Thomas Edols, the Bridgewater, England-born farmer who in 1873 bought the 520,000-acre (227,000-hectare) sheep station from Messrs. Francis and Martin having arrived in Tasmania aged 13 years in 1832.

He oversaw the improvements – hiring a workforce of local Wiradjuri people and Chinese – that cleared more than 20,200 hectares of native vegetation, built the fences, sunk wells, built a canal from the Lachlan River, and installed its rabbit proof netted fences. They constructed the 101-stand Big Burrawang shearing shed, which in its heyday employed more than 250 men and shore 270,000 sheep. It had 88 sheds of electric machine shears. 

Edols had failed with rams introduced from James Gibson, of Belle Vue, Epping, the doyen of Tasmanian breeders, but succeeded with rams purchased from Austin and Millear, Wanganella with the ram known as Bestwool laying the foundation for the high reputation of the flock, which were periodically sold to South African interest like Messrs. W. D. Hilder and Co., of the Transvaal. Of equal importance Thomas Edols was a generous and hospitable host – never known to refuse a man a job or meal to the travellers and itinerant workers passing through Burrawang.  When he died his sons carried on but the property was continually decreasing in size due to the governments  "closer settlement " policies and by 1920 no one named Edols remained on any part of the original property.

Amazing feats by all who have had an input into the farm over the deacdes.

Now it's for sale through Meares & Associates Rural Property agents  Hugh Brownbill, Sam Triggs and Chris Meares.

It presents an opportunity for new owners who, no matter what nationality, won't need to be quite as brave as their forerunners. The owners expect about $8.5 million.

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.

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