Ballarat's Lal Lal Edwardian homestead estate sold to Chinese wool buyers, Tianyu

Ballarat's Lal Lal Edwardian homestead estate sold to Chinese wool buyers, Tianyu
Ballarat's Lal Lal Edwardian homestead estate sold to Chinese wool buyers, Tianyu

Ballarat's Lal Lal Estate, a 2,000-hectare merino wool property owned by the Fisken family for six generations, is being sold to the Chinese wool buying company, Tianyu.

The 168-year-old property, east of Ballarat, comes with 100 year old Edwardian homestead and granite stables built in 1858.

Tianyu was credited in 2009 as having the largest plant in China with annual wool scouring capacity of 27,000 tons and annual production of 12,000 tons of Australian wool tops. 

It's been sold by Geoff Fisken, the Wool Producers Australia (WPA) president.

Six generations ago Archibald Fisken was eleven when he arrived in Victoria from Scotland with his parents and uncle and aunt in the 1830s. Young Archibald’s father, also Archibald, brought a prefabricated iron house and 40 casks of oatmeal with him. He built the house at the top of Lonsdale Street.

Archibald’s uncle, Peter Inglis, didn’t stay in Melbourne instead choosing to settle on a property he called Ingliston at Ballan on the Werribee River.

Young Archibald went to live with his uncle and aunt and was tutored on the property. At the age of 19 Archibald was put in charge of the property which stretched all the way to Ballarat with what would become the Lal Lal property forming part of it.

Archibald was thirty before he married, a sixteen year old named Charlotte McNamara from Sydney. A competent farmer by now his uncle gave him Lal Lal providing he never put his name on a promissory note. They lived in a small stone house on a lower section of the property. 

Archibald and Charlotte had a son they called Archibald James who also worked on the property.

The family website shows he married May Wanliss and it was Archibald James and May who built the present homestead in 1911.

Lal Lal is an Aboriginal name for water.

They had one child who was called Archibald Clyde Wanliss Fisken. He married Elspeth Cameron from Tasmania and they had four children, the first being name Archibald John.

Archibald Clyde was educated at Geelong Grammar, then went to England and joined the Royal Artillery in World War I and awarded a Military Cross for bravery in France. He became the federal member for Ballarat and served one term. He was chairman of the Australian Meat Board for 10 years, served on Buninyong Shire Council and died in 1970

Archibald John met Patricia Falkiner and married in Melbourne in 1951 and lived at Lal Lal, they had four children David, Rena, Geoff and Anita. John managed the property until his death in 1989. 

John and Patricia’s son Geoff now runs the Yendon property. He has been the Wool Producers Australia (WPA) president.

The property runs cattle and 13,000 merino sheep and grows cereal and oilseed crops. Lal Lal Estate was also available for functions, conferences,media advertising, location photographic shoots and car rallies.

Tianyu’s Australian head of operations Peter Carey confirmed the company’s purchase to the local paper this week.

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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